Second Monday: Cultural journey around the world

At “Second Monday” at the TU Dortmund, students of all disciplines and from all around the world come together to cook, play games and talk together, make new friends and get to know each other’s culture and traditions. And as an additional bonus, they’re able to improve their German and English skills. A super remedy against loneliness and homesickness!

by Lisa Tüch

Indian night at Second Monday © Tüch/DAAD
Indian night at Second Monday . © Tüch/DAAD

On this Second Monday, it’s time for sport – the Summer Games! The group of international and German students in three disciplines is loosely divided up into two teams. It’s a competition to test flexibility, teamwork and speed. They dance the limbo, for example, to summertime music. And when the energy level wanes, everyone helps themselves to hot sausages from the barbecue, fresh rolls and gummy bears.

Colourful programme – from cooking nights to Christmas parties

Students from all around the world – Iran, Yemen, USA, Nigeria, Chile and many other countries – participate in Second Monday at the TU Dortmund. This makes it easier to find new friends in Germany. To prevent the language barrier from becoming a problem, everything is explained in English. Katrina Brown and Rhiannon Ragland – two guest students from the United States – think the concept is super. “You can feel lonesome abroad, especially if you can’t speak the language. That’s why Second Monday is a great way to get involved.”

Fun at the water game © Tüch/DAAD
Fun at the water game . © Tüch/DAAD

Julia Schlagge, representative of the SoWi/Sachunterricht faculty student council, explains that “it’s easier to network and meet other people here in the group. You have fun together and can meet people in other degree programmes.” Every second Monday in the month (hence the name), the International Faculty Student Councils organise this multicultural event which can be anything from Indian cooking nights to theatre performances. The participants also celebrate the holidays together, like Easter, Carnival and Christmas.

But today’s programme is sport. For the water game, the participants have to transport as much water as possible from one bucket to another using nothing but a little plastic cup. Fortunately the weather cooperates, because not all the water lands in the bucket.

Many students attend regularly

About 40 students participate in Second Monday on average, and many of them come again and again. The 22-year-old Bassam Haithm from Yemen participates in the events on a regular basis because they offer him the chance to have fun and talk with other students and improve his German and English. “And I can also learn something new. For example, at the theatre evening, we played games I’d never heard of before.”

Barbecue at Second Monday © Tüch/DAAD
Barbecue at Second Monday . © Tüch/DAAD

The 26-year-old Saptarshi Mandal also takes part as often as possible. He is very interested in different cultures. “I try to get to know people from countries everywhere. At Second Monday, the quality of the conversation is super. They put on fun games and delicious food. I hope to gain a more cosmopolitan perspective.” At the Indian cooking night, he and fellow students from India introduced his culture to all the international students. Together they made Chapatti, a typical Indian meal.

Support from the International Office

Not only are international students big fans of the events offered on Second Monday. The faculty student council also benefits from their volunteer work, says Nils Raulf, chairman of the SoWi/Sachunterricht faculty student council. “We can put our own ideas into practice while promoting qualities like teamwork and organisational skills.”

The faculty student councils are supported by the International Office. It provides assistance with planning and carrying out the Second Mondays and also finances the project. The International Office regularly posts information about upcoming events on its website and prints advertising flyers, which the faculty student councils distribute throughout campus.

Perhaps you will be holding such a flyer in your hand soon. But even without a flyer, you can come to Second Monday at the International Meeting Centre at the TU Dortmund. The event is free of charge. You don’t even have to register in advance. All students – international and German – are received with open arms.

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