The DAAD award is conferred for exceptional achievements and social and intercultural engagement of international students. This year, the award goes to Maria Mikhaylova from Russia, who is studying the undergraduate law programme as well as the double LLM programme in German and Russian Law. Before joining the University of Passau, she completed her bachelor's degree at the Siberian Federal University Krasnoyarsk (SibFU), one of Passau's partner institutions, attaining the top grade. She also achieved top marks for the Certificate in Principles of German Law, which she gained at the University of Passau.
Ms Mikhaylova's social and intercultural engagement within and outside the university is remarkable: While enrolled in the law programme at SibFU, Ms Mikhaylova has, since 2014, taught constitutional law in an honorary capacity as part of SibFU's DAAD-funded university summer course on Russian Law. Furthermore, she has worked as an interpreter at a bilingual international conference and as a tutor for the German exchange students at SibFU. In 2014, she participated in the selection procedure for the Russo-German law prize by contributing a comparative law article and participated in simulated German-language legal proceedings similar to a moot court.
In Germany, while studying towards her degree, Ms Mikhaylova participated in the intercultural DAAD programme 'Europa macht Schule', where she organised and carried out a project together with 12th-grade pupils from FOS/BOS Passau in which she presented her home country.
In the past two years, Ms Mikhaylova has been active in the Katholischer Deutscher Frauenbund (an organisation for the promotion of women's interests) in the town of Straßkirchen, where she helps with visiting patients, lenten meals and holiday programmes for school pupils.
The award will be presented by the Vice President for International Relations, Professor Ursula Reutner.
271 international students from 29 countries
This winter semester, the University welcomes 271 new international students from 29 countries. France, Italy, Hungary, Argentina, Spain and Russia are particularly strongly represented. This number does not yet include those who come to study here on special DAAD or other organisations' scholarships to study for an academic year, semester or for a doctoral degree.
The welcome reception is held as part of the 'Orientation Weeks', which the University organises specifically for its international students, and which run from 25 September to 15 October.
The programme comprises intensive German language courses as well as guided tours of the campus and the library in German, English and Russian. Various joint activities held during the Orientation Weeks allow students to acquaint themselves with German culture and people. These include an international dodgeball match, a company visit to the BMW plant in Dingolfing, a guided tour of the castle museum and trips to the Bavarian Forest, Berlin and the Bavarian Alps.