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Von Joseph Iannelli | 11.08.2022
The internationalization efforts at TU Graz, Washington State University (WSU) and like-minded university partners focus on graduating globally minded students for leadership in globalized societies. (Source: Lunghammer – TU Graz)

Joseph Iannelli from Washington State University (WSU) visited Graz, Austria, to expand the Student Exchange Agreement between WSU and TU Graz. In this blog post he writes about Austrian hospitality, internationalization commitments and student exchanges.

What else could I say? Since my first visit to Graz University of Technology (TU Graz), towards the end of 2017, when I served as Associate Dean for International Engineering programs for WSU’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, you have all graciously welcomed me continuously as a peer and friend, in the most delightful Austrian hospitality, enriched by local culinary treats and a visit to the incomparable Graz Schlossberg. These visits are always memorable. Von Herzen, ich danke Ihnen so sehr.

I have been impressed with the internationalization commitment of TU Graz and the enthusiasm of Graz colleagues towards providing students with formative and enriching international experiences, a credit to the TU Graz administration and faculties and the leadership of TU Graz’s International Office.

Exchange students of TU Graz on the Pullman campus of Washington State University (WSU). Source: Iannelli – WSU

Preparing Students for Leadership in Globalized Societies

The integration of quality academic programs with internationalization excitement can only yield an unparalleled environment to widen our students’ cultural horizons beyond state lines, for education and knowledge transcend geographical boundaries. At the end of the day, as it were, all of our internationalization efforts, at TU Graz, Washington State University (WSU), and like-minded university partners, focus on graduating globally minded students for leadership in globalized societies. That is one of our cherished objectives.

TU Graz maintains active partnerships with six excellent international universities. These make it possible to develop close networks on all levels of the university. To learn more please visit the website "International Cooperation Ventures".

Student Exchange Agreement between WSU and TU Graz

So, Washington State University and TU Graz have been excited to sign an institutional reciprocal student exchange agreement, through which WSU welcomed outstanding TU Graz students on the Pullman campus, see pictures, and TU Graz similarly welcomed WSU students. Our two universities then benefitted from a number of ERASMUS+ fellowships, which undeniably provided additional incentives for students to participate in the exchange between our two universities.  It has been a pleasure to return to TU Graz a few days ago, in my new capacity of university-wide Education & Research Liaison to European Universities.

Switch to the website “Mobility Programmes” to find out how you can go about spending time at TU Graz as a mobility student.

Enthusiasm towards Internationalization

As my morning train entered the Graz Hauptbahnhof (Graz Central Station), I felt as though I had returned to my second home away from home, for the Austrian and Styrian culture, history, and traditions fascinate me.  During this visit, I have been excited to experience an even higher level of enthusiasm toward internationalization, likely prompted by relaxed Covid-19 restrictions, and interest from various TU Graz faculties and students towards cooperation with WSU. Course mappings in Engineering and several Natural Science programs promise to increase the number of students we may exchange in both directions.

Student Exchanges and Student Research Projects

We may then combine these exchanges with student research projects, which may qualify WSU and TU Graz to apply for substantial U.S. funding to support students. The joint supervision of students’ projects would then further support the collaboration among WSU and TU Graz colleagues. Internships on both sides of the Atlantic for teams of Austrian and U.S. students with multinational corporations that successfully operate in Austria and the U.S. can further elevate the preparation of our students to lead in multicultural societies and, most importantly, widen opportunities for peace, harmony, and understanding among different heritages.  I am certain that, together, TU Graz and WSU can contribute to advance educational, research, and service programs at the international level, more effectively than allowed by the resources of any single institution. And, yes, WSU will be the first U.S. university to offer a course on the Austrian Online Education Platform IMoox. I have begun planning one, it’s entitled: “Mission to Mars”. What will it cover? You’ll find out soon, on IMoox! After boarding my overnight train at the Graz Hauptbahnhof, I was happy with having had the pleasure of seeing again the colleagues and friends I have known for five years, meeting new TU Graz colleagues, and participating in delightfully productive meetings. As the train was pulling out of the station, I realized that I look forward again to returning to beautiful Graz. Ganz liebe Grüße.

Switch to the website "Living in Graz for Students" if you are interested in entry requirements, accomodation, tipps for yur leisure time and the city of Graz.

Joseph Iannelli is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and also serves as an Education and Research Liaison to European Universities at Washington State University (WSU).
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