AMU students who participate in foreign language courses offered by the AMU Foreign Language Teaching Centre can be involved in international collaboration projects. The AMU Foreign Language Teaching Centre instructors develop their skills in various European institutions, and share their knowledge and skills with their students. International projects which last 6–12 weeks aim at the use of foreign languages and soft skills in practice outside of a classroom in conversations with peers from different countries who study in similar or entirely different disciplines. It is a form of internationalisation at home. Most often students work in small international groups supported by their instructors, searching for information, analysing and comparing various aspects of life (specify problems which occur in their countries and search for solutions to them). The key premise of all projects is creative collaboration and reflection. The projects conclude with the preparation of a collaborative piece of work (e.g. a blog, a video, a website, online exhibitions, infographics, presentations, educational social media accounts) which present the conclusions of the group and/or individual solutions to problematic issues.

1. COIL – Collaborative Online International Learning – 23 projects were finalised from 2019 to 2022 in total and several new projects are planned for spring 2023.

a) Types of COIL:

  • Projects integrated into language courses – semester-long projects (10 finalised)
  • Independent projects – funded by the University of Tomorrow project (12 finalised)
  • Surplus tokens projects – for students who received the Language Proficiency Certificate (1 finalised)
  • Erasmus + Blended Intensive Programme (BIP) – projects combining international collaboration online with a visit and collaboration at the partner university (2 projects planned for spring 2023)
  • EPICUR – projects designed for 9 universities of the European University Alliance  (first project planned for spring 2023)
  • Mirror lessons – during which teachers from partner universities exchange classes and conduct several chosen intercultural lessons (there are two active international teams)

b)  Partner universities:

Belgium (1 university) - L'école Pratique des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, Brussels

Finland (1 university) - Jyväskylä University

France (1 university) - l'Université de Haute Alsace, l'Institut Universitaire de Technologie de Mulhouse

Spain (5 universities) - Universidad de Burgos; Universidad La Coruna; Universidad de Leon; Universidad de Lleida; Universidad de Sevilla

Holland (1 university) - University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht

Lithuania (1 university) - Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas

Germany (1 university) - Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Sweden (1 university) - Malmo University

Hungary (2 universities) - Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; Budapest Business School

Argentina (1 university) - Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Buenos Aires

Mexico (3 universities) - Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior, Mexicali, Baja; Universidad Iberoamericana Torreón; Universidad de La Salle, Mexico City

Peru (1 university) - Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicada, Lima

USA (1 university) - Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan

c)  Examples of COIL project themes:

  • ICT and Business:
    • Job application process on the global market
    • Principles of economics in the fashion industry
    • Crossing borders - Information Communication Technology and culture promotion
  • Environmental Studies:
    • UN Sustainable Development Goals: how can we contribute to reach them
    • Achieving Sustainable Development Goals: global problems and local solutions
    • Animal versus human influence on climate change
    • My sustainable university environment
  • Geography and Tourism:
    • A tale of two cities told in videos
    • Understanding tourists needs and motivations
    • Reading the city: urban culture and global issues
    • City break in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Pandemic dialogue: global issues and local realities
    • Towards a more sustainable future - new trends in tourism
  • Languages and Literature:
    • How to use poetry in language teaching - English/Spanish translation training
    • Female characters in Spanish and Polish tales
  • Culture and Society:
    • Comparison of historical and socio-cultural aspects of life in Poland and Peru
    • Pop culture in Poland and Mexico: characteristic manifestations
    • Understanding Polish and Mexican culture through media
    • Festivals and festivities in Poland and Spain

Students' opinions:

First of all, I've learned to cooperate in an international team. [...] Moreover, it was a good opportunity to improve my English language because I had many opportunities to speak. Actually I didn’t speak English very often, only once a week in my english classes. [..] It is a beautiful feeling when you know that you can get along with almost anyone. I also learned about new online tools that are extremely useful and I will certainly use them in the future. I also learned new information about my partners' cities. The most interesting in these cities was the contrast between them. [...] I'm really happy with the benefits I have derived from participating in this project. (Polish student 2020)

I've [...] learnt that even if there are some adversities, you can't give up. There is always a solution. [...] It is thanks to the problems that arise and are encountered along the way that we can really gain something. (Polish student 2020)

Although this project has made me think of how privileged Sweden is, it has also made me think of how we often tend to think less of other countries outside Scandinavia, and this Virtual Exchange has really made me become aware of this “one sided story” [...] For example, the controverisal abortion law in Poland, or the ecnomical issues in Argentina. Obviously, these issues do not define these countries [...] This Virtual Exchange helped to break those preconceptions. When working together in an international setting, it’s easier to see your own country from a different  perspective as well. (Swedish student 2020)

This crossing of perspectives is extremely rich because it is where the cultural differences are found, what is the norm for one country, is not for the other [and] our economic realities are very different. Thus, proposals that looked very viable in Poland and Sweden ... we thought that in Argentina with 40% of the population below the poverty line, they are nothing more than a dream. Finally, we agreed to target sustainable fashion since clothing is something that connects the three countries and we agreed on different details of the campaign. (Argentinian student 2020)

I feel free to think creatively to try new things and fail without the fear of consequences. I feel more flexible and adaptable to changing conditions, I learned to work in an international team, despite the cultural differences, I am able to effectively achieve my goals, I am able to react faster in case of crisis situations, I think my english is now definitely more fluent. (Polish student 2021)

During our first video conference, I wasn't really able to talk with the other students so it was good that I had the chance to do it in the end. I think I felt some sort of unity with everyone. It’s very hard to explain it but in the end it really felt like a virtual exchange. It was funny how I felt a bit emotional after every last meeting.[...]  I think that’s something I learned that you can create real connections even if you’ve never met the person face-to-face. (Finnish student 2020)

The last week is over! How sad. I had the last team meeting with the „Big Hero 6“ family. We had quite a nice chat and I felt how our relationships to each other had changed over the last six weeks. We were able to have normal conversations about daily life, laugh together, but also be critical and work together. We all decided to keep in touch and maybe even meet each other one day! We definitely want to hold another meeting and drink some beers together, according to our video guide we created. (Dutch student 2020)