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Internships in Germany preferred over Summer Vacations in the USA - Ruhr Area popular with U.S. University Students

Internships in Germany preferred over Summer Vacations in the USA - Ruhr Area popular with U.S. University Students

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14 university students from the USA are Ruhr Fellows 2014. Scholarships funded by Initiativkreis Ruhr and Universitätsallianz Ruhr.

Essen, June 6, 2014. The Ruhr Area, the German metropolitan area in the heart of Europe, has a good reputation in the USA: the Initiativkreis Ruhr (IR) and the Universitätsallianz Ruhr (UA Ruhr) meet with increasing demand for their scholarships for gifted students at renowned American universities. This summer, 14 students from the USA will get to know the Ruhr Area and complete an internship in leading German companies as Ruhr Fellows 2014.

Photo: IR managing director Dirk Opalka (above, second from left) with the students from USA.

This year, students of Harvard University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will spend their summer in the Ruhr Area following an invitation from the regional corporate alliance IR and the university alliance UA Ruhr. The 10 young women and 4 young men were recently invited to the IR main office in a kick-off event for their scholarships. "The Ruhr Area and its internationally active companies are becoming more and more attractive to American students. This year, we received five times as many applications to the scholarships as we could award," says IR managing director Dirk Opalka. Once again it's mostly engineering and science students who come from the USA to the Ruhr Area to participate in the Ruhr Fellows scholarship program, which this year sees its third run. The Ruhr Area in the state of Northrhine-Westphalia is home to more than 5 million people and leading German companies such as RWE, ThyssenKrupp and Evonik Industries. 

Academic and practical: Ruhr Fellowships with two program phases
The two-month Ruhr Fellowships are divided into two phases: for the first four weeks, the students will be attending a summer school. This year, the academic program will be organized by the UA Ruhr and overseen by the Universität Duis-burg-Essen. This will allow students to get to know the three UA Ruhr universities - Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Duisburg-Essen and Technische Universität Dortmund. For the second half, the students will complete a four-week internship in partnering companies of the Initiativkreis Ruhr. Companies offering internships this year are BP Europa, Deutsche Bank, Evonik Industries, Ferrostaal, Hochtief, ista, Klöckner, RAG, Ruhrverband, Siemens, SMS, Trimet Aluminium and Vaillant. The eventful program will also present the Ruhr Area as an attractive living environment. A number of field trips and visits to cultural institutions are on the agenda. German language courses complete the offer.

IR managing director Opalka states, 'The combination of study visit and internship combines acadamic qualification with hands-on job experience. Our guests estab-lish a network of valuable contacts. This concept has proven so popular with both students and the companies involved that we again awarded 14 scholarships this year." One goal of the program is to turn the freshly forged links between the Ruhr Area and the elite US universities into lasting partnerships for research and business. Taking a job with one of the companies in the region is another long-term option for the students. To maintain the newly-created relationships, the 14 Ruhr Fellows will become part of the alumni program of the UA Ruhr liaison office in New York. They will, in effect, become ambassadors of the Ruhr Area as a location for research and business.

Initiativkreis Ruhr - Advancing the Region 
The Initiativkreis Ruhr is a strategic partnership of 67 leading companies with about 2.25 million employees and a combined global business volume of 630 billion Euros. The initiatives in innovation and education sponsored by the Initiativkreis Ruhr are mainly focussed on culture, energy, logistics and education. Find out more at

Universitätsallianz Ruhr - Better Together
The Universitätsallianz Ruhr (UA Ruhr, formerly UAMR) is a strategic alliance between Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Technische Universität Dortmund und Universität Duisburg-Essen under the theme of "Better together". SInce 2007 the three big Ruhr Area universities have been pooling resources and know how to improve performance.

The figures alone can only give a first indication of the benefits of the alliance: more than 110,000 young women and men are currently enrolled in the three networking universities under the tutelage of more than 1300 professors and 7000 research fellows and assistants. They all benefit from the synergies between the partnered universities, which are able to jointly offer a complete curriculum ranging from humanities and social sciences to natural sciences and engineering to medicine. The UA Ruhr also actively pursues a strong international network with worldwide partners. Three international liaison offices in New York, Moscow and Rio de Janeiro/Sao Paulo assist scientists in starting new research partnerships as well establishing and extending their international networks. Find out more at

Media Contact:
Initiativkreis Ruhr GmbH
Christian Icking
Communications Director & Spokesperson
Brunnenstraße 8
45128 Essen

Tel.: +49 (0) 201-89 66-660