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'Treat one another with consideration'

The beginning of an unusual winter semester

Starting your studies is an exciting step and the beginning of a new life chapter. For many, it means moving to a new city, forming new friendships and, of course, getting used to everyday university life. This year it also involves another challenge: because of the corona pandemic, it is more difficult for first-semester students to make friends and settle in at HAW Hamburg.

Prof. Dr. Micha Teuscher, President of HAW Hamburg

Prof. Dr. Micha Teuscher, President of HAW Hamburg

Orientation units that allow new students to get to know their particular faculty and department together with other students have taken place in all of the faculties. Nevertheless: ‘We’re going to have to interact with more distance in the coming weeks and months than we usually do at our university. But despite this distance, we – the staff, the professors and our 17,000 students – can hopefully manage to build a sense of closeness and community,’ says Micha Teuscher, HAW Hamburg’s president. ‘That is important to us.’

After the mostly online 2020 summer semester – which was made possible by an exceptional joint effort, especially on the part of the teaching staff – HAW Hamburg’s goal is to carry out on-campus lectures and teaching sessions primarily for the first-year students. But in doing so, it has to take into account the daily development of corona cases and the political decisions made in Hamburg and Germany. ‘There were also a number of corona cases at HAW Hamburg last semester,' Teuscher continues. 'Thanks to our preventative measures, we were able to prevent the spread of infection. Because the second wave is impacting more young people – many the same age as our students – we have to expect that more corona cases will be registered at HAW Hamburg in the winter semester.’

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‘We’re all working to ensure that in their courses our students can concentrate on what they’re here for: their studies and the topic they’re enthusiastic about and committed to,' says Teuscher. To make this happen, all HAW Hamburg staff and students have to do their part. On the different campuses, and in their private lives as well, they need to follow the general rules for preventing corona: physical distancing, hygiene measures and wearing a mask. Additionally, HAW Hamburg recommends that they install the Corona-Warn-App and keep a diary of their contacts. With the detailed information on its own corona webpage, HAW Hamburg is helping keep them up to date about current measures and regulations.

Despite everything, a bit of normal everyday life has returned to HAW Hamburg. For example, since mid-October the cafeterias in each of the faculties have been open again and serving students delicious, healthy meals – plus fresh coffee. ‘Even though their studies are beginning under unusual conditions because of corona, I hope the first-semester students will start this new phase of their lives just as curious, courageous, confident and open as the students in the previous semester,’ says Teuscher. ‘If we treat one another responsibly and with consideration and we pay attention to the guidelines, we’ll be able to get through this time well.’

First-semester students receive all the important information they need to start their studies from their faculties and departments, which is also where the contact people for their particular courses are located. Important facts and tips about starting your studies have also been compiled on the website. The Student Center provides assistance too. Information about corona-related measures and current developments is also available on the website.

Our students should be able to concentrate on what they're here for: their studies and the topic they're enthusiastic about and committed to.

Prof. Dr. Micha Teuscher, President of HAW Hamburg