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Virginia Tech, the state of Virginia’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, will host and deliver the German Fulbright Student Summer Institute from July 26, 2019 to August 19, 2019 on its main campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.

This three-week Summer Institute is offered through a grant awarded to Virginia Tech, through its Cranwell International Center, by the German-American Fulbright Commission, and is designed for 24 undergraduate students from Germany’s Universities of Applied Sciences.

The Summer Institute includes a unique and innovative core academic component offered through Virginia Tech’s Center for Communicating Science, along with a number of experiential co-curricular site visits and extra-curricular activities designed to build on the academic component and to otherwise provide opportunities for students to engage with the local community in a variety of venues – from tubing down the New River to touring Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, and much more!

As a university, and as a society, we are increasingly aware of the fact that the most urgent challenges facing us are unfathomably complex, large, and interconnected – “wicked problems” (Kolko, 2012). These challenges cannot be addressed by individuals or by traditional competitive means. They require communication and collaboration skills that allow new approaches and new systems to be developed. Effective communication and true collaboration help individuals and societies to create new paradigms rather than revisiting old and failing structures.

The next generation of scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, health professionals, and other workers must be able to communicate more effectively about their work in a variety of contexts, and in our increasingly global society the ability to connect and communicate across differences of many kinds is essential.

The ability to communicate directly and vividly can enhance career prospects for the next generation of scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, health professionals, and other workers, helping them secure funding, collaborate across disciplines, compete for positions, and serve as effective teachers, supervisors, and mentors.

Thus, the focus of the Summer Institute will be to develop participant's communication, collaboration, and connection skills across differences and disciplines


The Summer Institute is designed to be a transformational experience for the German Fulbright students, as well as the faculty and staff who will teach, serve, and learn alongside of the students on a daily basis for three weeks, both inside and outside the classroom. The overarching goals are for the students to:

  • Enhance their knowledge of the United States and the US system of higher education;
  • Experience academic life and studies on an American campus;
  • Engage with the American tradition of interdisciplinary and/or general education courses;
  • Expand their intercultural competencies; and
  • Develop their English language proficiency.

Students will leave with:

  • A stronger command of the English language; a better understanding of US higher education; a deeper understanding of US culture;
  • An increased confidence in their ability to communicate across disciplines and differences;
  • A commitment to continuing to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for communicating, collaborating, and connecting across disciplines and differences; and
  • A number of new personal and professional relationships that will last a lifetime.


On successful completion of the Communicating Science course, students will be able to:

  • Speak spontaneously and effectively to others about their disciplinary focus; Speak personally about their disciplinary focus;
  • Apply theories of performance and improvisation within the context of technical communication;
  • Distinguish and respond to indicators of audience comprehension and attentiveness; and
  • Respond effectively in both individual and group interactions.

Students will stay on campus in traditional-style rooms in the West Ambler Johnston (West AJ) residence hall.

All rooms are equipped with the following:

  • Two extra-long twin size beds (36" x 80") 
  • Two sheets, two towels, a washcloth, a pillow, and a pillowcase for each guest if requested by the sponsor
  • Coin-operated laundry facilities in residence halls
  • Vending areas available in residence halls
  • Central air conditioning
  • Restrooms separated by gender, with a sink and vanity in all rooms

More information is available on the Guests section of the Conference & Guest Services website. And Cranwell International Center will provide students with detailed information and instructions specific to the German Fulbright Student Summer Institute well in advance of arrival.


Students will have a dining plan that provides three meals per day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) at one of the on-campus dining facilities, D2 in Dietrick Hall. D2 is a buffet-style, all-you-care-to-eat dining facility featuring eight food shops/stations. There will also be special events where meals will be provided off-campus.


Round-trip transportation from the airport to Virginia Tech is provided, along with transportation to all scheduled co-curricular site visits and extra-curricular activities.