| International

"Strangers Become Friends" Initiative to be Continued

The "Strangers Become Friends" (Fremde werden Freunde) initiative of the University of Erfurt, Erfurt University of Applied Sciences, the City of Erfurt and the project organiser MitMenschen e.V. will be continued. The partners have now signed a cooperation agreement to this effect.

The project, in which people from Erfurt and the surrounding area take on sponsorships for international students at Erfurt's universities, supporting and accompanying them during their studies in Erfurt, was launched in 2002 and enables an exciting cultural exchange between the participants. More than 2000 students from over 100 countries and a good 300 sponsors – mostly entire families – have taken part so far.

But even two decades after the start of "Strangers Become Friends", there is no shortage of good ideas for further project work. For example, cooperation with the regional economy is to be further expanded, as the students also bring potential skilled workers to Thuringia, who are urgently needed in the Free State.

And, of course, the personal touch of the project is also to be retained. After all, the sponsors are often a kind of surrogate family for the students far away from home. They help with learning the German language or solving a problem. Joint activities such as cooking together, celebrating or going on excursions have allowed the participants to grow into a small "family" over the past few years. Many of them remain in close contact even after the students have left Erfurt.

Anyone who is curious about the project has the opportunity to take on a sponsorship again in 2024. Anyone interested can find out more and register on the website www.fremde-werden-freunde.de or by calling 0361-6700 7090 or emailing fremde-werden-freunde@fh-erfurt.de. We are particularly looking for sponsors who can also speak a bit English. Or you can simply attend the monthly international get-together, which takes place every third Monday of the month in the Havana Bar. In addition, country-specific cooking evenings are organised and joint excursions are planned again, during which the students and their sponsors can discover Thuringia together.