Press & Communication

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Getting off a good start

Ensuring that international students are well prepared for their studies at the University of Oldenburg and supporting them while they are studying are the goals of the international study entry phase INSTEP. The programme has been in place since 2021. It builds on the courses and structures created by the University in the context of its Orientation Year for Refugees scheme. This new programme is aimed at all international students who want to or have already taken up regular studies at the university. It includes language courses, workshops on topics such as writing scientific papers, subject-specific courses organised by the different faculties, intercultural training, and counselling.

INSTEP is divided into two phases. In the first phase the university offers language courses which are tailored to the specific requirements of university studies. These courses prepare participants for the exam they sit to acquire the language certificate that entitles them to study at a German university. They can also attend the workshops offered by the Study and Career Counselling Service (ZSKB) and introductory courses at the faculties. These courses are currently aimed at prospective students interested in applying for degree programmes taught in German. In the second phase, international students have access to workshops and counselling services during their studies. Some of these are already available in English and there are plans to offer more such courses and services in the future, programme coordinator Liehmann explains. The goal is also to boost the overall academic performance of international students.

To promote intercultural competences and “internationalization at home”, an extension of the programme aimed at German students called be.INSTEP has also been launched. Participants can take special modules on teaching intercultural or language skills and receive credit points for professional qualification in this area. The tutors who complete the programme assist fellow international students, for example by helping them to learn German or to get settled in the new environment and culture.

The INSTEP programme is run by the International Office and the Language Centre in collaboration with the Studies and Teaching Department, the Admissions Office and the Study and Career Counselling Service.


Clara Liehmann

Language Center

+49 441 798-2697  (F&P)

  • Portrait photo of Esra Yasin, Bachelor student at the University of Oldenburg.

    Esra Yasin has lived in Germany for four years and wants to become a primary school teacher. In order to be able to study at the University of Oldenburg, she attended language courses for international students and obtained the relevant certificates. Photo: University of Oldenburg/Mohssen Assanimoghaddam

A new start in Oldenburg

Around 1,900 students started their studies this autumn – many with the goal of becoming a teacher. What most of them take for granted is special for Esra Yasin, who is starting her Bachelor’s degree in teaching. Below, she explains why.

Around 1,900 students started their studies at the University this autumn – many with the goal of becoming a teacher. What most of them take for granted is something very special for Esra Yasin, who is starting her Bachelor’s degree in teaching here. Below, she explains why.

I dream of teaching German – even though German is not my mother tongue. I come from Turkey and taught history there. But my husband and I had to leave our home country for political reasons, so we fled across the sea to Greece in a boat with our two small children.

My family and I have been living in Germany for four years now. In the beginning we lived in a refugee camp near Hanover. After a short time in Oldenburg we moved to Wymeer in the district of Leer. We lived there for three years and felt at home there. I attended language courses at the adult education centre and our children went to kindergarten and primary school.

But both I and my husband, who is a maths teacher, wanted to go back to teaching. I’m passionate about teaching. But my degree as a history teacher is not recognized here – also because after graduating I worked at a private school and didn’t do a postgraduate traineeship. That's why I decided to study again. We looked for a university where my husband could earn a degree to teach a second subject at secondary school and I could study to become a primary school teacher. That's how we came to Oldenburg. Because here you can do both.

After a long search, we found a flat near the campus. I took a B2 language course at the university in which I learned a lot about scientific writing and speaking. The teachers were very nice and well-prepared. They taught me a lot. Then in the summer semester I took the C1 course, which, like the B2 course, is part of the INSTEP programme. I needed my language certificate before July 15th to be able to apply to study. I worked hard and spent a lot of time in the library. I also took a pronunciation course. That was very helpful, but also difficult.

In addition to the language courses, I also attended lectures in German Studies as a guest student. I wanted to get an idea of what studying here is like. I didn't know the difference between seminars and lectures, for example. Now I know. And in Istanbul all the lectures for history students were held in the same building. Here there are many different buildings and students have to walk around the campus a lot.

Now I’m enrolled and beginning my studies for a degree in teaching German and general studies at primary school. I like teaching schoolchildren, learning from the children while teaching. A good knowledge of German is essential for this task, so I want to study German studies and master all aspects of the language.

I also find it helpful that I have a migration background. Germany is an immigration country; there are many foreign schoolchildren here. I did practical training at a primary school in Weener. There was a pupil from Romania who was just as tongue-tied as I was. I knew exactly how she felt. If I manage to become a teacher here, it will not just be for me, but also for Germany.”

Written down by Constanze Böttcher

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