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HLW Schrödinger explores Europe
Start date: Jun 1, 2016, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

With the support of Erasmus+, we have started to internationalise our vocational college over the past two years and our intention is to continue and to intensify this process. Gradually, our network, which was mainly regional and national up to that point, is starting to transcend national borders and taking on a more European format.Networking is a priority for us at ‘HLW Schroedinger‘. Our network comprises numerous companies, institutions, organisations and individuals from the fields of economics, tourism, culture and administration, as well as the educational and social sectors.One of the main aims of our project is to expand the already existing local, regional and national network to an international scale and, thus, to further enhance the modern profile of our college. Furthermore, in line with our school’s principles of mutual appreciation and respect, an immersion in other cultures will heighten the participants‘ tolerance and regard for specific cultural features of other nations. Similarly, it will broaden their personal and professional horizons.At a time of continuing globalisation, an internationalisation of vocational colleges is essential. Austria has served as a role model in this sector of higher education and it should retain and even strengthen its position in this field. Our project is intended to contribute to this goal by enhancing the image of vocational colleges and, in the future, promoting the international mobility of their teaching staff.It is evident that the students taking part in this project are expected to get to know new working methods and test their competences in the world of work: that applies for foreign language skills as well as competences required in the hospitality industry or in event management. These personal goals go hand in hand with the political goal of supporting international communication and exchange in order to strengthen the cooperation on a professional, economic and cultural level within the European Union. Our participants of the Erasmus+-project have benefitted from high-quality training and education in languages, economics and general knowledge and have already-tried-and-tested practical skills. Some of them have also acquired additional qualifications: from language and computer certificates to the title of junior sommelier, as well as qualifications in catering, event management and marketing. Apart from their theoretical knowledge in a wide range of subjects and practical know-how in kitchen and service they have excellent social and communicative skills.All our students are required to do work placements. These last between 12 weeks, which our students specialising in economic professions and professions in the service industries have to do after their third year, and 8 weeks for students specialising in event management and cultural studies (to be completed at a number of different cultural organisations between their second and final year at our school). Because of these different requirements and specialisations, our students will do a range of different tasks: from routine as well as highly-qualified duties in the hospitality industry to professional organisation of (cultural) events or seminars. For the participants of the project getting to know new working methods and reflecting on them is the key, as is learning about cultural differences and similarities.The project was introduced to students and their parents in autumn 2015. Subsequently, the 19 participants were nominated by a small team on the basis of selected criteria that included professional as well as social skills.The anticipated outcome of the project is that participants will gain professional experience in an international context, show an increased and lasting interest in cultural exchange, and develop their social and linguistic skills. In the long term we hope to extend the existing network of our school internationally, to strengthen our climate of tolerance and respect and to receive additional impulses for further professional and institutional development.The experiences and results gathered during the project will continuously be published in the form of blogs on our official Facebook page in order to motivate potential future participants and advance the internationalisation of our school.
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