Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for your interest in our digital tandem programme MOTIVATE!. On this page you will find many answers to questions that we regularly receive. If this does not cover your question, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What is MOTIVATE! all about?

MOTVATE! is an extracurricular programme in which students from Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Australia work together in tandems over an academic year (approx. 10 months) and get the chance to explore exciting topics related to school, work, education and diversity in a comparative perspective.

MOTIVATE! stands for “Mobile and online tandems for international vocational teacher education” and is based at the Institute of Educational Science at the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin). As a subproject of MOVE IT! it contributes to the internationalisation of teacher education training at the TU Berlin and cooperates with partner universities abroad that also train teachers and aim to make their teacher education trainings more international.

The term “tandem” comes from foreign language didactics. A tandem is a team of two to three people. After your application, we put together permanent tandems – based on e.g. your interests and your field of study. The tandems then work together for two semesters. This offers you the opportunity to get to know each other well, develop a joint working mode and establish close contact abroad.

MOTIVATE! is a subproject of MOVE IT! at the chair of General and Historical Educational Science at the TU Berlin under the lead of Prof. Dr. Susann Fegter, director of the School of Education SETUB and owner of the chair of General and Historical Educational Science. The central contact person for MOTIVATE! is Miriam Kost.

MOTIVATE! is part of the project MOVE IT! and as such funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, DAAD). Specifically, is part of the DAAD programme Lehramt.International funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF).

The TU Berlin is currently cooperating with NTNU in Norway, PH FHNW in Switzerland and UTS in Australia. In the future, a further cooperation will be established with a university in South Africa. You can find more information on our partner universities here.

The project addresses students from teacher education programmes at TU Berlin in Germany and our partner universities. Participation is possible at any point in the course of study. In the future, we plan to involve further partner universities and status groups.

You would like to join? Find more information in the section “How can I participate in MOTIVATE! ?” below.

The project has great value for student teachers. By participating you have the opportunity

  • to get to know new people and new perspectives,
  • to develop yourself personally and professionally,
  • to take part in interesting exclusive workshops,
  • to experience first-hand what it looks like to learn with and from each other across national borders and
  • to create networks abroad that you can use later in your career to organise student exchanges or for other internationalisation projects.

The participation in MOTIVATE! also secures you a place at our annual international Summerschool, where students from all participating universities come together for a week and at alternating locations. In addition, after completing the programme, you will receive a certificate confirming your participation that demonstrates your future employers that you have valuable experience in international cooperation.

How does MOTIVATE! work?

Our new cohort has started in September 2023 and the programme extends over one academic year which is approximately 10-11 months. To ensure a rewarding time for all, by participating you agree to be part of the programme for the entire period. The current funding period for MOTIVATE! ends in December 2024. We expect MOTIVATE! to continue from September 2025.

The time schedules of semesters and lectures and the general study structure differ greatly between different countries and universities. In order to implement joint projects like MOTIVATE! we have to find compromises. This also means that the timetable differs slightly from the semester times of all participating universities.

However, the programme is designed in such a way that for example examination times are taken into account. In general, the programme is very flexible. You and your tandem partner(s) can decide when you meet and thus take individual needs into account. The only fixed dates are the joint meetings (workshops and House Sessions).

The programme focuses on exchange in the tandems. Therefore, during the year several exciting topics related to school, education and society are covered on a monthly basis. These topics are respectively introduced in a joint session (a workshop or a so-called House Session) in which all tandems participate. However, the focus within these sessions isn’t an extensive lecture but the exchange and joint reflection of the experiences of the students. For the following weeks, the students are given a little task that encourages them to deepen the new topic independently in their tandem.

During the programme we will deal with exciting topics on e.g. intercultural communication, digitalisation, peer counselling and being an educator in a diverse society and diverse classroom. Besides, the tandems have the great opportunity to contribute their own topics in the so-called House Sessions. Each tandem is responsible for organising a House Session and chooses the topic for this session as well as the subsequent task.

Participation in the programme includes your regular attendance at the joint sessions once or twice a month as well as independent exchange on the monthly tasks in your tandem. This also includes contributing to our MOTIVATE! blog in turn so that others can benefit from your experiences. In general, the programme and especially the tasks are designed so that the workload is realistically doable in addition to the normal schedule.

The tandems meet independently and can organize their meetings flexibly. In addition, there are monthly digital meetings with all tandems. So that there is no overlap with other courses, this joint sessions take place in the evening or, in some cases, on Saturdays.

MOTIVATE! is conducted in English. Tandems consisting of German-speaking students on both sides can also exchange ideas in German but have to present their results – for example blog entries – in English. All events in the overall group as well as workshops and Summers Schools take place in English.

Note: You are afraid that your English is not good enough? Do not let the language barrier stop you! The program offers perfect conditions to improve your English in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. | Du befürchtest, dass dein Englisch nicht gut genug ist? Lass dich davon nicht abhalten! Das Programm bietet optimale Bedingungen, um deine Englischkenntnisse nebenbei und in entspannter Atmosphäre zu verbessern. 

MOTIVATE! is a voluntary offer that is not credited to the degree programme in the form of credit points. However, we recommend and support you in linking topics you develop during the programme to your regular courses and exam performances. Since the concrete process is somewhat different at all participating universities, please contact your contact person at your university (see: Who is the contact person at my university?).

Thanks to a temporary funding from the DAAD, we are currently able to offer the participation in MOTIVATE!, including all the workshops it contains, free of charge. This also applies to participation in the summerschool for which funds are available for travel and accommodation costs.

How can I participate in MOTIVATE! ?

The project addresses students from teacher education programmes from all levels at TU Berlin, NTNU, PH FHNW and UTS. Due to the high flexibility it is also possible to attend the programme during an internship semester. We particularly invite students from vocational subjects to apply.

To participate in MOTIVATE!, students should have a B2 level of English. With the attainment of university admission, students usually have English language skills at this level.

Basically, we want to encourage you not to let fears of insufficient language skills hold you back, but to see the participation as an opportunity to train and expand your language skills in a relaxed environment.

You can apply via the application form. Please fill in all fields completely and take enough time to do so.

The current application period ended on 10 June 2023. After the application deadline, all applications were reviewed and tandems were put together. If there are more applications than places, selection is based on the time of application and the best possible match.

Note: If you are interested, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time – even if the application period has already expired. We will be happy to put you on the list and contact you in case we have remaining seats or as soon as we can invite you to apply for the next round.

We try to find the best possible tandem partner for you according to your expectations, your field of study and your interests. In case that there are more applications than seats, the selection will be based on the time of registration and the best possible matching.

You will be informed at the latest two weeks after the end of the application period whether we found a tandem partner for you and you can participate in MOTIVATE!.

Technische Universität Berlin: Miriam Kost (contact form)

Norwegian University of Science and Technology: Katrine Dalbu Alterhaug (email)

Pädagogische Hochschule Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz: Markus Cslovjecsek (email)

University of Technology Sydney: Don Carter (email).