Ruthild Schulte

Home university: Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Occupation: Contact Person for Incoming Exchange Students at the International Office

The topics and tasks of an International Office are relatively broad. As a Contact Person for Incoming Exchange Students, my main task was to promote the exchange of students from all over the world and to accompany and support them as best as possible. From 20 to 30 exchange students per semester, the number rose continuously. Nowadays, Ruhr-Universität welcomes several hundred Erasmus students as "Incomings" at the beginning of each semester.

In order to be able to meet the formal needs of the ever-growing number of Erasmus students, I was continually reviewing and adapting my work processes. Together, almost all bureaucratic hurdles could be tackled, cleared out or simplified.

There was an abundance of impressions, questions and formalities the students were confronted with. In all matters, the international Erasmus students have been able to rely on us at the International Office, even when they were just homesick. The latter luckily rarely occurred. It was nice to see that not only the students but also their parents trusted my words. "Your children are not alone at Ruhr-Universität – we help them – we are there for them". The orientation course, organized by the International Office of Ruhr-Universität every semester, was and remains particularly helpful. In this way, a personal meeting with the Erasmus Incomings takes place already before the start of the semester and the students can get into contact with each other.

Ruthilde at a fair for international students in Thessaloniki

My personal status "mother of two studying students" showed some advantage. On the one hand, I understood the many questions that the young people asked; on the other hand, I was able to understand the "worrying moments" of the parents when they had to let their children go. After all, it was usually the first stay alone in a foreign country with a foreign language.

Individual students and their home universities are still very much alive in my memory today. I remember, for example, an Italian student: for a long time, he seemed to me still very unsure of the German language, and his dictionary seemed to be glued on him when he hurriedly ran across the campus. Shortly before his departure, he surprised me with an elaborate joke: in the end, he had essentially internalized the German language and culture.

During my 21 years working at the International Office, I have observed from year to year that students have gained maturity through the Erasmus stay. Countless friendships beyond national borders have developed for life.

I recommend an Erasmus stay at a partner university to every European student!

I enjoyed my work with the Erasmus Incomings very much, it was a lot of fun.

Ruthilde at her office at the International Office in 1997