Student Speak – 2

For Mechanical Engineering, Germany is the best place to be.


Interviewer: You have finished the Nalanda  Junior College in Hyderabad, India last year. How did you hear about the International Department (Carl Benz School)?

Sagar: With friends I was searching the Internet for an university that offers the possibility to attain an engineering degree. This is how I came across a comprehensive review of the University of Karlsruhe and the International Department. The latter provides programs that are designed specifically for English-speaking students from abroad. I was highly impressed by the achievements of the students in general and that Carl Benz, who invented the automobile, studied at the university.

Interviewer: Why was the ID your first choice?

Sagar: For mechanical engineering, Germany is the best place to be. The International Department entertains close links with the technical industry. As a consequence, the ID offers a very good combination of practical and theoretical knowledge.

Interviewer: You chose an university in a foreign country. Do you have any special interest in the German language and culture?

Sagar: I was attracted to study in a foreign country, because I wanted to learn to be responsible for myself. In my home country, my family would have taken care of everything, and I would have gained less independency. I completed A-level studies in German at my High School College in India, but nevertheless it was a huge challenge when I first arrived here last year and could not understand much. It is now part of our weekly schedule to take German language courses twice a week. I find the classes very useful, but the grammar is rather difficult. When I go shopping, I still feel more confident with speaking English, but I think this will change in the long run. I did not know much about the German culture before coming here. However, my father and brother-in-law visited Germany before and they felt very much attracted to it. They both admire Germany for its good organization and suggested that it would be the ideal place in view of my studies.

Interviewer: When have you first developed an interest in mechanical issues?

Sagar: As a child, I was fascinated by cars. I used to open, fix and repair them. Later in life, I frequently visited automobile workshops with my father. During my high school time, I often met up with my Indian mates to do motorbike racing on the roads.

Interviewer: You live in the ID’s student accommodation. With how many students do you share your apartment, and from which countries? 

Sagar: I live in a single room in the ID, but I share the kitchen with 4 other students from South Africa, Germany, India and Japan.

Interviewer: What are your experiences of living together?

Sagar: You learn a lot for life in general when you live with people from different cultures. It is fun and it is interesting to discover different views and opinions. From time to time, we cook together and I have found out that German food is much less spicy than Indian food.

Interviewer: What is your opinion on the standard of your classes?

Sagar: The standard of the classes is very high and challenging. There is more research and practical work involved compared to Indian studies. The lecturers are helpful and take time to explain given issues during and after the course. They all have excellent English language skills.

Interviewer: Is there a lot of studying involved outside your classes?

Sagar: I think on average, I study two hours per day. We have to submit regular assignments in Mathematics and Engineering Mechanics which are marked by our lecturers. For the other subjects like Material Science and Chemistry we get homework, but no marks. We show our work to the tutors and in case of any problems they are available to help us.

Interviewer: What do you do in your spare time?

Sagar: I hold a membership for a private gym where I regularly do weight training. In the summer I play football and basketball with my classmates. I spend a lot of time chatting on the Internet, because I do not want to lose touch with my Indian friends.

Interviewer: Have you already made plans regarding your internship?

Sagar: No, I have not made any plans yet. The internship will start in September. It would be my dream to do an internship in an automobile company like Porsche or Daimler Chrysler. Ferrari, of course, would not be bad either.

Interviewer: What were your expectations before you arrived, and has the ID lived up to your expectations?

Sagar: One of my expectations was to meet students from all over the world, and now I am studying with an international group of people from 10 different countries. I was further- more attracted to the high standard of research at the University of Karls- ruhe. During the pre-semester we visited some of the institutes of the university where we were given short introductions into current research topics. This was a highly impressive experience and I remember especially the creation of a scaled-down model of a real car which was remote controlled. Overall I am really happy to have come here, I have no regrets whatsoever.

Interviewer: What are your impressions of Karlsruhe?

Sagar: It is a beautiful, well-planned city. The people are friendly and helpful and most of them speak English.

Interviewer: Do you have any improvements to suggest to the ID?

Sagar: It would be great if the ID could offer more scholarships and therefore create more opportunities for people to prove their talents. Personally, I am looking for a scholarship, too. It is not easy if you have to pay for all the expenses by yourself, although I know that the student fees at the Internati- onal Department are very affordable compared to other universities. But especially in India, there is a high potential of intelligent people who cannot afford to study abroad. The Indiwan government only reduces university fees for very good students who study in India. Unfortunately, they do not give any loans or financial support for studying at a foreign university.

Interviewer: What are you focusing on during the next few months?

Sagar: My exams are starting in February; this is why I am working very hard at the moment. My aim is to receive very good results. And then I am really looking forward to seeing my family, because I miss them very much. In India my father, mother, sister, her husband and their daughter – we all live in one house. I am happy to spend some time with them and my friends, so that I can return to the ID full of fresh energy.

Interviewer: Thank you very much for the interview and I wish you good luck for your exams.


Student Speak – 1

The best university for engineering in Germany and one of the best in the world.


Interviewer: Hello, Can. Would you please give us a short introduction about yourself and let our readers know about your educational background?

Can: Hello, My name is Can Inellioglu. I was born on 25 May 1990 in Izmir, Turkey. I studied in American Collegiate Institute of Izmir which is one of the best schools in Turkey.

Interviewer: How did you hear about the International Department (ID)? When did you first find out about the existence of Carl Benz School (CBS)?

Can: In 2008 November I went to the C.I.S Exhibition of Universities held in Istanbul. There I was mainly looking at the universities in the US and Canada because I wanted to study in English as I could speak it fluently. There were very few universities in Europe that provided education in English. A representative of CBS introduced me to the Mechanical Engineering program offered in English. The CBS is part of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) which is the best university for engineering in Germany and one of the best in the world.

I was very interested since I wanted to study Mechanical Engineering and they offered an English program. I knew Germany is the best in the world with their engineers and their brands such as BMW, Bosch, Siemens and lots more…  I was invited to visit the campus and so I went to Karlsruhe a month later. Then I knew I had to study there. The CBS had an English engineering program, it is the best in mechanical engineering and provided internships with the biggest companies in Germany. There are lots of international students so I could get to know other cultures and one of the most important reasons: German lessons are offered so I could learn another language while studying in English. 

Interviewer: When did you first developed an interest in mechanical issues?

Can: I have always been interested in machines. Especially cars and aircrafts. I grew up reading lots of books about aviation, automative industries and later I made my decision to become a qualified mechanical engineer.

Interviewer: You live in the ID’s student accommodation. With how many students do you share your apartment, and from which countries?

Can: I live in ID‘s student accommodation rooms. You can choose to live in a single or double room with your own or shared bathroom. I live in a single room. In the ID there are lots of students from a variety of countries such as Germany, Guatemala, Russia, Turkey, China, Korea, India, Brunei, Uruguay, Brazil and others. So it‘s a great opportunity to get to know people from different cultures and lifestyles. I really enjoy being here.

Interviewer: What do you do in your spare/ free time? Please tell us something about your hobbies and interests.

Can: In my free time I go out with friends, there are lots of opportunities and good bars, clubs etc… I also like to do sports. My favorites are windsurfing and swimming. I have been windsurfing for 6 years and swimming professionally for years. I also read about aviation and automotive industries. In the upcoming years I plan to attend flying courses and get my private pilot‘s licence which is my dream since I was 6 years old. In Karlsruhe you have tons of opportunities for extra-curricular activities.

Interviewer: Have you already made plans regarding your internship?

Can: Next year I want to do my basic internship of 6 weeks in BMW AG. if not, some other companies such as Daimler or Siemens etc…

Interviewer: What are your impressions of Karlsruhe?

Can: Karlsruhe is a great city to be a student in. Your every need is within a walking distance or if you are too lazy to walk than you can take the trams which go through almost every street throughout the city. So it is very easy and comfortable to live in Karlsruhe.

Interviewer: Could you shortly explain to us the purpose of the pre-semester?

Can: Before starting the first semester you have to attend pre-semester from August till October and after that you have exams in Chemistry, Math, Physics and English in October. You have to pass those exams in order to begin your education in KIT. The purpose of pre-semester is to get you ready for the tough and challenging bachelor program of KIT.


Emulating Germany’s Vocational System to Close Skill Gap in Engineering in Indiana

(Searching for some German engineering: Indiana might look to Germany’s vocational system for help closing skills gap – Maureen Hayden, CHNI Statehouse Bureau, INDIANAPOLIS)

Indiana’s effort to close the “skills gap” between what employers need and what job applicants offer might be inspired by a German education model that combines a high school education with on-the-job training.

On Monday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence met with Germany’s ambassador to the U.S., Peter Ammon, who launched the German-backed Skills Initiative last year to help states improve their vocational education programs to make students work-ready when they graduate

The Skills Initiative program touts Germany’s dual system of vocational education that allows students to earn their high school degrees while working as apprentices in specific occupations.

Echoing what he said he hears from German companies doing business in the U.S., Ammon told an audience that included Pence, “America is a wonderful place to do business. But the lack of a properly trained workforce is where the bottleneck is.”

The message resonated with Pence, who wants to redesign the way vocational education is delivered in Indiana’s high schools and return vocational education to what he called its “proper place of prominence.”

Pence said the gap between what employers need and the skills that job applicants can offer is “absolutely real” in Indiana.

“What people don’t realize is that while we have more than a  quarter-million Hoosiers out of work, we have tens of thousands of jobs that are going unfilled,” Pence said. Many of those unfilled jobs are in Indiana’s manufacturing industry and require high-tech skills, but not a four-year college degree.

Indiana spends more than $100 million on vocational education for high school students, but Pence thinks the money needs to be better spent. Earlier this year, he signed legislation creating regional “works councils” tasked with partnering local schools with regional employers to develop vocational-education curriculum that will better serve both their needs.

Monday’s meeting between Ammon and Pence took place at the main campus of Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis, and was followed by a luncheon featuring Ammon talking to a group of business, education and government leaders.

Ammon said the dual system of vocational education in Germany has helped reduce youth unemployment by giving high school students the real world skills and education they need to find well-paying jobs while reducing the number of students with dead-end college degrees.

Germany offers vocational training for high school students in about 350 different occupations. About 75 percent of the cost is picked up by private employers, while the rest of the expense is paid for by the federal and state governments in Germany.

The dual education system in Germany dates back to 1969 and was developed as a way to address the nation’s skills gap, Ammon said.

Ammon also said there has been a trend toward “over-academicization” both in the U.S. and in Europe as countries work to improve their workers’ skills.

“The simple truth,” Ammon said, “is not everybody can become a neuroscientist, a lawyer or a financial wizard.”

There have been efforts in the past in Indiana to improve vocational education in high school, but the legislation signed by Pence that went into effect July 1 creates a new structure for evaluating how well schools are doing.

The regional works councils will be made up of employers and educators who will be charged with evaluating vocational opportunities for high school students in each region to see if they’re driven by local employers’ needs. The new law gives those works councils the authority to develop an alternative curriculum, which is subject to the approval of the State Board of Education.

— Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at [email protected]


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