This year we tried out something new for the introduction week in three of our undergraduate programs. Students of the Bachelor in International Business Administration, Business Administration and Management, Philosophy & Economics went to the nearby city of Darmstadt for two and a half days to “Get Ready for the Frankfurt School Experience”, as we called the workshop.
Almost 80 students signed up and in the end we had to turn down some late registrations due to lack of space. After some fun activities meant to break the ice and enable students to get to know each other, participants cycled through different interactive workshops.
Roman Kessler, a veteran journalist and PR professional, ran the WritingLab, where he dealt with writing different forms of text ranging from a 140 character Tweet to a business report or a Bachelor thesis.
Kees Broos, currently the Lieutenant Governor for Education and Training in Continental Europe at Toastmasters International, and I ran a SpeechLab, where we exposed students to different topics around public speaking and presentation. Kees dealt primarily with opening and closing a speech and I worked with participants on using body language and on improvised speaking.
The next day we took the group to the high-rope course Kletterwald Darmstadt, where students had to perform different exercises in groups. The challenges were meant to be both fun and teach the students something about the importance of team-work and team-building. At the barbecue afterwards students invariably agreed that this was a real highlight.
The last day I held a workshop to help students get started at university and navigate the jungle of academia, primarily with respect to research methods.
This time it was a pilot that we organised as part of the Creative Complexity project. However, I believe that we should look into making something similar happen next year again—and maybe even for the entire cohort.