GHIS deeply enriched my Master’s experience and pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I had the amazing opportunity to be taught by experts on digital society, climate change and stem cells and thus uncover novel topics beyond my own discipline. Besides that, through all the discussions and assignments, GHIS constantly stimulated me to think, be critical and innovative. In small interdisciplinary groups we had to come up with solutions to some of the greatest issues facing our society, such as climate change, fake news, or even the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. This truly made me feel that my work could have a real-world impact.
GHIS gave me the opportunity to get insights of other disciplines besides my own. It was great to be part of courses outside of my field, such as public order and security, posthumanism and science. It was also amazing to collaborate with peers of other disciplines in projects that concerned the COVID-19 epidemic and the setup of a bachelor honours course. It was good to be able to address a real problem or situation and it was rewarding to be allowed to be creative and innovative, especially when our input for these assignments were really being used.
GHIS deepened my appreciation of constructive interdisciplinary teamwork. During the hours spent together we learned to bridge gaps between the most varied kinds of academic backgrounds. This was also reflected in the background of our teachers, adding an additional layer of diversity to the experience. Encouraged to use our creativity, we found ways of working together despite our differences. We needed to learn to communicate our highly specialised knowledge in a way others can understand, while simultaneously opening oneself up to new ideas and contrasting approaches.
GHIS gave me the opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary project group and write an interdisciplinary grant proposal. In order to find an interdisciplinary approach to a societal problem, we combined the different disciplines from the group members. The thing that struck me most was the way I got to know my own discipline so much better. Because I had to include my own background in the research proposal, I had to find a way in which my discipline could benefit the project. By discussing this with my fellow students with another background, I really got to the essence of my own discipline.
As part of the programme we visited Heidelberg University. Here we discussed on how to develop and improve interdisciplinary education and how universities can contribute to society. The final seminar required students to develop a proposal for a research question. Our project group had chosen What should education look like in the future?. This is where I gained awareness that an educational problem truly requires an interdisciplinary solution. We needed each other’s contribution to create a comprehensive proposal.
During the debates in class I had to learn to connect my knowledge to that of other students and to throw my point out there. This is an important skill to have, but not a thing I learnt among my fellow degree students. I was also confronted with preconceptions other people have of me and my discipline and I had to learn to breach that gap. The diversity of people leads to different dynamics every time. People from other countries and studies provide me with insights I never thought of myself, and open up fields of study I will not easily encounter otherwise. The teachers also help in achieving this; allowing me to learn things beyond my own discipline.
GHIS helped me to understand where links between disciplines are. By being able to communicate with people from other disciplines better, I am now able to solve a problem in a much more effective way. I have never realized how deeply engaged people are in their own tracks. It turned out that there is a lot of stuff that I just completely hadn’t heard of, but that is in fact really interesting. The teachers are very interested in your thoughts and questions, which often come from a completely different background than the teacher is used to.