TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Leaders from several German and Alabama universities met in Tuscaloosa Thursday to sign an International Memorandum of Understanding giving Alabama engineering students a chance to study in Germany.
The memorandum, signed by the schools’ provosts, establishes an exchange program among the universities in the electrical and mechanical engineering departments. Representatives from all the schools worked together to set the parameters for the courses and the course content that will be taught to the undergraduate students participating in the program.
“Both sides are agreed on the course credit transfer for the English taught engineering courses in Germany,” said Dr. Bharat Balasubramanian, an engineering professor and executive director of The University of Alabama’s Center for Advanced Vehicle Technologies who retired from the German automotive corporation Daimler in 2012 after nearly 40 years of service. He spearheaded the effort on the Alabama and German side.
The Alabama universities participating in the partnership are The University of Alabama, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Auburn University and the University of South Alabama.
There are seven German universities from the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg involved in this partnership. Two of those universities — Hochschule Karlsruhe and Hochschule Offenburg, both Universities of Applied Sciences— will participate as pilot schools this spring.
During the Spring 2018 semester, approximately 20 students from the Alabama universities will begin studying in Germany. The German spring semester begins in March and ends in July.
At the end of the semester, students have the option to return to Alabama or stay in Germany for an internship with a local German industry.
“You have the option then, if they have sufficient German knowledge and they’re academically excellent. The university will help them get an internship for another six months till the end of the year,” Balasubramanian said.
Applications for the program are due in September.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.