Open mic for unique ideas: Student Initiatives at the Karls

Alex doesn't just study here at the Karls, but he has also found an audience and stage for his talents and ideas. What about you? Would you also like to study where you perform much more than just a student's role? Where your personality and development count just as much as the seminars and lectures? 

The features of the Karls: 01. Personalized focal point 02. Focus on practical experience + Company projects 03. Language courses + Study abroad semester 04. Friendly atmosphere + Friendly professors 05. Small class size + Interactive lectures 06. Personal development

Interview with Julia Hähnel-Budnik from University Communications

Student Initiatives – Heart of the Karls

# How does the student life at the karls look outside of the classroom?

The student initiatives have enchanted me ever since I started working here in the fall. They show exactly what young people are capable of when they set their minds towards something. From students, for students, that's the motto of the KarlsInitiatives. There are student groups for just about every interest, be it dancing, soccer, or debating, anything is possible here. And if students want to create a new club, I am more than willing to help connect people with similar interests and starting their own KarlsInitiative.

# What happens at "Something"?

"Something" is something very special. It is an evening where all students, end even professors and employees, are invited to present "something". Anyone is allowed to try something out on stage. Last winter semester, for example, we had a student who read a short story about their vacation aloud. Although the student never thought he was good at stand up comedy, he was able to get the the whole room nearly choking with laughter. His timing, the story, the irony, everything fell into place. The great thing is that we were all laughing with him, not at him. That's also important for the students who organize "Something". This event is where everyone can go up on stage without worrying about what other's think about them, where they are offered a space to try something new, or to show a side of them which their colleagues weren't aware of. Imperfection and a couple mistakes are all part of the format.

# How do the initiatives contribute to the personal development of Karls Students?

Personal growth is a central theme of the university. You can see that in the Improvisational Theatre group's (from the Wintersemester of 2018/19) performance which was called "failing forward". This performance had a lot of what defines the Karls. Basically this would be the ability to do something together as a group, maybe even failing as a group, but this is the prerequisite in order for the group to develop. Instead of being afraid of mistakes, the part which really counts is being able to learn from them together, and to stand back up and try again. Even as an employee, I am constantly inspired by the young people around me, and love being able to guide them through their own personal growth, which helps me grow as a person too.

About Julia Hähnel-Budnik

Half a year ago, Julia Hähnel-Budnik started to work in University Communications at the Karls. Her main task is to help people explore the unique learning atmosphere of the university and the spirit of our students. At the same time, she supports the different KarlsInitiatives, and encourages the students to make their dreams come true.

Home as we don’t know it.

What is a home?

The place you were born in, or a place thousands of miles away where you were born anew
The place you were raised, or the place that raised you
Or could it be two or more places, like the continents of Europe, Asia, and North America
Shifting, colliding, bumping, subduing, morphing, intertwining, in a beautiful 
Is it a feeling
The most riveting of kinds
That starts from deep within
With each breath and every heartbeat
Pulsing through and taking control of those stomach butterflies we don’t listen to
A flurry of mixed emotions
Of memories, of sights and sounds, of tastes and laughter, of food and food and food
Of experiences
A silent contemplated answer to the question “what is home for you?”
Speaking of questions, the worst of all
Is “where are you from?”
A loaded question
With a million possibilities
But only one that you’re looking for.
Should I say where I was born?
Where I was raised?
Or where my parents were?
Or where I feel most comfortable now?
Do you just want me to confirm your preconceived notions of where I look like I’m from?
Perhaps there’s a beauty in having just one home
It’s simpler that way
Answering questions might even be easier
But perhaps for us multi-cultured kids, we need to feel comfortable belonging to multiple worlds
It’s a home in itself
A place I call
The in between.

#PeopleOfKarls: More stories

The Producer

Vocation instead of Career: Lee explains how he found his inner-film producer at the Karlshochschule. What's inside you?

The Activist

Lydia has a vision of a better world, and works to someday achieve this vision. What is your mission?

The Changemaker

Every movement starts with a single step. Pareesha describes the changes her country of Malaysia is undergoing. What moves you?

The Bridgebuilder

Interested in studying in Germany? Lan Anh explains how she lays out the path for candidates interested in studying at the Karlshochschule. Are you ready to break ground?

The Employer

Your dream-job doesn't need to stay a dream. Jana illustrates just how much practical experience a bachelor at the Karls contains. What do you dream of?


Coming from a multicultural background, I find studying, thinking and creating in an environment as diverse as Karlshochschule to be a real blessing. I've never been one to fall when I can jump and at a place like the Karls you certainly learn how to jump high.


Everything here is so international and it's like you can experience the whole world.

Cornelius - Intercultural Management & Communication

I believe that culture has become an integral part of today's economy. Through my studies I was able to develop personally and professionally.


In today's digitized world we are incredibly sensitive to media content and the media makers and managers need an international perspective on the subject.


What are the interests of politics? What motives the economy? And how can human thought and action be explained? I've always been interested in questions like that.


When I first thought of International Relations, I used to think of a very theoretical approach. But here at Karls that is not the only thing we do. The focus lies on team work and critical thinking, learning by doing and questioning everything in the process.


Cosy, familiar, creative, productive and practice-oriented - that is my everyday university life.

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