Martina Brüderle

Martina Brüderle

Hochschulreferat Internationale Angelegenheiten

Der Vizepräsident überreicht der Ministerin ein Willkommensgeschenk (Image: Heike Fischer / FH Köln)

Hosting Institution

Are you expecting an international guest scholar at your institution, or would you like to host a guest scholar? The International Scholar Services (ISS) will provide you with advice about your plan to host a guest scholar and will help you organize the stay.

There are some things to consider and organize when hosting international scholars.The ISS are glad to give you advice and help you with your plan. However, you make the decision about hosting the guest scholar and are responsible for their stay since you are the inviting host in the institution.

The International Scholar Services will give you and your guest advice about the following topics:

  • Invitation and invitation letter
  • Signing an agreement about the guest stay
  • Financing options
  • Visa process and residence law
  • Questions about insurance coverage
  • Looking for housing
  • Public transport
  • Staying as a family (information on childcare/ school registration, etc.)
  • Formalities upon arrival (residence registration, opening a bank account, applying for a residence permit)
  • Offers of the Language Learning Center, the Center for Academic Development, the library & other institutions at TH Köln
  • Questions about everyday life in Cologne and Germany

We offer the following services for your guest scholars:

  • Help with looking for accommodation (with a lead time of at least 3 months without a guarantee that accommodation can be found for the guest scholars)
  • Welcome package including a MultiCa, campusID, library access, email address, informational material about TH Köln and its programs as well as checklists of formalities after arrival/ before departure
  • Setting up a telephone number (if needed)
  • Welcome and orientation at TH Köln
  • Excursions in the area and networking opportunities with other guest scholars

Please inform us as early as possible about the arrival of your guest scholar, but no later than 6 weeks before your guest arrives so that access to the university and documents can be provided in a timely manner. Your guest should contact us 3-6 months before the beginning of the stay for help with looking for housing.

Your duties for hosting guest scholars

+ Before their Stay

  • Obtain consent/ notify the institute management and the dean's office about the planned stay of the guest scholar
  • Make arrangements at the institute for availability of workplace infrastructure (desk, phone, PC - if needed) as well as access (key card, transponder authorization)
  • Coordinate the circumstances of the stay with the guest (purpose, duration and financing of the stay as well as available infrastructure)
  • Write invitation letter and send it to the guest
  • Inform the International Scholar Services about the planned stay
  • Inform your staff and colleagues at your institution about the plans to host the guest scholar

+ During their Stay

  • Personally welcome the guest after their arrival at the TH, possibly along with the ISS
  • Introduce the guest to the institution
  • Ensure technical and professional assistance and possibly name other points of contact in the institution who can help with organizational concerns
  • Depending on the duration of the stay, regular meetings and feedback sessions should be scheduled with the guest
  • Final meeting before the end of the stay

+ After their Stay

  • Continuation of joint projects or further cultivation of contacts
  • Planning of a possible return visit

Financing options for guest scholars

Would you like to invite guest scholars for a stay at the TH and are looking for financing options?

At this time, TH Köln unfortunately does not offer any funding of its own for hosting guest scholars. However, the Executive Board has provided funds for co-financing DAAD visiting lecturers. There are also other programs from third-party funding providers that can be used to procure financing. The International Scholar Services can help answer your questions about submitting applications.

Stays of foreign company representatives at German universities

Through the Erasmus+ mobility program, German universities have the possibility to invite staff from foreign companies for teaching purposes. In this case, TH Köln covers the mobility costs (travel expenses and per diems) for the stay - a remuneration cannot be offered. Teaching visits should last between at least 2 days for program countries or 5 days for partner countries and 60 days (in each case excluding travel time). There is no minimum teaching load. However, it should be based on a minimum of eight hours per week.

+ Grant rates

In 2020, the uniform daily rate for mobilities to Germany (Incoming) up to the 14th day of stay is 160 EUR . From the 15th to the 60th funding day of staff mobility, the funding corresponds to 70% of the daily rate. In addition to the daily rates, travel costs are calculated according to the distance between the origin and destination of the mobility. The following amounts are reimbursed per stay and depending on the distance:

10 - 99 km 20 EUR
100 - 499 km 180 EUR
500 - 1.999 km 275 EUR
2.000 - 2.999 km 360 EUR
3.000 - 3.999 km 530 EUR
4.000 - 7.999 km 820 EUR
8.000 km and more 1.500 EUR

If you are interested in inviting employees from a foreign company or organization, please contact Ms. Brüderle.

Information for assisting guest scholars

Here you can find useful tips and information for assisting your international guests:

+ Plan sufficient time

Please bear in mind that it takes time to assist a guest scholar, especially if your guest has never been to Germany before and does not speak the German language. In cases like this, guests need more help orienting themselves at the university and in Germany. The International Scholar Services will help you with the initial orientation. However, you should be available and approachable to your guest, especially in the initial phase.

You can also provide one of your experienced staff members or colleagues as an additional point of contact for your guest to provide quick informal help from colleague to colleague. However, please also note that in many cultures hierarchies and status play an important role, and the guest may be disappointed or irritated if you provide them a person with a lower rank as their only point of contact if you yourself are not available.

You should have regular meetings with your guest scholars even after the initial adjustment phase to stay in contact and prevent problems.

+ Create a welcoming culture

Welcome your guest scholars in person. Introduce your guests to your colleagues and staff at your institute, and integrate them into the faculty.

Also, make your colleagues and staff aware in advance that a guest scholar with a different cultural background will be in your institute, and let them know that they should treat the guest scholar with openness, understanding and tolerance.

Definitely help your guest become familiar with their new surroundings quickly, and help them feel comfortable. This creates trust and increases the quality of collaboration. Invite your guest to go to the cafeteria with you, to drink coffee with colleagues and involve your guest in the activities at your institute. Also, make your guest aware of interesting events at the university or outside of the university.

We Germans like to separate our professional and personal lives, but you could exchange a few personal words sometimes and also give ideas for leisure activities for people who have newly arrived in Cologne. You can also leave your comfort zone and find an opportunity to show your guest around Cologne or the area, or you can also invite them to a meal outside of the university. Regardless of how you go about it, your guest will definitely appreciate it.

+ Clarify expectations

At the beginning of the stay, it is important to talk with the guest scholars about your mutual expectations for the stay. Ask your guests what their expectations for their stay are and explain your own expectations. This can provide a good basis for collaboration during the stay, mutual goals can be agreed upon and misunderstandings can be prevented.

It may also be helpful to have regular feedback sessions to ensure that the stay is satisfactory for all participants.

+ Give consideration to cultural differences

When communicating and collaborating with international guest scholars, it is important to be aware that many aspects of our ways of thinking and working are influenced by our culture. Things we Germans take for granted are not necessarily things that our colleagues take for granted who grew up in another cultural environment and vice versa. Especially in our professional lives, there are some typical German behaviors that we regard as “virtues.” However, outsiders may interpret them in a completely different way.

Martina Brüderle

Martina Brüderle

Hochschulreferat Internationale Angelegenheiten