• 4/26/2024
  • Reading time 4 min.

TUM Global Week, May 13–17 2024

“Contacts in other countries are invaluable”

TUM is colorful and diverse: over 40% of its students are international and every semester up to 1,000 exchange students come from all over the world. You can experience this internationality during Global Week. We spoke to Matthias Decarli, President of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) TUMi, in the run-up to the event.

TUM student Matthias Decarli has just taken part in an international conference in Seville. Alphar
"The Erasmus Generation": TUM student Matthias Decarli has just taken part in an international conference in Seville.

As the president of Erasmus Student Network (ESN) TUMi München e.V., you work to improve the experience of international students at TUM. What motivates you to take on this role?

This volunteer commitment gives me something back. I can make a difference and bring about changes that benefit others in the long term. Sometimes it’s only small things, for example a cool event that we can host. But it can also extend up to major activities such as our role in shaping the next generation of the Erasmus+ program. We are now helping to develop recommendations that will be escalated to the EU Commission. Generations of students will benefit.

TUM Global Week 2024

Join us from May 13 to 17! During the eventful week, you can find out about the many opportunities for international exchange and global engagement offered by TUM and its partners.

So you’re thinking far into the future?

At a recent conference in Seville I heard a very fitting statement: “You’re never too young to think about the generation that will come after you.” I really like that idea.

In the spring of 2022 you had your own Erasmus+ experience in Stockholm. What did you learn?

How different universities can be. The social life of the students there is completely different. Stockholm and Munich are both expensive cities to live in. Students don’t go out a lot. But every student association has rooms with their own bars that serve as a social hub. The students get together more.

Here, like in Stockholm, student clubs are an important part of social life.

There is still room for improvement at TUM. Here the focus is obviously more on the technically-oriented student clubs. But I think that the social clubs are important, too. They are still underrepresented at TUM. But they can teach students so much – team management skills, how to train people, how to share knowledge and motivation and much more.

Why is it a good idea for students to spend time abroad?

Contact with large numbers of students from other countries offers enormous benefits. You realize that all of our ideas, dreams and visions transcend national boundaries. At the same time, you learn how other people think. In many situations, that can help in finding new and creative solutions. It enriches your mind. And what’s more: you learn for the first time to be truly independent, especially socially.

What would you say to people who worry about wasting time if they spend a year abroad?

Although Germany is not among the leaders in terms of recognizing ECTS, we are getting better. I think that it is very important to understand: an exchange is not only about picking up credits. You also gain experience and friends for life.  

How much time do you put into your volunteer commitment for international students?

Sometimes it’s five hours per week. Sometimes it can be up to 60. Before the start of lectures we just had two weeks of “Orientation days”. We welcome the visiting students and show them Munich at its culture as they get started here. An area where there is room for improvement is the contact with local students. So far the groups tend to stick together a bit too much.

TUM Global Week from May 13th to 17th is probably a great opportunity to meet people?

At Global Week we want to present the huge diversity we have at TUM and the many things we have to offer. We also want to show people how cool it is to go abroad during their studies. We want to promote academic mobility in general. Erasmus+ is not only for student exchanges. It also offers opportunities for staff members and lecturers to go to another EU country.

The week will be kicked off with the Global Experiences Festival. What will happen there?

At the Global Experiences Festival there will be many booths where students from all over the world will present their countries, culture, home towns and universities. People interested in spending time abroad can learn about the possibilities. There will be food and music from lots of different countries. It’s going to be a diverse and lively festival. Everyone is invited.

Further information and links
  • Matthias Decarli (25) comes from Neumarkt, south of Bolzano. As an Italian in South Tyrol, he grew up at the boundary between two very different cultures.
  • He is studying automotive engineering at the TUM School of Engineering and Design in Garching and is about to start his master’s thesis. He plans to study the electrification of tractors in Africa.
  • Matthias Decarli has served as the president of ESN TUMi München e.V. for two years. In that role he has just returned from an international conference in Seville on “Removing barriers for active and equal participation in the field of academic mobility”.
  • At the end of 2023 Decarli received the DAAD award for outstanding work on behalf of international students.
  •  The Global Experiences Festival on May 13th will mark the start of TUM Global Week 2024. It will continue until May 17th.

Technical University of Munich

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