Two Students – Two UNIC Events

Yanki and Yazgi Yilmaz report about UNIC offers. They took part in the first UNIC Creathon and in the Spring School at RUB.

The two RUB students Yanki and Yazgi Yilmaz took part in two different UNIC activities. While Yanki gained new experiences in the Spring School, her sister Yazgi participated in the Creathon. Both talk about their impressions and insights and explain why students should take up UNIC’s offers.

In the first Creathon, student teams competed against each other in finding creative ideas for educational challenges at UNIC partner universities. Yazgi Yilmaz studies English, American Studies and History at RUB to become a teacher. She was part of the winning team “UNICan” which is going to present its results at the UNIC CityLab Festival in Liège in October 2021.

Yazgi Yilmaz: “That is why our motto is, ‘One click away from being part of UNIC’”.

Can you describe your project for the Creathon?

Our project “UNIClick” is an online platform for students at the UNIC universities that can also be used as an app for smartphones and tablets. On this platform, students create avatars and can personalize it by choosing different fields of interest, such as global challenges, climate change, racism or unemployment. Based on their choices, the platform automatically matches students with similar interests using artificial intelligence. Students also receive recommendations for UNIC courses, events and workshops. This way students have the chance to connect, work on joint projects or even find solutions to global challenges. Apart from acquiring essential skills for entering the labour market, students can simply find friends. That is why our motto is, “One click away from being part of UNIC”.

Who was part of your team? Which fields of study were represented?

The teams were randomly assigned among participants from all eight UNIC universities with up to five students each. Apart from me, team UNICan consisted of Marina, who studies Philosophy at the University of Deusto in Spain, Gordon, who studies Law at the University College Cork in Ireland, Ioana, a student of Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Junko, who studies to become a primary school teacher at the University of Oulu in Finland. In addition, Farshida from Erasmus University Rotterdam and Henna from the University of Oulu were our guides and supported us in finding the right project. Without them, the Creathon would certainly not have gone so smoothly.

How did the Creathon work?

It was a 24-hour competition, while not the whole time had to be spent in front of a laptop. We had an introductory meeting a few days prior to the actual Creathon where we received a timetable. We did not only work on our own project, but also got the chance to get to know the other teams and let them feedback us. We could then decide ourselves when and how to work on our idea. The jury received one poster and one so-called Solution Canvas per team.

Yazgi Yilmaz: “UNIC is unique and I am happy that RUB is part of it.”

How did you become aware of the Creathon and why did taking part in it pay off for you?

In our student network “TalenteNetzwerkTreffen” (which translates to TalentNetworkMeeting) we are regularly informed about a variety of offers and interesting workshops and the UNIC Creathon was one of them. I signed up immediately. In the Creathon I could get to know students from the other universities and share my ideas with them. Also, communicating in English and working in an interdisciplinary team was a lot of fun. I can only recommend it to anyone who is looking for a bit of variety or who wants to explore collaborating in interdisciplinary teams. It was only after the Creathon that I realized how unique UNIC really is and I am therefore very happy that RUB is part of it. This is also why I would like to get involved in the UNIC Student Council.

The UNIC Spring School 

Yanki Yilmaz is studying for a Master’s degree in Management and Economics at RUB and takes part in the first Spring School. Apart from RUB, the University of Oulu (Finland) and the University of Zagreb (Croatia) are involved in delivering the program as UNIC partner universities. The topic of Entrepreneurship and Transformation combines courses in fields such as economics, law and business administration. They are similar to regular seminars but take place in the lecture-free period.

How did you become aware of the Spring School?

At first, a fellow student made me aware of it and shortly after our faculty advertised the Spring School in an e-mail newsletter. Two economics classes are offered by RUB teaching staff.

How does the course work?

It is a block course, because the limited time frame of the Spring School of approximately ten to twelve weeks only allows for staggering to work through the scheduled curriculum. We received a course plan as well as detailed information on the different topics of the course in the introductory session and also got access to the course materials. After completion of important teaching units, small quizzes are offered that are not graded but are intended to support students in recapping what they have already learned. The final exam is planned to be offered online in May in a similar way.

Yanki Yilmaz: “Not only geographic, but also disciplinary borders are breached.”

What excites you about it in particular?

It fascinates me how many advantages the European Union offers for universities through the unified education and accreditation system (ECTS). I could not have imagined taking part in a statistics class at the University of Zagreb together with other international students and fiddling around with programs I was already familiar with, such as Excel and R. Not only geographic, but also disciplinary borders are breached. We especially profit from the fact that not all participants have a background in economics, because discussions are enriched by the expertise from other disciplines.

Yanki Yilmaz: “Lecturers from other countries usually have a special flair.”

Why is taking part worthwhile?

The Spring School offers the opportunity to earn credit points outside of the usually busy lecture period and to intensively concentrate on one course at a time. So the Spring School is the perfect chance for those who do not take enough classes during the semester or who wish to prepare themselves for the upcoming next semester. The advantage of the digital implementation is that international students can easily get in touch and talk to each other in English. Lecturers from other countries usually have a special flair since students are not used to their probably uncommon and enthusiastic teaching styles. I think that anyone can profit from this interculturality. Even content that is already known is once again underpinned with new perspectives and interpretations, and lecturers provide the incentive to take another look at the subject matter.

Interview by Katrin Heyer, RUB

Original Text in German

Picture: private

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