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PHOTO: (L-R): HAW faculty Dorothea Wenzel and Sven Vogel; CSULB President Jane Close Conoley and Associate Vice President/CCPE Dean Jeet Joshee; HAW faculty Wolfgang Willaschek, Dr. Christina Färber, Dr. Natalia Ribberink, and Ingrid Weatherall during a recent visit to HAW-Hamburg in 2017

The ties between California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and Germany’s Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW) began more than 20 years ago, and have blossomed into a comprehensive partnership that includes reciprocal semester exchanges, short-term programs, faculty collaboration, joint workshops, and even a short film.

It all began on a small scale in 1993, when faculty from bothinstitutions established a biannual International Business workshop. A formal CSULB-HAW partnership was signed in 1998, and has since grown into a dynamic collaboration across multiple university departments.

In 2008, the “HAW Goes USA” strategy launched a new institution-wide agreement, expanding into additional areas of collaboration. Revitalizing traditional student exchanges, the number of English-taught courses at HAW were increased, so that CSULB students could take classes in a variety of disciplines without needing German language skills. Travel stipends were offered to cover housing costs, making a semester in Hamburg affordable for more CSULB students during the economic recession. In return, CSULB was able to accept more HAW students, with exchange increasing from two in 2008 to 32 in 2017. A total of 174 students have been exchanged reciprocally since 2008.

In 2012, cooperation reached the next level as the “HAW Goes USA 2020” campaign provided even more opportunities by committing additional resources for travel, marketing, and partner visits. In addition to business workshops, teams of CSULB and HAW faculty developed programs in film, design, and healthcare administration.

“Our exchange program with [HAW] is a remarkable personal-growth and eye-opening experience for our students,” said Tony Sinay, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Care Administration, who was part of recent workshops in Hamburg.

“Experiencing each other’s cultures, customs, and food develops more intellectually and culturally competent students.”

Particularly for U.S. students, learning about World War II through visits to Holocaust memorial sites in Germany left a deep understanding of hate and prejudice.

Meanwhile, International Film Workshops in Hamburg and Long Beach this year were centered on a hands-on joint film project, “Oceans Across.” Students began brainstorming with very different approaches—Americans envisioning a Hollywood-style disaster movie featuring pirates and battle scenes; while the Germans took an art house approach incorporating existentialism and montage sequences. But after much emailing, Skyping, and multiple script drafts, the teams consolidated into a single vision in time for film shoots this year in Long Beach (February 8–10) and Hamburg (June 14–16). The final film is set to premiere in February 2018, during the next visit of HAW faculty to CSULB.

Overall, the CSULB-HAW relationship has made both institutions stronger and more globally engaged, while benefiting students from many different disciplines. Faculty members are likewise energized by new opportunities, and leaders at both universities remain committed to providing the resources required to nurture and grow this strategic partnership well into the future.

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