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International Winter University (IWU) Kassel

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Title: International Winter University (IWU) Kassel  
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Subject: International Summer University (ISU) Kassel, Summer school, Environmental education, University of Kassel
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International Winter University (IWU) Kassel

International Winter University (IWU) Kassel
Established 2005/06
Type Short course program
Location Kassel,  Germany

International Winter University (IWU) Kassel is a short-term program that is held during the winter season by the German and European perspectives in Environmental Sciences and German Language & Culture. Environmental science has been one of the strengths of Uni Kassel since its foundation in 1971. IWU Kassel is now overseen by Uni Kassel’s International Study Center and shares the motto: “Sustainable Environment Cultural Heritage Student Potential WE CARE” with its sister program International Summer University (ISU) Kassel.

The uniqueness of IWU Kassel lies in the concern for the sustainability of global environment and cultural heritage. While IWU Kassel embraces globalization and innovation in the study program, the best practices of the program has been kept – arrangement of host families – to ensure that the visiting students are fully engaged in the local community and culture during their short stay in Kassel. Students are arranged to live with carefully selected host families and to practice their classroom knowledge with tandem partners and tutors. Workshops (e.g. German dancing, cooking, sports), field trips and excursions in Kassel and neighboring areas are also organized to introduce local culture and traditions to the students. Since the program is held during the term time, IWU Kassel students also have abundant opportunities to meet local students and participate in student activities on campus. The theme “sustainability” does not only cover the academic content of IWU, but also the program design which encourages continuous learning within and outside classrooms.

History and Development of the Programme

Following the success of ISU, the International Winter University (IWU) Kassel was established in 2005/06 to offer international students an alternative time frame to experience education in Germany. It is a pioneer of short-term winter programs in Germany and is one of the short-term programs bearing the DAAD[2] Quality Seal.

Besides, IWU offers short-term credit-bearing academic program featuring the strengths of Uni Kassel in the areas of Environmental Sciences and German Language & Culture studies. Apart from the academic components with specific foci, IWU is unique in its host-family program for students to experience first-hand German lifestyle. The University’s long-standing partnerships with industries in the region and experiences in university-industry knowledge transfer also bring additional benefit to IWU students by giving them opportunities to witness the application of academic knowledge in industrial settings.

Since its inception, IWU has received on average some 50 international students each year. The number of students is on the rise with its growing popularity among partnering universities. Some of these students returned to Kassel for further studies and many of them have become the ambassadors of the University and the city of Kassel in their home countries. In 2009/2010, a total of 59 students took part in the program.

Program of Study

The study program of IWU Kassel includes German language courses which are designed to meet the criteria of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (European Language Portfolio) at the following levels: A1, B1 and C1. Students will study in small groups under the supervision of experienced teachers qualified in teaching German as a foreign language. Interactive and innovative teaching methods are characteristics of this German language course.

The seminars for engineering module usually cover the following topics: an introduction to international climate policy, renewable energy and energy systems from a German and European perspective, environment protection measures, solar-thermal technologies and systems, photovoltaic, the history and future of wind energy, wind farm management, biomass, natural gas storage, and rational and efficient energy usage: low energy housing and sustainable building. Seminar for German culture module usually covers topics such as German history, literature, and art of the 19th and 20th centuries, which all activities will explore how contemporary German culture has been shaped by historical developments in the past 200 years, the "Age of Goethe" (Goethe-Zeit), the end of the 19th century (nietzsche), and the revolutionary art movement (bauhaus and expressionism).

Students will be awarded 6 ECTS upon completion of the German language course and two academic seminars in either the engineering module or culture module. The seminars are taught by experienced faculty members in English and optionally in German. Students of the engineering module are arranged to visit industrial partners. Students from the cultural module are arranged to visit the museums and cultural establishments in Kassel.[3]

About Kassel and Uni Kassel

Kassel is a mid-sized city located in northern Hesse in the centre of Germany. The city has around 198,500 inhabitants and a total area of 107 km2. Kassel is known as the "Capital of the German Fairy Tale Route" for it is the place where Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm spent more than 30 years of their lives to collect and compile the Grimm's Fairy Tales (German: Grimms Märchen) collection. Kassel is also the city of "documenta" where the world’s largest exhibition of contemporary art takes place every five years.

In 1971, Uni Kassel was founded in the city of Kassel as a reform university. The University is one of the first universities to have developed an international and inter-disciplinary perspective in research and learning. Being the youngest public university in the state of Hessen, it has currently a student population of 18,113,[4] which includes some 2,400 international students from over 120 countries.[5]

External links

  • International Winter University, University of Kassel
  • University of Kassel
  • International Study Center, University of Kassel
  • Student Service, University of Kassel
  • DAAD


  1. ^ See the list of International Study Programmes for details.
  2. ^ See the DAAD page.
  3. ^ See a list of museums in Kassel.
  4. ^ See the University of Kassel's "About the University" page.
  5. ^ See the Student Service's International Student page.
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