Lakeland University, Esslingen University of Applied Sciences announce new exchange partnership
Lakeland University's latest study abroad opportunity for its students is rooted in the homeland of settlers who founded the institution more than 150 years ago.
Lakeland and the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences, located in Esslingen, Germany, have signed a cooperation agreement. The City of Sheboygan and Esslingen have been sister cities for more than 50 years, and Sheboygan officials played a major role in helping making this partnership happen.
Beginning this fall, students attending Lakeland or Esslingen will be able to learn and live at the partner university. Stays can last one semester or the entire academic year. Both institutions will also pursue opportunities for faculty exchange.
While this opportunity is available to students in all majors, Studying in Esslingen is ideal for students majoring in one of Lakeland's business programs, said Scott Niederjohn, Lakeland's senior vice president for Cooperative Education and economic development.
"The business courses at Lakeland and Esslingen are very similar, and the majority of this major is taught in English, so business students will find this experience very appealing," Niederjohn said.
In addition to their coursework, Lakeland students will also have access to free German language, history and culture courses, as well as participation in an International Friends Program for German and international students with activities and trips to locations around Europe.
Participating Lakeland students would pay their regular Lakeland tuition to access the program, and there is a scholarship available to cover the cost of housing. Esslingen is located in southern Germany in the heart of Europe with easy access to neighbouring European countries.
"Esslingen is a smaller community where English is very prevalent," Niederjohn said. "The university has smaller classes, and I think our students will find this very comfortable, especially if this is their first international experience."
Niederjohn started talking with officials from Esslingen in 2019. Representatives from Esslingen and the university visited Lakeland in September as part of a visit to Sheboygan, and Niederjohn visited Esslingen in January to finalize the agreement.
The partnership was made possible by the collaboration of the Office of City Partnerships and International Relations in the Esslingen City Hall and the International Office of the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences.
"For us at the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences, the new partnership is a great achievement," said Esslingen University Rector Prof. Christof Wolfmaier. "It gives our students another attractive offer for their stay abroad. We are already looking forward to the guests from the United States who will enrich our campus."
The partnership is also supported by Sheboygan Mayor Mike Vandersteen, who was instrumental in developing this relationship.
"We are very thankful to Mayor Vandersteen and our friends at the City of Sheboygan for making these introductions that led to this program," Niederjohn said. "Sheboygan has such a long and important relationship with Esslingen, and when you add that to our founding by Germans who settled in this area, this partnership is a natural for both institutions."
Esslingen Lord Mayor Dr. Jürgen Zieger emphasized how important it is to develop new cooperation opportunities with the Sister Cities, which is why the collaboration between the two universities is of particular importance.
"With this form of cooperation with Sheboygan, we are addressing a further target group and making the city partnership fit for the future," said the Mayor Zieger. In addition, close cooperation with institutions and facilities outside the City Administration is also important in the area of Sister City relationships in order to get as many people as possible interested in Esslingen's international connections.
This new partnership joins several other study abroad opportunities for Lakeland students. LU has a two-year campus in Tokyo, Japan, and also has formal partnerships with the University of Luxembourg, Dublin Institute of Technology and the Foundation for International Education which features a study abroad opportunity in London.