A digital ceremony that is festive nonetheless: what seemed inconceivable a year ago has now become reality at our university. To mark the ceremonial presentation of scholarships on 4 November, SRH President Professor Dr. Carsten Diener used Zoom to welcome virtually all of the 35 scholarship holders. By integrating the online tool Padlet, the ceremony was transformed into a lively, interactive event.

“It’s an honour to have you as students,” remarked Carsten Diener, opening his speech to the scholarship holders. “You did it!” Anna Rudloff, a graduate of the Master’s programme in Music Therapy, provided a musical backdrop to the ceremony on her guitar, reaching out to the audience online. Moderated by Kamilla Prutek, Head of the Admission Office, the President symbolically presented the five different scholarships to each individual student. A brief collaboration via Padlet followed each presentation. Among other things, this enabled the scholarship holders to express their expectations of SRH University Heidelberg and what they in turn could do to support the university. The ideas just kept coming (see picture gallery).

Achieving dreams

15 SRH Scholarships, covering the entire costs of university for the whole standard period of study, were awarded to talented students facing difficult life situations. There is a personal story behind every one of these scholarships: “Thanks to my scholarship, I am able to combine family life with my studies and my company start-up!” stated one of the scholarship holders with delight, as his two children skipped around him. “At last, there is recognition of my illness. The scholarship gives me self-confidence,” another student said. “There was a time when there was no hope. But now I have the confirmation: I can do it!” exclaimed another recipient. Another student added: “Pursuing a career as a mum is not a given thing, particularly with a chronic illness. The scholarship enables me to live this career.” Thanks to the scholarship, many students are able to achieve their dreams, and feel freshly motivated.

Growing as a person

Ten Deutschlandstipendium scholarship holders receive a monthly grant of €300 each. Half of this amount is provided by the Federal Government, and the other half by private or corporate sponsors. Psychology student Laura, for instance, receives support from Professor Dr. Jochen Gehrmann, Chief Physician at the Clinic of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Ludwigshafen: “The Deutschlandstipendium takes the pressure off me, I can continue my voluntary activities and engage in networking. I also plan to do an internship with my sponsor!” Leah, who is supported by the IfUS Institute for Corporate Reorganisation, also said: “The scholarship helps me to grow as a person.” Other students mention the fact that they can now go shopping with fewer worries, or that they view the scholarship as a great addition to their CV.

Filling the coronavirus gap

SRH University Heidelberg has introduced coronavirus scholarships, available to first-year students in the form of Start Assistance and to existing students as Immediate Aid, helping them with their studies during the pandemic. “It is a big financial relief,” said Tatjana. “The coronavirus has pushed me well into the red, so I can now stop the gap a bit.” Kishore remarked with delight: “I can concentrate on my studies.” Due to an illness, Jennifer’s doctors advised her against going to university. But she went nevertheless, and is now delighted. Amid is also very grateful to SRH University Heidelberg for the scholarship he was awarded.

Deep gratitude

Academic success, integration and the motivation to encourage other young people to study in Germany are the criteria that the STIBET Scholarship, offered by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Federal Foreign Office, is keen to promote. Four students receive support through this scholarship. “That fills me and my family with gratitude and joy!”, reported Cynthia, who was awarded one of the DAAD scholarships (DAAD Prize for Outstanding Foreign Students).

Don’t worry, be happy

Last but not least, the scholarship holders were given the opportunity to open a small package that had been sent to them by post in advance: President Carsten Diener had already devoured all the sweets from the packages, he admitted, but together with the students, armed with an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink, he said cheers into the computer camera lens: “Like in real life!” The ceremony ended with an interactive rendition of the song “Don’t worry, be happy” – where they were all invited to switch on their microphones and join in with the chorus. Hence there was even a bit of that goosebump feeling, not only online, but also for real.

Information on all scholarships offered at SRH University Heidelberg is available here.