The ZHAW is one of the leading universities of applied sciences in Switzerland. For many years IAESTE Switzerland has been working closely together with ZHAW as one of their premium partners. The cooperation between the two institutions is wide ranging – each year IAESTE sends ZHAW students on internships abroad and in turn ZHAW provides many interesting placements for overseas exchange students who come to Switzerland. Here, teaching, research, continuing education, consulting and other services are both scientifically based and practice-oriented.

We have interviewed Prof. Dr. Thomas Michael Bohnert, Head of Focus Area Service Engineering & Head of ICCLab at ZHAW Winterthur about his cooperation with IAESTE.

What is the importance of international mobility for ZHAW in general and for your research group specifically?

International mobility is important in a great manner for our research group and our university, as we believe in the globalised scientific community. In terms of technology and research, there are no boundaries. We like to get people from different nations to have their perspective and inputs in our research. They share their valuable experiences from their countries and we not only build a foundation for robust research but also make valuable contacts through them.

How many students have you supervised so far and from where have they been?

So far I have supervised eight students, coming from such various countries as Ukraine, Macedonia, India, Czech Republic, Albania, Brazil and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

What is your experience with the IAESTE exchange programme?

We have had only good experiences with the IAESTE exchange programme. The students are very motivated in their work and career. They are young and open to accept new challenges and learn as much as they can. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.

What is most important for you while selecting an international student?

While selecting a candidate to be hired for the exchange program we foremost look at their academic excellence, accomplishments and any contribution/involvement to scientific research in the form of a hobby or side business etc. But what is also very crucial, and equally important, is the motivation, dedication and willingness to be part of our team. In my opinion, a highly motivated candidate makes an extra step further in getting a task done.

What is the main benefit for you and your team when hiring an IAESTE student?

IAESTE students not only deliver to the task provided to them, but also add a lot of value to our team in the sense of the cultural variety. We have had the chance to work with several IAESTE students from several countries and I can confirm that the learning is always mutual.

Originally published in the IAESTE Annual Rewiew 2015.