The German schools abroad scholarship programme: awards for the best

Eileen Dorer Li with architecture lecturer Peter Braumann Enlarge image Eileen Dorer Li with architecture lecturer Peter Braumann (© Jan Greune) In the school year of 2009/2010 some 16,700 school students around the globe completed their education at one of the 140 German schools abroad and the 870 Language Diploma schools. Now that they are acquainted with the German language and culture, these young women and men are excellently qualified to study at a German university. A special programme run by the DAAD and financed by the Federal Foreign Office offers the best non-German school-leavers an exceptional opportunity: they can win a scholarship to cover a complete course of study in Germany.

An atlas of building materials, specialist literature on concrete and ecology, a file labelled “load-bearing construction”, all interspersed with her own design models of buildings: the contents of 22-year-old Eileen Dorer Li’s white bookshelf clearly reveal her field of study. The young woman from Peru has been studying architecture at the University of Stuttgart since October 2008. Her studies are being fully financed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) through the scholarship programme for non-German school-leavers from German schools abroad and Language Diploma schools. The programme, which is funded by the Federal Foreign Office, is unusual in two respects: only the very best have a chance of receiving an award. But instead of applying themselves, they have to be proposed by their schools. And: the scholarship is the only one in the DAAD programme to finance a complete course of study in Germany.

The architecture student is fascinated by the Mercedes-Benz Museum building Enlarge image The architecture student is fascinated by the Mercedes-Benz Museum building (© Jan Greune)

Eileen Dorer Li attended the “Alexander von Humboldt” German school in Lima, and graduated in 2007 with the Abitur – as the best in her year. The school in the Peruvian capital is one of 140 worldwide German schools abroad, where students are taught several subjects in German, can take the Abitur graduation exams and thus qualify to study in Germany. Eileen Dorer Li looks back at her schooldays with pleasure. “I had a very good education and I really felt at home in school,” the student says. Straight after graduating from school she began her first semester in Peru. Then, the head of her school gave her some good news: having proposed her as a candidate for a DAAD full grant, his best Abitur graduate suitably convinced the DAAD jury

From A for architecture to Z for zoology: the DAAD’s unique scholarship programme is currently supporting some 500 graduates from German schools abroad and Language Diploma schools in 50 different countries. Dr Georg Krawietz, head of the responsible section at the DAAD, knows that these scholarship holders are particularly well-prepared for studying in Germany:

Eileen Dorer Li with a fellow student at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart Enlarge image Eileen Dorer Li with a fellow student at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart (© Jan Greune) “They are accustomed to independent learning and problem solving. What’s more, their familiarity with Germany, its language and culture leads to far greater academic achievements in comparison with other international students.” That’s why, within the framework of PASCH, the “Schools: Partners for the Future” initiative launched by the Federal Foreign Office, the DAAD is targeting German universities and highlighting the potential of graduates from German schools abroad as an interesting pool of prospective degree-course students. PASCH creates a bridge for a smoother transition from a German school abroad to a university in Germany. The effects of the initiative are visible: more and more people learning German want to study in Germany. In 2001, at the beginning of the scholarship programme for the best graduates from German schools abroad, the number of awards was around 30. But since the PASCH initiative started in 2008, the annual number of scholarship awards has quadrupled.

The DAAD has also been promoting greater networking between German schools abroad and universities in Germany with BIDS, the Counselling Initiative for German schools abroad. This has led to the development of more than 150 contacts and collaborations since 2008.

After completing her diploma in 2013, DAAD scholarship holder Eileen Dorer Li first wants to gain work experience as an architect – in Germany. “But later on I would like to share my knowledge with others in Peru,” she says. In her opinion her home town of Lima, a city with seven million inhabitants, is growing without any clear concept, so “architects have a lot to do there.”

© Oliver Sefrin/Societäts-Medien

Facts

Since 2001 the DAAD has been awarding scholarships to complete a full course of study in Germany to non-German graduates from German schools abroad and Language Diploma schools. // Some 500 students from 50 countries are currently receiving scholarships. // Around 120 new scholarship holders join the programme each year. // As a result of the partner school initiative the number of German schools abroad has risen from 117 to 140 since 2008 and the Language Diploma schools from 440 to 870. // The German schools abroad have a total of 81,000 students; 60,000 of them, almost two-thirds, are of non-German origin.

The German schools abroad scholarship programme

The architecture student assembling a model