Aside from German language courses at five different levels of proficiency, FUBiS offers a wide range of classes with a focus on Berlin, Germany, and Europe. FUBiS is a program for first-year students as well as for graduates, who want to learn more about living and studying in Germany. Moreover, through FUBiS students can earn internationally recognized credits that may be counted towards their degrees at their home institutions. Every year, the study abroad program attracts about 500 students from over 60 countries, making FUBiS the largest multidisciplinary summer and winter university in Germany.
In this year’s FUBiS Summer University, Prof. Segbers teaches a class addressing the new global environment. Since the end of the East-West conflict, the world is less peaceful, less organized and increasingly complex than before the collapse of the old order. Against this backdrop, the course explores traditional concepts of International Relations (IR) and offers new creative tools for analytically making sense of the post Cold War era.
The students all come from different disciplines and bring a unique set of expertise to the classroom. This is why Prof. Segbers’ class is not a standard political science class. The course is very interactive and offers a broader perspective than usual. The goal: To get people to speak up, ask questions and challenge each other’s ideas. „With such an international crowd coming from highly diverse backgrounds, I’m always hoping for the surprise effect,“ Prof. Segbers says. After teaching at FUBiS for more than 15 years, he takes a realistic approach to the summer university: „Students come here in summer. Normally, at this time, they would enjoy their free time. Their trip to Berlin is not only about studying. The students also want to get to know the city, have fun and travel Europe.“ Focusing less on a strict curriculum, the class is an open discussion forum for the students and helps them to reflect themselves from a different point of view.
Each session targets a specific issue. The students talk about populism, global cities and the role of time in an era of ever accelerating speed. For Liu Yuming from China, this variety of topics is what she likes most about Prof. Segbers’ class: „Young people need to be curious and learn how things happen in the world.“ Her British classmate Charlotte adds that she enjoys the entirely different methodical and theoretical approach. At their home universities, both major in History. „Sometimes you need to defocus to refocus,“ Charlotte laughs, capturing the spirit of the study abroad endeavor.
Sam, who studies Economics at UC Santa Cruz (UCSC), explains that he was drawn in by the title of the class. He wants to understand how the world has come to be what it is. Walking the streets of Berlin to him is to discover recent history in real-life and not in a book. „Berlin is the only place in the world where you would see a guy with a green mohawk help his Turkish elderly neighbor carry her groceries,“ Yasmine from UC Berkeley tosses in. She loves Berlin’s bohemian vibe and will probably return many times in the future.
There is a global dynamic in Prof. Segbers’ class. Global politics discussed by global people, as his students say. Over the past years, many of them have come back to join one of the CGP programs. The global feeling seems to be more than just a summer affair.