Experienced students help those with less experience: that is the principle of a mentoring program. The Department of Media and Cultural Studies (Medienkulturwissenschaft, MKW)) at the University of Freiburg established an Eucor mentoring program for the winter semester 2021–2022, with the result that much was achieved with little effort in a short time. The coordinator of the degree program Elisa Lang, the mentor Lily Mauch, as well as several students tell us about their consistently positive experiences with this successful pilot project.
Ms. Lang, what initiated the Eucor mentoring program at the Department of Media and Cultural Studies?
We wanted to raise the awareness of the students in Media and Cultural Studies about the possibilities of studying in other cities and countries in the framework of Eucor. When we found out that the International Office of the University of Freiburg was calling for applications for pilot projects to simplify and increase mobility within Eucor, we decided to apply and asked for €2,000 to hire a student assistant as an “Eucor ambassador.” Our project application was successful, and we were able to hire a student assistant who was ideally suited.
How did the Eucor ambassador succeed in raising awareness of Eucor’s offerings at your department?
The plan was to organize regular events to provide information and advice. We also wanted to develop and maintain an attractive website to inform people about information events and how to get advice. This has now been done. Our ambassador and mentor Lily Mauch also offered office hours for Eucor matters, which was not used often, but advising via email was used a lot. In January 2022, a well-attended information event took place (in person and online) in which students were informed about suitable courses and application deadlines for the summer semester 2022. Students also got concrete support for applications. Our mentor also made a short promotional film about Eucor and a little clip that addressed many questions, thereby launching a social media campaign.
Did the information campaign and the advising have the desired effect?
We heard back from several students that the information event and personal support via email were especially helpful. The social media campaign was also popular with our students and was even noticed all over the university. The campaign was successful because of the short, entertaining features, which appeal to students. Information can be disseminated quickly and broadly this way.
Students from Media and Cultural Studies agree: “The Eucor information event really helped us figure out exactly how to proceed and what formalities needed to be taken care of. After the event, we could approach the Eucor mentor with all kinds of questions, which meant that any problems or questions about anything that was still unclear could be resolved quickly in an understandable way,” say Jenny and Sonja. “The Eucor mentoring program convinced me to attend a seminar in Basel. The information event and the overview of the academic courses offered made it especially easy to find my way. I was happy to have someone to talk to someone who is also a student and who I could ask any question“, Anna adds.
Did the pilot project have further goals beyond this?
Yes, we also plan to compile a list of courses offered at member universities that are relevant to our field and to make students aware of these in the form of suggestions for mobility. We’ve already assembled a selection of courses from our partner universities in Basel and Karlsruhe after discussing this with our colleagues in the same field there. Students can find more information about this on the website. We also designed a list of our own courses and made this available to our partner universities.
Were you able to achieve immediate success with this project? What’s next?
In our opinion, the personal, one-on-one counseling and assistance with planning and filling out the application significantly contributed to more students than ever taking part in Eucor studies in the summer semester 2022 (9 students in the summer semester 2022, compared to 1–2 students before we started with the mentoring). Thanks to our consistently positive experience, the Eucor mentoring program will continue to offer this one-on-one support. We are also in the process of sounding out further ways to cooperate with our partner universities and expand already established information and communication channels to make it easier for students of Media Cultural Studies to be mobile within the European Campus and inspire more of them to take advantage of this. We plan to hold joint information events with our colleagues from Basel and Karlsruhe at their universities and the University of Freiburg.
Ms. Mauch, you’ve done a great job as the Eucor mentor at the Department of Media and Cultural Studies. Do you want to add something?
Being the “Eucor ambassador” of Media and Cultural Studies is a joy. As the Eucor mentor, I have many different areas of responsibility, and I am in constant and direct contact with the students through counseling. This means that I am always able to adapt my approach to the concrete needs of the students. I also find working with our partner universities exciting. In addition to my organizational tasks, the social media campaign and the promotional film required a lot of creative work. The promotional film is popular with the students and is very effective because it gets them interested and are easy to digest. I attended a course in Basel through Eucor myself, so I was able to apply my personal perspective in all aspects of my work. That is why I can recommend gaining personal experience with Eucor as a basis for establishing Eucor mentoring. I think it was worth all the effort, and I was very happy about the consistently positive feedback I got from students.