We spoke with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Wulf, vice president for research, knowledge transfer and international affairs, about what instructors and researchers can expect at the conference, which is being hosted by the University of Debrecen in Hungary, and what plans he has for HAW Hamburg.
Herr Wulf, three semesters of a pandemic has also meant three semesters of restrictions on international exchange. How has this impacted HAW Hamburg’s internationalisation strategy as a whole?
Despite all the difficulties and challenges the pandemic has created in terms of international exchange, HAW Hamburg’s fundamental focus on the pronounced internationalisation of studies, teaching and research continues to have high priority. The pandemic hasn’t called internationalisation itself into question, but rather the ‘how’ of implementing it in practice. Because we are currently working on further developing the existing internationalisation strategy, we have the opportunity to integrate the knowledge and experience gained through the pandemic and to think about new formats.
One of the catchphrases associated with digitalisation is that the world is becoming more connected. Do you see opportunities in the area of internationalisation that have resulted from the coronavirus pandemic?
In terms of international exchange, we haven’t experienced only limitations as a result of the pandemic. We’ve also seen that the accompanying spread of and recognition of digital tools around the world has given rise to completely new and, most importantly, uncomplicated opportunities for collaboration. These digital possibilities cannot replace the experiences of a longer stay abroad, of course, but for short-term exchanges they are an attractive alternative, for various reasons. I expect the importance of digital options for the internationalisation of studies, teaching and research – as well as the administration – to increase, and that this will also promote increased intercultural competencies more broadly.