Lisa Malmheden may be from Sweden, but she still teaches German to her fellow students enrolled in the English track of the Master’s programme at the IPU Berlin, as well as organising intercultural events. For her extraordinary commitment, which she provides as a volunteer, she was awarded the German Academic Exchange Service’s award for foreign students and postgraduates.
Ms Malmheden’s German courses are open to Master’s students from around the globe who study at the IPU with her. She teaches her courses at two different levels of difficulty (A1/2 and B1/2). Her work has been entirely voluntary and she clearly enjoys herself as she introduces her classmates to the basics of the German language. But not only does she bring enthusiasm to the classroom, she’s also a skilled teacher and has a profound knowledge of the language. The university’s International Office audited her lectures and was thrilled to confirm this, even though her mother tongue is not even German. She acquired her impressive linguistic proficiency at the University of Würzburg, where she completed her Bachelor’s degree.
Besides teaching in the traditional classroom setting, Ms Malmheden took her students on regular excursions, like to a Christmas market or to restaurants, to give them opportunities to practise their newly learned language skills in everyday situations. She also supported her fellow international students in dealing with administrative tasks that require knowledge of the German language, such as trips to the public authorities or finding an apartment.
The STIBET award honours excellency in volunteering by international students at German universities. As part of the GAES Scholarship and Support Programme (STIBET), the prize is endowed with €1,000 and acknowledges innovative individual measures that help to improve support for foreign students.