The University of Graz is an active partner in various international networks, such as the COIMBRA Group. The cooperation in the European university alliance ARQUS is particularly far-reaching. How does the University of Graz specifically benefit from this alliance?
Van Poppel: In my opinion, the added value of ARQUS lies above all in the fact that this alliance of nine European universities also includes the non-scientific sector. Researchers have more opportunities to exchange ideas, for example at international conferences. ARQUS should also motivate university employees from the administration to visit colleagues from other universities and get ideas on how they deal with current challenges and solve problems.
What are the benefits of a stay at another university for students?
Van Poppel: For doctoral students who want to pursue a career in science, it is incredibly important to be able to show that you have worked internationally.In the Bachelor's and Master's programmes, a semester abroad does not help many students significantly in terms of content. Nevertheless, it is a personal enrichment and very valuable for later life.If you work or study somewhere else for a while, you have to integrate and exchange ideas.Then you may have more understanding for people who have different habits, look different, speak a different language.It helps to learn to appreciate diversity and to overcome any fears you may have.This is an added value of internationalisation not only for universities, but also for society as a whole.