How it all began…
…nobody quite remembers, to be honest. The Arbeitskreis (literally: “work circle”) Erasmus – usually abbreviated as AK (Erasmus) – was founded sometime around the year 1990 as a working group of the Department of Economical Sciences at what back then was still called the “Technical University of Karlsruhe”. However, the AK soon became a “Hochschulgruppe” (student association) open for all students in Karlsruhe. In 2008, we officially joined the ESN (Erasmus Student Network) which had been founded independently around the same time as the AK, making us part of one of the largest student networks in the world!
What the AK Erasmus is about
The AK Erasmus is basically dedicated to two main fields: First of all, we want to make life easier for all the international students coming to Karlsruhe every semester through various exchange programs, most notably ERASMUS+, but really we are here for everybody! To help people get started with their stay abroad, we organize the “Internationale O-Phase” (international orientation week) twice a year in collaboration with KIT’s official International Students’ Office (IStO). During the course of the semester, we continue our service to the international community of Karlsruhe by offering exciting and affordable parties, city trips and other events. For example, every Tuesday we organize an Internationaler Stammtisch (international get-together) in changing locations around Karlsruhe. We also have a Buddy-Program, where we aim at bringing international students and locals closer together. Short and sweet, we consider it our mission to make sure all international students experience an unforgettable time in Karlsruhe!
Our other field of action is offering consultation to German students who want to go abroad. Whether you are having troubles with the forms for Erasmus, or just want to know if there has ever been anyone taking a certain course at a certain university, we’ve probably got you covered: We’ve got a big database of former exchange students, and many of us have personal experiences with going abroad, meaning we probably have to answers to most of your questions – or at least know whom you should turn to! Just stop by during one of our regular office hours!
The structure of the AK
Our internal structure is quite simple actually. We are a group of about 30 students, both Germans and international students, and people put in as much work as they like (or have time for) into the AK and its cause. Formally, we also have a board with three chairmen and a treasurer, but they don’t have special privileges: We are a very democratic organization, and everything we do is discussed during our weekly meetings.
How to join us
None of this would be possible without the voluntary work of the AK’s members, who are regular students just like you. So if all this sounded interesting, or if you would just like to learn more about us, why don’t you just stop by during one of our regular meetings? 🙂
During the semester, we usually meet every Tuesday at 7:30 pm. As we already said, everybody can join us – and yes, that explicitly includes international students! Since our new office is no longer big enough to host our meetings, we usually meet in room 005 in KIT building 50.20 (“Alte Kinderklinik”), or — if the weather is nice — on the lawn in front of the building. If you are not sure how to find us or if we are having a meeting that week, you can of course always contact us at info [ät] ak [minus] erasmus [dot] de — sorry for the inconvenience here, but we already get way too much spam :/
Oh, and by the way, if the arguments above did not convince you yet: At our meetings we also have cold beer, and the first one is always free 😉