Travel abroad, language skills and intercultural competencies are playing an increasingly important role in job applications. The HAW Hamburg's International Office and Career Planning Centre offer HAW Hamburg students the possibility to document and certify these skills and experience with the Certificate of International Competencies. You can obtain certification for activities that have allowed you to acquire key intercultural competencies during your studies. These can include volunteer work or participation in the various language courses or workshops and training sessions offered by the Career Planning Centre and the International Office.
The Certificate of International Competencies comprises five components. To receive the certificate you must complete four of these components, as well as a reflective academic essay. Detailed descriptions of the individual components are provided below:
You can complete Component 1 by volunteering in an intercultural context. This volunteer work must be a regularly occurring activity that you undertake for at least two semesters or one year. You can also combine various activities.
Paid activities can only be counted towards this component if part of the work is undertaken on a volunteer basis and has a clear intercultural or international focus. In this case, the share of the work that you perform as a volunteer must be clearly noted and differentiated from your paid work in your letter of reference.
Possible activities/areas at HAW Hamburg include:
- weBuddy Programme
- HAW Worldwide Culture Cafe
- Language Tandem Programme
- Students' Union (AStA) International Affairs Working Group
- Bunte Hände (Colourful Hands)
Possible areas of activity in Hamburg include:
- ESN (Erasmus Student Network)
- STUBE Nord
- Amnesty International – Hamburg University Group
- oikos Hamburg
- Weitblick e.V. Hamburg
If you are unsure whether your activities can be counted towards a component of the certificate, please feel free to contact us.
The HAW Hamburg International Office regularly offers intercultural awareness and anti-discrimination training sessions. These sessions are usually two days long and take place as block sessions over a weekend. They are offered in both German and English.
To complete Component 2, you are required to participate in one of these two-day intercultural training sessions.
If you have already attended a one-day intercultural workshop offered by the International Office as part of Welcome Week, you will still need to complete at least one one-day intercultural workshop or training session. Because the International Office no longer offers one-day sessions, training sessions from other providers are also accepted (e.g. a workshop with an international focus offered by the Career Planning Centre). Otherwise you can can take part in another two-day training session offered by the International Office.
If you have already attended a two-day intercultural training session offered by another organisation (e.g. STUBE Nord or AIESEC) within the last two years, this can be counted towards Component 2. The prerequisite is that the content of the other course closely resembles that of the training sessions offered by the International Office.
The next intercultural training sessions will be held in May 2021.
Given increasing international links between businesses and organisations and increased international mobility, being prepared for a career in an international context is often essential. It can be helpful for a position abroad, business travel or collaborative work within a multicultural team. The HAW Hamburg Career Service regularly offers seminars, lecture series and workshops on applying for jobs, business etiquette, and customs and conventions in Germany and around the world.
International students can attend workshops about applying for jobs in Germany, and the Career Service offers courses for students who are getting ready for a stay abroad which focus on particular countries (e.g. Business Etiquette in Russia, Negotiating in the International Arena, etc.).
To complete Component 3, you need to participate in one or more workshops offered by the Career Planning Centre for an overall total of 12 hours.
You can find the current programme of courses that can be applied towards the certificate here. Please register separately for each course using the corresponding application form. Be sure to note the event number and that you want to participate in the Certificate of International Competencies in the box titled 'Veranstaltungen/Angebot'.
Today, internships and study abroad have become an almost essential part of university studies. Even if they are not formally required in all degree courses, they play a decisive role in professional contexts and are highly valued by many employers given increasing global interconnection.
To complete Component 4, you need to have spent eight consecutive weeks or one semester abroad. Study abroad, internships abroad, work and travel programmes, or similar activities count towards this component.
International students who are are completing a semester abroad at HAW Hamburg will receive credit for their stay in Germany. German native speakers and international students who are completing a Bachelor's or Master's degree at HAW Hamburg will receive credit for time spent in a non-German-speaking country.
Knowing a foreign language can open doors in our professional and personal lives. At least one foreign language is fast becoming a must-have for career success, particularly if you're in a business or technical field.
The following combinations of activities count towards Component 5: Language skills:
- Two language courses (each for two semester hours per week) at HAW Hamburg: Beginner courses will only be counted (A1, A2) if they build on one another (e.g. Spanish A2.1 and Spanish A2.2). If at least one of the courses is advanced (B1–C2), two different languages can also be counted (e.g. English B1 and French A1).
- One language course plus participation in a language tandem for one semester (at least 12 meetings).
- Participation in a language tandem for two semesters (at least 24 meetings in one target language).
- Participation in an English-language degree course by students who are German native speakers.
- Participation in a German-language degree course by students who are not German native speakers.
Please note: Students who are studying in an English-language degree course and are not German native speakers must provide evidence that they have completed two German courses to fulfil this component.
Once we have reviewed the documents you have submitted and your reflective essay, we will invite you to a reflective discussion (duration: half an hour to one hour) at the Career Planning Centre or the International Office. Following the discussion you will receive the Certificate of International Competencies.
Please be sure to refer to the guidelines for the reflective essay.
... but how do I fulfil these requirements in my day-to-day studies? Here are two examples:
Student x studied at HAW Hamburg from winter semester 2016/17 to summer semester 2019 and is registered as a HAW Hamburg alumnus. In his third semester he attended a beginner's Spanish course, and in the fourth semester he took the advanced follow-up course (part of Component 5). In the fourth semester he volunteered with the weBuddy programme (Component 1), as well as attending a two-day intercultural training session at HAW Hamburg (Component 2). In the fifth semester he took part in 12 language tandem meetings (part of Component 1 or Component 5) and attended two one-day Career Planning Centre workshops on preparing for the international job market (Component 3). Now all he needed to do was complete either Component 1 or Component 5, so in the sixth semester he participated in the language tandem programme again (part of Component 1 or Component 5). Half a year after finishing his Bachelor's degree he wrote his reflective essay. Once he had attended the reflective discussion he received the Certificate of International Competencies.
Student y is from Mexico and has studied at HAW Hamburg as a non-native speaker since winter semester 2018/19 (Component 4). Since winter semester 2019/20 she has volunteered with the HAW Worldwide Culture Cafe (Component 1), and in her fourth semester she completed a two-day intercultural training session at STUBE Nord (Component 2). In her third, fourth and fifth semesters she attended three workshops offered by the Career Planning Centre, each of which was several hours long and intended for students who were not German native speakers (Component 3). After completing her reflective essay and the subsequent reflective discussion, she received her Certificate of International Competencies in her fifth semester.
Intercultural skills are becoming increasingly important in professional life and are often a prerequisite for a successful job application. The Certificate of International Competencies demonstrates your commitment and knowledge. You can include it as part of your job applications to show that you are familiar with international work contexts and have engaged in depth with intercultural issues.
You can work towards the Certificate of International Competencies if you are enrolled as a student at HAW Hamburg. Registered alumni can participate in the programme if it has been less than two years since they graduated from HAW Hamburg.
Visiting students can also work towards the certificate, provided they can complete all the necessary components during their stay at HAW Hamburg.
Please note: The certificate providers (the Career Planning Centre and the International Office) cannot guarantee that all of the workshops and courses can be attended within one semester as this also depends on the demand for and allocation of places in certain sessions.
To receive the certificate you need to complete the first three components and then choose one of the two elective components (Studying or working abroad OR Language skills). You need to complete four components in total. When you have finished these components you are required to submit a written reflection and will be invited to a reflective discussion. You will then receive the certificate.
Once you've completed four of the five components, it's time to prepare your written reflection about your personal learning experiences. After we've reviewed the documents you've submitted and your written reflection, we will invite you to a reflective discussion (duration: half an hour to one hour) at the Career Planning Centre or the International Office. Following the discussion you will receive the Certificate of International Competencies.
We recommend that you plan at least three semesters to complete the certificate. In order to receive the certificate, you need to submit all of the supporting documents at the end of your degree or within two years of completing your degree at the latest (applies only to registered alumni). If you take up Master's studies at HAW Hamburg following your Bachelor's degree you can also complete the certificate during your Master's degree course.
In order to receive the certificate, you need to submit all of the supporting documents at the end of your degree or within two years of completing your degree at the latest (applies only to registered alumni). In addition, the individual modules must be completed within a certain amount of time before the certificate is issued:
- Component 1 (Engagement in intercultural contexts): No more than two years prior to awarding of the certificate.
- Component 2 (Intercultural awareness): No more than two years prior to awarding of the certificate.
- Component 3 (Readiness for the national and international job markets): No more than two years prior to awarding of the certificate.
- Component 4 (Studying or working abroad): No more than three years prior to awarding of the certificate.
- Component 5 (Language skills): No more than two years prior to awarding of the certificate. Alternatively, you need to demonstrate that you have actively used the language in a study or work context over the two years prior to the awarding of the certificate.
Please send the documents demonstrating completion as a scan or PDF to zertifikat_internationales(@)haw-hamburg.de with a note about which component/s they should be counted towards.
Through its weBuddy programmme, HAW Hamburg welcomes its new international and visiting students and helps them at the beginning of their studies. Experienced HAW Hamburg students – so-called 'buddies' – support the first-semester students during their challenging early days in the city and at the university, thus giving them a warm and hospitable reception.
The International Office organises various events before and during the semester, such as field trips, bowling or a welcome dinner. This gives students the chance to do something interesting and make new international friends in their free time.
The language tandem programme gives you the opportunity to practice English, Spanish, Russian, Hindi, Persian, Chinese and many other languages through conversation with a native speaker. In return, you help your tandem partner become more familiar with your language – on a flexible and individual basis. This helps you improve your language skills and develop your intercultural competencies. You can find more information and register here.
The HAW Worldwide Culture Cafe is a place where international and local HAW students can meet up and get to know one another. Anyone interested in intercultural issues can attend the cafe and exchange ideas. This allows German and international students to network.
Various events make up the cafe agenda, including country-themed evenings, discussions on everything from political and societal topics to holidays and traditions, and games and cooking evenings. Regular participants have the chance to help select the topics for upcoming semesters.