Interview with Christiane Kästli from EBC Hochschule University of Applied Sciences in Berlin

Our newest Staytoo Berlin has quite a few University-neighbours at walking distance from the property. EBC Hochschule for example, it’s only 10 minutes down the road and we’ve recently met with Christiane Kästli, the new Director of their International Office. Read her interview here to find out what is so unique about this University of Applied Sciences and what are the main challenges for their incoming students:

Christiane, tell us a bit more about EBC and your study offer here in Berlin.

Looking back on a long tradition in academic education and with considerable international experience, EBC Hochschule aims at preparing our students for future challenges. We offer practically and internationally oriented Bachelor and Master programs in German and English, in the areas of business and economics as well as health and education. Studying at EBC means studying with a sense of “we” which not only refers to our student crowd, but also includes our academic and administrative staff. Besides their lectures, students at EBC gain further insights into the working world, with a domestic and an international internship, as well as a study period abroad. Equipped with these experiences and their intercultural competence, EBC students get well-prepared for an international working environment both here in Germany and abroad.

What is unique about EBC Berlin?

We teach in small groups and operate an open door policy which allows us the time to address students individual needs. Moreover, we have a strong focus on practical work, e.g. by offering projects with reputable partners. All our professors have an extensive professional experience, they see our students as individuals and will coach them to succeed. What I really like about EBC is how international and intercultural we are. Our outgoing students can choose from over 80 partner universities worldwide for their study abroad stay. At the same time we have many international students from all over the world studying at EBC, especially here at our Berlin Campus. Also the staff at EBC has a very diverse and international background, which makes it easy for them to relate to students’ needs. Recently, EBC Hochschule was voted amongst the top 25 for Internationalisation in the U-Multiranking and amongst the top ERASMUS mobility institutions when size of student body is considered. This is really an achievement of which our University and International Office team can be proud of!

You have a large number of international students coming to your school, what is the spread between National and international and which ones are the stronger “sending countries”?

We are very happy to welcome many international students to EBC Hochschule every year and it provides a fantastic opportunity for domestic students at EBC to get in touch with other nationalities and cultures. When we look at the undergraduate level, the majority of our international students join us for 1 or 2 semesters and mainly come to us from within Europe on an exchange program, many from France for example. However, our graduate program International Management M.A. brings together students from all over the world. Actually two thirds of our graduate students are from outside Europe, especially from Asia, South and Central America.

When it comes to supporting incoming students and helping them with their arrival in Berlin, what are the most common challenges for your incoming students and which are your top 3 tips for them?

Over the last few years, the top challenge for our students has become finding (affordable) housing in Berlin. We advise them to start searching as early as possible, and to not be too picky when it comes to location, as Berlin operates a fantastic public transport systems to reach the various neighbourhoods, but also to be quite careful of scamming and with advance payments. For those students that come to EBC as part of a larger group, their challenge is not only to hang out with their group peers, but to mix with others at EBC. Our tips are:

  1. Don´t be shy to speak in English or even German to other students. You will seem hard to approach, if you always speak your native language with your fellow students from home only.
  2. Take part in the activities offered by EBC, especially in the beginning of the semester – this is the best time to get into contact with new people!
  3. Get active and involved, e.g. join our Campus Life Project. This is a great way to get to know people and become part of something!

What are your main strengths and challenges when it comes to students recruitment?

When it comes to student recruitment, we definitely benefit from Germany currently being one of the strongest and most reliable economies in the world. Working visa up to 18 month after graduation and job opportunities for well qualified individuals create a great environment for our Non-EU students to build a career here, so Berlin as a location is a very attractive city to our international students. It simply means the freedom and tolerance to live the life one chooses. Moreover, we have a fantastic StartUp Industry here, which attracts a lot of people too. On the downside, people do really struggle in terms of finding housing in Berlin. This is one of the main problems our students encounter.

At Staytoo, we look forward to work closely with Christiane and her team at EBC Hochschule to help their students finding a home next to the campus!

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