Tourism Business as an international Business needs education with international influence and intercultural competences of the employees. But fact is that the curriculum-structure is very high influenced by law (e.g. bologna in the EU; rules by government) and requirements of Quality and Accreditation Companies – these are mostly different in every country and every university-system and sometimes there are a lot of special peculiarities in each university. Another point is that the students think they have to study very fast. A part of the students have to work in the teaching-holidays or beside the study to finance their time at the university.
The University of Applied Sciences in Worms has developed classes for growing the intercultural competence of their participants. The idea is to combine the content of the class in one part “at home” and one part abroad. And – that is the important point – to teach the class with a colleague from a Partner-University abroad (e.g. in Brazil, China or USA). This means for example: a group at Worms University and a group at a partner university learn content about sustainable tourism in class at their home-university. After that both groups meet each other at Worms for a short time (e.g. 10-14 days) and after this meeting they travel together to he Partner-University and work at these place together for another 10-14 days.
To develop the intercultural competence of the participants we built “international groups” that means two students from each university works together on a special topic. If there are ten participants from each university we get five international groups with four students each. the have to prepare group work with presentation of the main results at the end of the project.
The main language of the project was English because all participants can communicate in English. Tandems were defined between the students an the teacher – so the idea is, that the participants learn on one hand the foreign language (German Portuguese/Brazilian) and on the other hand more about the culture and everyday handling of the tandem partner.
The main results are:
• it was a challenge for the students to work together with partner who a practice a different learning strategy
• More knowledge about the other culture
• a differentiated thinking in the field of export business idea from the own to a foreign country – not all of the criteria in the home country fits in an other country
• for the teacher: we need more flexible structures and financing possibilities for do such projects
The idea of the project was clear the commitment of teachers and students on a high level. The problems began first at the point of financing the project – there was not enough founding to pay for all options and all students. The students in Germany could apply the money but for the students in Brazil it was mostly not possible to pay for a flight to Europe.
The next important point was that not all of the students could earn credit-points by participate in the project. The duration of the project made it necessary to teach it in the university-holidays because during the teaching period they would miss a lot of other classes. But teaching-holidays in different countries are different – so it is complicate to find a time slot for a project like this.
The curriculum structure at universities is mostly not flexible enough to get space for new teaching methods because the Quality and Accreditation Companies have defined the rules for teaching, they are written in module handbooks and it is not allowed to change them during the accredited period.
In the article we discuss the problems in the realization of such project at universities and find out some solutions but not for all problems.
Session 2 – Learning processes and internationalization Place: Room SB04
Other activities in Session 2 – Learning processes and internationalization
Speaker: Tanja Mihalic, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Head Institute for Tourism ITEF Speaker: Janne J. Liburd, University of Southern Denmark Speaker: Jaume Guia, Universitat de Girona