Vice President Ursula Reutner said: 'The University of Malaga is one of our oldest partner universities, and our partnership goes back 28 years. To celebrate our long-standing and intense co-operation, we travelled to Malaga as six-strong delegation comprised of professors and administrative staff.'
The partnership agreement, concluded in 1987, paved the ground for student and lecturer exchange as well as close co-operation on research projects and publications. At first predominantly maintained by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, the partnership soon grew to include more subjects and faculties, so that our two universities today have Erasmus agreements in language-related degree programmes, art education and in the areas of media, computer science, business and economics. Since 2009, the University of Passau has been offering the B.A. European Studies Major programme, which receives funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and involves a one-year stay at a partner university abroad. Universidad de Málaga is a key partner in this programme. Moreover, in the related master's programme, the M.A. European Studies, students from Passau and Malaga even have a double degree option, allowing them to gain both a German and a Spanish master's degree. About 20 to 30 students go on one of the various exchange programmes every year.
The talks in Malaga centred on maintaining existing links but also touched on setting up new initiatives. Although Malaga continues to be a highly popular destination for Passavian students, interest in Passau from the Spanish side has been waning for some time. According to Vice President Pedro Farias Battle, the reason for the decline in interest in studying in Germany is the lack of German language skills among Spanish students. Upon learning of this, Professor Carola Jungwirth and Professor Ilia Polian, of the Faculty of Business Administration and Economics and the Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematics respectively, told of the degree programmes at the two faculties which can be entirely or mostly studied in English. Additionally, Vice President Ursula Reutner informed the Spanish hosts of German Courses Passau, a unit of the University that offers a number of preparatory German language courses to international students. The GCP courses range from summer courses to a full 'Academic German Year'. The individual talks between professors and department heads from both universities have shown keen interest on both sides in expanding co-operation, particularly in the area of computer science and concerning the planned English-taught Master's programme M.Sc. Mobile and Embedded Systems.
A guided campus tour and reception in the City Hall rounded off the delegation visit. 'The town partnership between Passau and Malaga, which also dates back to 1987, has always been a strong driver for co-operation between our two universities,' Vice President Reutner explained. 'For the next visit from Malaga, we would like to invite our Spanish guests to the University as a thank-you for the wonderful hospitality we experienced in Malaga and the cordial reception we were given by Mayor Francisco de la Torre Prados.'