German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) awards presented to outstanding students – Ulm and Neu-Ulm universities welcome more than 2,000 international students

Neu-Ulm, 28.10.2016

Ulm and Neu-Ulm are fully internationalised: More than 2,000 international students will be studying at the Ulm and Neu-Ulm institutions of higher education during this winter semester. They were welcomed by Ulm Mayor Gunter Czisch and the Deputy Mayor of Neu-Ulm Albert Obert at a reception in the atmospheric 'Oldtimerfabrik Classic' in Neu-Ulm. Among the 'internationals' were three students from the Ulm University, Ulm University of Applied Sciences and HNU – and Ulm and southern Germany are already like a second home to them. Each of them received the DAAD award of €1,000 for their special academic achievements and for their voluntary intercultural or social dedication.

The DAAD award winners with their laudators (left to right): Szilard Dombi, Professor Marianne von Schwerin (Vice-Rector for Research and International Affairs, Ulm University of Applied Sciences), Parisa Khalaghi, Professor Irene Bouw (Vice-President for Teaching, Ulm University), Eleonora Petrova and Professor Julia Kormann (Vice-President for Study and Teaching, Internationalisation and Communication (HNU). Photo: Ulm University of Applied Sciences

HNU winner Eleonora Petrova completed her master's studies in Advanced Management with honours and was also involved in voluntary work. The 29-year-old did more than complete her secondary school finals with very good grades – before and while studying for her master's degree, she also supported the sisters of Saint Elizabeth in Halle an der Saale with the organisation of the midday meal for the poor and unemployed. The focus there was on pastoral care and the maintenance of social contacts to prevent these persons from being excluded from society. The native Bulgarian has been in Munich for a year now. She is involved in the projects of ICF München e.V. under the slogan "We act". In addition to running projects to integrate refugees, the Association also offers projects for children and young people from socially disadvantaged families, giving the children new perspectives and opportunities. Eleonora Petrova is mainly committed to the ICF project 'Kick it' and cares for 6 to 14-year old girls from socially disadvantaged families. "It's very important for me to look around and not to ignore the problems of society or individuals and groups. Helping others and making them happy, so they don't give up their hope for a better future – this is my way of showing my gratitude for everything I have and for what I succeed in," she said.

2012 saw Szilard Dombi of Hungary graduate with an above-average pass mark from the International Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Program (IMEP) organised by the Ulm University of Applied Sciences. Interested in opportunities for further studies there, he took part in the Donauhochschulen (Danube Universities) project sponsored by the Ministry of Science, Research and Art – and his activities for this project far exceed the actual study requirements. He is involved in the international pilot project as a doctoral candidate.

An elected member of the Students Executive, Parisa Khalaghi, winner of the University award, has been involved in the Executive of the Students' Union since June 2015. As the person responsible for the Culture and Literacy department, she organises exciting projects and has also opened up activities for the many English-speaking students at the university. The biochemistry student's special achievement was to set up a working International Unit, which promoted the internationalisation of the Students' Union. The volunteer work required great courage, especially at the beginning of her studies, because Parisa Khalagi's knowledge of German was not very good at that time.

One purpose of the DAAD award is to show the public what an asset foreign students and PhD candidates are to the community of institutions of higher education. The DAAD awards were presented by Professor Marianne von Schwerin, Vice-Rector for Research and International Affairs at the Ulm University of Applied Sciences, Professor Julia Kormann, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Internationalisation and Communication at HNU and Professor Irene Bouw, Vice President for Teaching and International Affairs, Ulm University.

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