Imagine studying abroad in Germany for a year and in a half, partaking in an international internship and becoming fluent in a second language – German. Picture a program that allows students to earn two bachelor degrees in four years. Starting in Fall 2013, the Rollins Dual Degree Program (DDP) offers the opportunity to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in international business from Rollins College and a Bachelor of Science in international management from Reutlingen University in Germany. Over the course of four years, a select few of incoming freshman will participate in this a cross-cultural education to gain global experience and acquire two diverse alumni networks.
“There is no other school in the state of Florida offering an undergraduate, international dual degree program dual international bachelor degree program. Less than five schools in the U.S. offer such a dual degree programs in with Germany. This is a unique opportunity to differentiate Rollins as a leading school in global citizenship,” Associate Professor of International Business, Marc Fetscherin said.
Serving as the faculty coordinator of DDP, Fetscherin pioneered this international opportunity, because it fosters a liberal arts education (i.e. language and culture) and will internationalize the student body. Differing from other pre-professional programs offered through Rollins, DDP molds students into professionals that are marketable on two continents and prepared for challenges in today’s economy.
The program is a relevant fit for Rollins as Florida’s bilateral trade with Germany is around $ 2.6 billion, and Germany invests around $ 4.1 billion in Florida annually. With German companies employing around 22,000 people in Florida, the nation is the largest economy in Europe and 4th largest in the world (after the U.S, China, and Japan).
A select few of incoming freshmen will participate in a cross cultural education.
“Reutlingen University is one of Germany’s top business schools. It has been at the forefront of internationalizing education, starting with dual degree programs in Europe. Now, the university is going global—partnering with other a few schools in the United States,” Fetscherin said.
The selection process is parallel to the 3/2 Accelerated Management Program (AMP); there are two phases in which interested students can apply—while in high school or at the completion of their first semester at Rollins. Incoming freshman must have a minimum 1200 SAT score, 3.2 GPA and be in good standing.
“The program is similar to the 3/2 Accelerated Management Program, in the sense that it is limited in numbers and targets our best students. There are three main differences between the AMP and the Dual Degree Program: it is exclusively for INB majors, students must be become proficient in German, and it includes a full-time semester long internship in Germany,” Fetscherin said.
The program is currently selecting about 10 to 15 first-year cohorts. Vice versa, Reutlingen University will select a few students recruit five to seven students to participate in DDP. Rollins students will spend their freshman and sophomore year in Winter Park before studying in Germany during their junior year and fall semester of their senior year. Of the three semesters in Germany, one includes a rigorous 18-week full time internship that links with 49 internationally renowned companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Hugo Boss, Siemens, or General Electric.
Additionally, there are three fallback options for students to come up to speed with the German language. First, students can undertake a five-week summer program in Munich during the summer as a freshman. Secondly, the same option is offered sophomore year. Lastly, in the first semester at Reutlingen University, all courses are taught in English and German. Fetscherin stresses the benefit of cross-cultural exposure provided through DDP over spending three a semesters abroad in Germany.
“The difference with other study abroad opportunities in Germany, courses are primarily taught in English. With this program, three two semesters of courses are taught in German, and students partake in a full-time, semester long internship within a German corporation. Our DDP is a much bigger and deeper exposure to a culture over a field study or semester abroad,” Fetscherin said.
With the successful implementation of the bridged degree program with Reutlingen University, DDP hopes to explore possibilities in alternative universities abroad.
“After this German program is implemented,” says Fetscherin, “We are looking for other possibilities of establishing dual degree programs in China, France, and Spain, and France. Our DDP has a positive spillover effect to other departments on campus such as Modern Languages. It is the perfect way following our mission statement of “global citizenship” by internationalizing our campus and student body.”
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