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HAW Hamburg

Certificate of International Competencies

+++ Registration for the programme has reopened! +++

When you launch your career after graduating with us, you’ll find that employers are placing increasing value on experience outside your country of origin or residence, intercultural competencies and foreign language skills. The International Office (IO) and the Zentrum für Karriereplanung (ZfK) at HAW Hamburg have teamed up to respond to this need, offering you the chance to document your international and intercultural skills and demonstrate them to prospective employers with our Certificate of International Competencies. You can earn the Certificate by completing at least four of its five components during the course of your degree studies with us and rounding them off with a written reflection on your learnings.

HAW Hamburg alumni can join the programme if they graduated two years ago or less.

Please carefully read our FAQs, as they contain important information on the programme.

Component 1: Intercultural peer support and networking (required)

As a student at HAW Hamburg, you can get involved in peer-to-peer projects, such as our weBuddy scheme and the Studierendenwerk’s hall of residence peer supporter programme, which give you the chance to lend a helping hand to your fellow students as they find their feet in Germany and at our institution. There are plenty of other opportunities for you to promote intercultural understanding through volunteering, including the STUBE Nord support programme for international students, AIESEC (Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales) and IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience).

You can earn Component 1 of the Certificate with the following activities, carried out within the last two years:

•At least two semesters or 60 hours of paid work as a peer tutor (Tutor*in) or a student assistant whose tasks relate to supporting international students


•at least two semesters or 60 hours of volunteer work in the International Office’s weBuddy scheme, in the AStA’s working group on international affairs, with the STUBE Nord project or with comparable external organisations and institutions such as AIESEC and IAESTE


•at least two semesters’ participation (at least 24 meetings) in the language tandem scheme. Please note that your language tandem activity can’t count towards Component 5 (Advancing my language skills: Expanding language competencies) if you want it to count towards Component 1.


•at least two semesters helping out at the HAWeltweit Kulturcafé.

You can combine any of these options. For example, you might act as a buddy for an international student for at least one semester (30 hours) and help out at the HAWeltweit Kulturcafé for at least one semester (20 hours). Or you could have 12 meetings (across at least one semester) with a language tandem partner (N.B.: you won’t be able to additionally put this activity towards Component 5) and work as a peer tutor for at least one semester or 30 hours – or any other combination you like!
If you’re not sure whether your activities, work or voluntary role count towards this component, just get in touch and ask us.

Component 2: Intercultural awareness (required)

You can achieve this component by:

•Completing a two-day intercultural training course run by the International Office


•Attending a one-day workshop during the international students’ Welcome Week and a one-day intercultural/discrimination awareness training course (or a comparable course run by the International Office) during teaching semester.

N.B.: Attendance at an International Office course is a compulsory part of this component, even if you’ve been to similar courses run by other organisations in the past.

Scheduled dates of courses:

  • 26 and 27 October 2019: Intercultural awareness course (two days, in English)
  • 30 November 2019: Discrimination awareness course (one day, in German)

Further dates tbc

Please register for the courses by sending an email to laura.thiessen((@))

Component 3: Readiness for the national and international job market (required)

Businesses and other organisations are forging ever greater numbers of international interconnections, while more and more people have careers that involve mobility across the globe. In today’s world, we all need to get ready for careers involving international interaction, whether it’s working outside our country of origin or residence, business travel or a role in a multicultural team.

HAW Hamburg‘s Zentrum für Karriereplanung runs regular seminars, lectures and workshops on applying for graduate jobs, business etiquette, customs and conventions in Germany and around the world. Our international students can take part in workshops on job applications in Germany, while students based in Germany who are getting ready to spend some time in another country can choose from courses specific to the region they will be going to or explore topics such as negotiating internationally.

You complete this component by attending a two-day workshop (or two one-day workshops) run by the Zentrum für Karriereplanung .
Please register for each event you wish to attend separately, using the online registration form. In the ‘Veranstaltungen/Angebot’ field, please both enter the event number and let the Zentrum für Karriereplanung know that you are working towards the Certificate of International Competencies.

The following workshops and events count towards this component:

Past events which counted towards this component:

  • Negotiations in English
  • Webinar: Pimp Your English - Applying for Jobs in Germany
  • Business etiquette in the US
  • Working in Germany: The job market in Hamburg and the surrounding area
  • Workshop: Using the phone at work/telephone applications and interviews
  • Workshop: Communication in international project management
  • ‘Working in Germany’ series: What are ‘the Germans’ like? Working with your German colleagues

Component 4: Studying or working abroad (option)

In our time, periods of study or work experience abroad have become virtually essential parts of a degree course, albeit not always formally stipulated components. International experience can be a career maker, and the intensification of global interconnections and networks across societies means that good experience away from your own country may well give you a competitive edge with prospective employers.
The minimum period of study or work experience abroad that counts towards the Certificate of International Competencies is 8 continuous weeks. International students spending a semester at HAW Hamburg or studying for a degree here meet this requirement through their time in Germany. Native speakers of German need to go to a non-German-speaking country.

Component 5: Advancing my language skills (option)

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 optional component ‘Advancing language skills’ consists of two parts: ‘Gaining basic knowledge’ and ‘Expanding language competencies’.
Gaining basic knowledge
To complete this part of the component, you need to take a language course of two Semesterwochenstunden (the unit of teaching time most German higher education institutions, including HAW Hamburg, use), or, alternatively, at least 30 course units, each lasting 45 minutes, over two semesters. The course can be either here at HAW Hamburg or at a language school which works in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
You prove you have met the requirement by submitting confirmation of having taken part in the course or having taken an associated test or exam a maximum of two years ago. We can also accept language proficiency certificates issued more than two years ago if you are able to prove that you have actively continued to study the language in question or used it in a professional context. We can only accept international language certificates, such as TOEFL, Cambridge Certificate, DELF/DALF, DELE etc., if they clearly state how many course units you have taken.

Expanding language competencies
To complete this part, you need to demonstrate:
•At least one semester’s participation ( = at least 12 meetings with your tandem partner) in our language tandem scheme (please note that your language tandem activity can’t count towards Component 1 (Intercultural peer support and networking) if you want it to count towards this component)
•participation in two one-day language courses/workshops run by the Zentrum für Karriereplanung. These include pronunciation workshops for non-native speakers of German, German grammar crash courses, English for business trips and negotiating in English.

Letzte Änderung: 10.10.19

An die Redaktion

Any questions? Please contact:

Laura Thiessen
International Office
Tel.: +49.40.428 75-9841

Johanna Ludwig
ZfK (Zentrum für Karriereplanung)
Tel.: +49.40.428 75-9214