Intercultural Counseling - Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

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At various events and workshops since 2012, we have been gathering students' feedback on their hopes and expectations while studying at the LMU. They respond very positively to our interest, perhaps because they seldom get special attention from faculty and administrative staff.

For purposes of providing a general summary of our survey results, we have grouped together students’ answers according to theme. With the goal of taking an empathetic approach to providing perspectives and allowing students' experiences to speak, we have refrained from presenting a quantitative analysis of gathered data.

The input received is to be understood as a response to following question: "What do you expect as an international student at the LMU?" Answers were recorded and slightly edited to improve linguistic clarity.

Global academic community

  • Encountering new cultures and traditions
  • Tolerance and integration
  • Participation in international exchange programs
  • Discovering the world and other cultures
  • Openness to other cultures
  • Equal opportunities for international students to pursue their interests
  • Events for learning about and celebrating different cultural traditions
  • Cultural exchange opportunities to break down stereotypes and prejudice
  • People from all over the world
  • Hanging international flags on buildings
  • Several different languages

High-Quality Education

  • Good education
  • Better career opportunities
  • Insight into new, academic systems

Getting to know Germany/Bavaria/Munich

  • Programs that help students get to know Germany and Bavaria
  • Presentations about the history of Germany and Munich
  • Overview and introduction to the local culture
  • Daytrips and outings around Bavaria
  • Experiencing German culture e.g. discovering culinary specialties and dirndl-making
  • Programs to connect students with the broader Munich community
  • Guided tours of the university
  • Becoming acquainted with the city

LMU Websites

  • More links in English
  • More information in English on general university and departmental websites
  • More detailed information in English
  • Improved English websites for international students

Language Support

  • Assistance with language adaptation as many students do not speak German
  • Support and assistance with the German language
  • Heightened sensitivity to the special needs of nonnative German-speaking students
  • Grammar courses for foreign students
  • Courses for academic German
  • Special exemptions regarding exams: e.g. giving international students 100 minutes to complete a 90-minute exam
  • Offering inexpensive language classes
  • Providing free beginner German classesOffering more classes in English
  • Language exchange programs
  • Support with language teaching and learning
  • "Buddies" Program

Making Contact & Building Friendships

  • Events with German students
  • Events with international students in student housing
  • Events with German and international students
  • Opportunities for networking and integration in the new surroundings
  • Meeting and working together with students with diverse cultural backgrounds
  • Building cross-cultural friendships
  • Helping newcomers connect with other students
  • Helping students regardless of their nationality
  • Student Mixers (getting-to-know-you events) and/or regularly-scheduled, informal student get-togethers
  • Easier access to information and making contacts
  • Being invited to Christmas dinner with instructors and/or German families.
  • Events at which international and German students do or make things together (integration).
  • German student groups that volunteer to spend time with international students
  • Meetings with international students
  • Points international students should know about or bear in mind when building interpersonal relationships with Germans
  • Newsletters
  • More events for foreign students
  • Programs that foster friendly interaction and connection with area residents
  • "Culture Night" Meetings that celebrate cultural diversity and student-organized events where international students have a chance to share something from their own culture
  • More get-togethers

Special Care and Advising for International Students

  • Special advising for international students
  • More events for improving intercultural communication
  • Creating an atmosphere where foreign students feel at home
  • Counseling
  • Workshops, trainings and orientation programs to help students settle in
  • Interactive workshops about culture, university lectures and life in Germany
  • Intercultural encounters: student-organized events that celebrate cultural diversity and give students a chance to share their own cultures
  • Assistance with getting organized and settled in Munich
  • Assistance with understanding academic procedures, matriculation and the university website for non-German speakers
  • More information especially tailored to foreign students' needs
  • German student groups that volunteer to spend time with international students
  • More events for international students
  • Making university facilities foreigner-friendly: e.g. orientation maps of buildings with clearly-marked room numbers
  • Establishing regular orientation and introductory workshops for international students
  • Workshops, trainings and orientation programs to help students with settling in

Academic Life and Studies

  • Support and understanding from Professors
  • International meetings in every academic department
  • More classes offered in English
  • Solid support from advisors and/or instructors
  • Instructors speaking more slowly in lectures
  • Clarification and explanation of how seminars and exams work
  • Assistance with selecting academic modules and establishing a student curriculum
  • Workshops for building and improving academic skills (time management, organizing and balancing studies with student life)
  • Understanding the difference between lectures, supplementary discussion sections and tutorials
  • Workshops that clearly explain how the academic system works from taking exams and completing homework to interacting with professors
  • Special workshops and coaching sessions focused on German learning styles
  • Advice about exams
  • More advising
  • Extra care and advising for first year students
  • Better advising from coordinators
  • Information about student "conduct" and performance: what students should expect from teachers and how to give better student presentations


We have distilled and consolidated the comments from many international students into the following main topics:

  • Offering particular support and care through information sessions and counseling
  • Heightening faculty awareness and sensitivity about differences in cultural and educational backgrounds
  • Fostering integration by offering opportunities to interact and connect with others
  • Strong interest in building friendships with German students
  • Raising awareness of the special needs of nonnative German speakers
  • Additional German lessons
  • Easier access to relevant, academic information
  • More information in English on the general LMU website and on departmental websites



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