Academic Exchange Program at the University of Hildesheim 2019
A report by Laura Wenzlaff
Six scholarship holders and four guest researchers were invited to participate in an academic exchange program at the University of Hildesheim from May to July 2019.
Besides working on their individual research, the students and guest researchers were always welcome to attend the lectures and the seminars at the culture campus. So, they took the opportunity to get in contact with the students in Germany, to exchange experiences and discuss thoughts on topics in the areas of culture policy, music education and philosophy. They participated in seminars like “The Artist as influencer” by Dr. Daniel Gad, “Music and Conflicts” by Dr. Michael Fuhr, “Multilingualism” by Prof. Dr. Elke Montanari, “Decolonising Museums” by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schneider and Meike Lettau, “Time and History – What ‘history’ do we want to talk about in the future” by Prof. Dr. Rolf Elberfeld among others. During the weekly doctoral colloquium they could present new acquired knowledge of their individual research projects. At the doctoral workshop in ethnomusicology at the Center for World Music or conferences like “Democratising the arts and the art sector” at the University Heilbonn, “The Role of the Artists in Processes of Transformation” at the Federal Academy for Cultural Education in Wolfenbüttel, the researchers exchanged ideas and ongoing research projects with an amount of international scholars from the Master program in Cultural policy at the University Hassan II Casablanca, Morocco.
Of course, this exchange should also serve to experience Germany such as its culture, its history, its people and its lifestyle. Going on various excursions and academic trips it has been possible for them to gain impressions about places of the country such as the capital Berlin and cities like Hannover, Hamburg, Göttingen, Wolfsburg and Freiburg. Between their research work and their trips, a little bit of time was left to learn a couple of words in a German language course and to participate in sport courses like swimming, badminton and football. The students and guest researchers also joined the Campus Fest and the Mittsommernacht-Festival, a music and art festival organized on the culture campus of the University of Hildesheim. They presented and shared some traditional drum rhythms and dance moves from Ghana and Nigeria. Because of catching everybody’s fascination and making the others dance together with them, it is sure that the students and guest researchers will be kept in good memory.
“The exchange provided a calm environment for me to go through the most delicate part of my research, which is transcription, translation and coding. Books from the Center for Wolrd Music and University of Hildesheim libraries also helped me to better understand the entire research process and now I am even more confident about my work than before.”
(Alasambom Nyingchuo, Cameroon)
“The most beneficial activities of the stay were the doctoral colloquiums we had weekly to present our work and to receive feedbacks. The conferences were equally beneficial.”
(Amos Darkwa Asare, Ghana)
“During my three-month exchange visit, I was opportune also to network with many individual students and professors from other nations like Germany, India, Morocco, Egypt, and others. It also provided me with great opportunities for networking with some organizations for future academic engagements.”
(Umar Yusuf, Nigeria)
“One colloquium that got me so thrilled and informed was the philosophy seminar titled “Time and History – What ‘history’ do we want to talk about in future”. In this discourse, we (Ghanaian students) and the dominant German students all recognized that the worlds history cannot be told now or to the future generation singularly; it would require both the history from Africa and Europe, the idea of slave trade and international relations. We also expressed the need to emphasize whose history it is.”
(Sabina Appiah-Boateng, Ghana)
“The exchange program created an avenue for me to gain deeper understanding into German culture and society and that to me is a significant part of the exchange. As the world we live in is becoming culturally more diverse by the day, and yet a global village, such experiences can never be overemphasized.”
(Zainab Musa Shallangwa, Nigeria)
“As a student of African Studies, I have always been interested in the histories of the Holocaust specifically the black community that lived in Germany at the time. I looked forward and enjoyed the trip to Berlin, the postcolonial tour and lecture by Mboro. I also enjoyed the trip to the University of Freiburg. I was particularly amazed that Freiburg had a colonial past as Berlin did.”
(Lydia Amoah, Ghana)