Extended Student Program in Heidelberg, 16th-23rd June 2017

In addition to the Opening Workshop, an extended program for five PhD students from Jawaharlal Nehru University  (JNU; Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies and Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences) took place in Heidelberg from 16th to 23rd June 2017. The aim of this program for students was twofold: to continue their academic work here by getting to know the libraries and resources related to the project and to interact with German elderly people in different events to learn more about them and their lives in Germany.

The extended program started with an introduction to the library of the Institute of Gerontology (IoG) and was followed by a visit of the library of the South Asia Institute (SAI). Dr. Eleonore Schmitt, head of the SAI-library, took students for a guided tour and gave further an introduction to the online Catalogue for the major libraries of Heidelberg University (HEIDI).

Students also participated at a seminar titled “Views of the World and Concepts of Human Beings“ at the Institute of Gerontology. As it was an Intergenerational seminar it was not only attended by students but also by around 15 advanced senior citizens (age range from around 70-95 years). After a summary about the seminar’s content by Dr. Sonja Ehret, JNU students delivered presentations on the life of the elderly in India and Nepal. As students come from different Indian states (eg. West Bengal, Kerala, Punjab, Haryana) it became clear that the life of the elderly in India differs a lot - depending on their geographical origin as well as their social class. The discussion amongst JNU students and the German elderly was very active that the session got prolonged and continued by talks between both groups.  

The extended program concluded with a visit of the Augustinum, a senior living facility at Emmertsgrund, Heidelberg. Mr Max Hilker, a referee of the institution, gave a guided tour through the institution showing different parts such as the library, a showroom apartment and a cinema hall amongst others. He further explained about the concept of this senior living facility stating that all residents live a very independent life, if support however is required, it’ll be available.  

Students also used the opportunity to talk to residents and further viewed the photo exhibition “Generationen Dialog” currently displayed at the Galerie of the Augustinum. The exhibition is based on a project titled  “Echo Studie” of the Institute of Gerontology, made possible by the Dietmar-Hopp-Stiftung and bringing together elderly persons (85 years and more) and children and adolescents (between 6 and 18 years) from the city of Wiesloch. Mrs. Miriam Fehmann, part of this project, gave detailed information about the making of this exhibition and the photos featuring informal meetings between the elderly and the young.

Here you can download the program of the event (Pdf).