LLS Summer School 2017

Globalization is one of the buzzwords that floats through classrooms of business and law schools around the world. However, for many students it stays a rather illusionary and abstract concept until they get the opportunity to experience other cultures and get the chance to realise that the existence of world brands, such as Coca Cola and McDonalds, does not necessarily mean that we are all the same. The German and American participants of the LLS International Summer School get this opportunity, and the eagerness to learn from each other’s cultures is always stunning. All of them understand and live the longstanding motto of the programme: “Nothing’s better, nothing’s worse, just different!

26 students from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UT-RGV), the Louisiana State University Shreveport (LSUS) and the Texas A&M University Kingsville (TAMUK) participated in this year’s Summer School. The programme is structured in a way that calls for the involvement of German students who partly participate in classroom discussions and also often open their homes for American students for the period of two weeks. This idea of “hosting” is not only based on the limited budget that the programme works with but rather on the enriching cultural exchanges between hosts and guests. It is the only true way of bringing a new culture closer to someone – something a hotel or hostel cannot provide that easily. Moreover, the dedication of the student organizations “Fachgruppe Recht” and “ELSA” over the last few years has been crucial for the success.

The programme lives on the combination of lectures, case studies and cultural activities. Prof. Dr. Bernhard Hohlbein and Prof. Dr. Thomas Schomerus, who received a teaching award for the concept, are leading the programme. The lectures contribute to the exchange of views on legal questions. Other Leuphana professors and the accompanying scholars from the U.S. universities contribute to it and prepare the students for a job in a globalized world. The interactive lectures comprised hard facts on issues such as culture – in particular pop culture –, the clean diesel case, the strategic dimension of marketing, international transfer pricing, housing affordability, success in global business and also soft skills like International Business Negotiation (IBN) which the students said they really enjoyed. When reflecting on the IBN class for example, one student was quite enthusiastic and said: “Being put in a real-world case situation was very challenging and educational. I personally had never enjoyed a class activity as much as I did when we had to perform a business negotiation. I learned so much from Professor Hohlbein, he taught us how to take part in a business situation and the do’s and dont’s of a business meeting.” Another student agreed: “It taught me so much about how to understand who you’re talking to, in terms of international business, and understanding and respecting the culture for what it is and incorporating that into business. (…) The case studies we did were very helpful and brought a real-world application to things we had learned in the classroom.”

Another thing that is an essential part of the programme is a closer look at Germany’s past. The students were not only taken to Berlin for one weekend, but also to the concentration camp memorial in Neuengamme. The programme was rounded up by trips to the Volkswagen Autostadt in Wolfsburg and to the City of Hamburg.

In times of social media the students stay connected long after the farewell from their newly won friends. Many of the American students are so fascinated that they are seriously considering coming back to Leuphana and “Märchenstadt Lüneburg”, as they often say, to continue their studies in a master programme. The Summer School generates memories that last like Michael Flores – a former participant – told us when looking back on his time spent in Lüneburg: "Still to this day I catch myself reminiscing and telling stories about those two weeks. It's crazy how the little amount of time spent there really changed my perspective on certain things. Definitely miss being there." On the other hand, German students express their interest in a semester abroad, or even an MBA programme in the United States. This would continue an ongoing tradition. In the past, many students from Leuphana have continued their studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in a master programme and even entered a doctoral programme. Even more spent one semester in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas where UT-RGV is located. The LLS International Summer School has been and will continue to be an important experience in students’ lives. In some cases it might even change their lives entirely as it has done for so many of them in the past.

For all students – present or future – the LLS International Summer School provides innumerable opportunities, be it finding new friends all over the world and maintaining international contacts and friendships or taking the first step towards studies and even careers abroad. Are you interested in hosting an American student during our next Summer School?

Get in touch: summerschool@leuphana.de