"It's the most successful year since we started our programme," said Furtwangen University (HFU) Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Kukral quite proudly at the annual FiPS get-together on the Schwenningen Campus. FiPS stands for the "Furtwangen Internship Placement Service", which coordinates student internship semester places for students from selected partner universities. The FiPS success story over the last 13 years has enabled over 100 students to gain valuable practical experience in Germany, and in return almost 100 HFU students have been able to spend a study semester in Canada, Scotland or the USA. So far in 2017, 26 foreign students have already arrived or are scheduled to arrive in Germany for an internship semester. "I'm learning skills for life here," said one of the Canadian interns and another from Scotland added, "Taking part in this programme was definitely an excellent choice." Students from Canada, Scotland and the USA are currently spending part of their practical training either in the Furtwangen University labs or in companies in the region which include: Bosch Sensortec, the ThyssenKrupp Elevator Testing Tower in Rottweil or the Institute for Technical Medicine. Depending on the degree taken, the focus is on engineering or medical technology.
The students at the annual get-together all praised the incredibly friendly reception they have received at the placements and the interesting insights into research and development they have gained. The companies are also happy with the FiPS students. They can give their employees an opportunity to practice their English in their daily work, they can find out about other training standards and also in the ideal case, they can recruit international staff. The German students who will have the chance to go to Canada and Scotland next semester, use the opportunity to make some contacts.
FiPS Partner Universities
The FiPS project, headed up by Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Kukral and in place since 2004, coordinates internships in Baden-Württemberg for foreign students from particular partner universities. In return, HFU students receive tuition-free study places which would normally cost between €5,000 and €10,000 per semester. The programme is very popular abroad. The latest partner in the FiPS programme is the Western Carolina University in Cullowhee (North Carolina, USA), which can be seen as a kind of "Furtwangen in the Smoky Mountains". The programme began with exchanges with the Canadian University of New Brunswick. Later further partnerships were set up with the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown (Canada), the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute (Indiana, USA), and since 2015, the University of Glasgow (Scotland).