International Centre of the WWU “Die Brücke” - 50th anniversary!

“After returning to their respective home countries, foreign students should be ambassadors of the “Brücke”. The services offered by the “Brücke” are reason enough for the international graduates of Münster University to feel committed to it.”

Dr. Frank Niehammer (vice president of the DIHT 1998-2001, head of the chamber of industry and commerce Frankfurt am Main 1991-2000, member of the committee of immigration 2000-2001, †2005) at the “Brücke” on November 30th 2001 on the occasion of a meeting of international alumni of the Münster University.

Today, universities provide professional and comprehensive support for foreign students as a matter of course. Universities, student unions, student communities and DAAD have established a network concerning broad social and professional support, to provide optimal general conditions for successful academic studies.

Im Café Couleur 

50 years ago, such a service did not exist or there were just inconsiderable approaches. Eleven years after Germany’s exoneration from the National Socialism, the internationalization of universities was not on top of the agenda.

At that time, the administration of Münster University and its president Prof. Dr. Rengsdorf were a bit unusual. In 1956 they took the chance to adopt the “Brücke” as an International Centre for foreign students, which was originally founded by the British as a necessary re-education centre. Due to its offerings of music, newspapers and literature the “Brücke” became very popular among the people of Münster. That was the cornerstone for a lasting career.

At the beginning there was a fluent transition from the British “Brücke” to the academic “International Centre – Die Brücke”. Due to teatimes, folkloric evenings, English discussion groups, movie nights and comprehensive social services the “Brücke” quickly became a second home for foreign students and brought the wide world to the people of Münster and to those in the Nissen huts on the Hindenburgplatz.

The “Studentenrevolte” (student riots) in the late 1960s did not stop at the front doors of the “Brücke”. Along the lines of general student activism, there was a change of activities in the “Brücke”. The foreign students took the chance to distribute information about political grievances and depressions taking place in their respective home countries, in collaboration with German fellow students, who - on their part – denounced the economic exploitation of developing countries as well as the support of their corrupt elite by western countries. The events around the shah’s visit in West Berlin and the strong resistance against the American operations in Vietnam were constitutive experiences. Even later it was a matter of course, that the students took the chance to point out the social and political situations in their respective home countries.

Without denying its tradition and the associated services, today the “Brücke” is a modern and efficient service provided by the university for its foreign students. Due to social counselling, introduction services (“First Contact”), assistance for flat hunting and finances, procurement of key skills, events about regional and German geography and a variety of leisure time facilities, the “Brücke” became an “One-Stop-Agency” for foreign students.

The “Brücke” and its multinational team is well prepared to face the new requirements concerning support and advice, against the background of changing conditions like the “Bologna-resolutions” or tuition fees. The “Brücke” is a vital component for maintaining the internationality of university and city.

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Die Brücke - International Centre of the WWU Münster
Wilmergasse 2
· 48143 Münster

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Tel.: 0251 83-22229 · Fax: 0251 83-22454