Welcome to the first progress report about the exchange and the different teams on both sides, which will cover the kick-off phase from November to December 2019!
IstKon never rests, so when the previous exchange finished a new Core Team was quickly assembled and started planning IstKon 2020 during the four-day Future Conference in Istanbul in August. It was organized together with members of our umbrella organization Students Connecting Cultures that gave helpful tips, drawing from their vast experience in setting up previous IstKon-exchanges! The Core Team created a rough roadmap for each team and also developed answers to the logistical questions of ‚When?, How long?, How many?, Why? and How?’. Besides that, Academics Heads Kerameddin & Jens decided on the topics we’ll discuss more in depth: Climate Change, Political Economy and Artificial Intelligence/Digitalization.
After returning from summer break, the project started with one important goal: find motivated participants as they’re at the heart of IstKon! In Konstanz (KN), the selection process started with a kick-off meeting on the 5th of November that all interested students could attend and learn about the history, goals and focus areas of the exchange. After that, a two-week digital application process opened up with about 60 answers getting submitted until the deadline. In Istanbul (IST), the process began with the launch of an online application form and the call for applications via campus-wide advertisements, social media announcements and some presentations made by Core Team members during classes. After receiving the applications, the IST Core Team scheduled interviews for applicants and finished the process until November 29th.
The tough task of narrowing it down to 25 participants was then done by the KN Core Team in an evening meeting that went well beyond midnight. The process for evaluating the interviews was just as tough on the Istanbul side! Criteria were laid out, charts were drawn on a whiteboard and arguments were had until everyone had been put into a team.
Soon first team meetings were organized on both sides as well as a general gathering of all Konstanz participants on December 4th and Istanbul participants on December 20th.
KN Academic Team already had their first Skype with everyone during the winter break so they could get to know each other and experience their cultural diversity first hand. IST Academic Team organized a meeting before the finals week as well. Smaller groups to plan individual academic sessions also started forming and formulating their topics. They’re now looking into intensifying their collaboration and forming specific plans for each session.
The get-together evening in Konstanz was planned by the KN Event Team. Besides that they were also behind a trip to the Christmas market! The team is planning further events in January to encourage everyone to get in touch and build strong ties. The IST Event Team planned, organized and carried out the kick-off event for the new IstKon members and created an Events Agenda for 2020.
Flights from Friedrichshafen to Istanbul had been booked by the Logistics Team immediately after the Future Conference wrapped up. Both sides have compiled a list of possible hotels in the city and are looking forward to booking one soon. They also had their first team meeting, including distributing tasks.
The Culture Team started dividing up tasks between themselves and are now collecting ideas for cultural events during IstKon 2020. Details of the cultural program in Istanbul such as the routes for the city tours and original concepts for the night events were decided on.
Writing a realistic budget plan took up most of the Finance Team’s time in the first two months. Apart from that, they also applied for different sponsorships and are waiting to hear back from them. IST Finance Team was also waiting for price offers from three different hotels in Istanbul while they cooperated with PR Team to prepare a sponsorship file.
The PR team started with establishing a theme and a color palette for IstKon’s branding and prepared an introductory file for the sponsorship applications. The team met up several times and has been working on social media and blog posts as well as this newsletter. They’ve been photographing all the different events, collecting written introductions from the Core Team and are now continuing with presentations of the different teams.