Christian Mossmann

Fellow FHEA

International learning, research and work experience

Name Christian Mossmann
Position Lecturer in German
College College of Humanities

The benefits of the year abroad

Christian Mossmann is First Year Tutor and Lecturer in Modern Languages (German) and the Language Coordinator for German in the Foreign Language Centre. He was also the Acting Study Abroad Coordinator for the College of Humanities between February and November 2015.

Christian says, “It’s really exciting for me to be more involved in the year abroad, which I think is such an important part of the Modern Languages degree. It’s great to see that it is also getting increasingly popular with students from other Humanities disciplines as well.”

“Students benefit from study abroad experiences in numerous ways”, believes Christian. “The most obvious benefit being language skills, which students can acquire in an immersive way while being abroad.”  Additionally, though, to give students a more organised, structured and student-led way of learning the language, Christian led a pilot project in Modern Languages with Prof Ulrike Zitzlsperger. Christian explains, “We employed two of our students who created a bank of German language learning materials…to offer students on their year abroad a range of tailor-made additional opportunities to practise their German, especially if they might not spend their year abroad in a German-speaking country.”

Intercultural competence is also a really important area and “I think there is no better way of improving that than being abroad and meeting people from other countries and other cultures.”

Study abroad works wonders for students’ personal development and employability. “It’s really great seeing students coming back from the year abroad and seeing how much they’ve grown and how much more self-confident they’ve become”, remarks Christian. Along with navigating another country and culture, Christian believes these are skills with which students can impress employers.

International collaboration

As well as supporting students on their year abroad, Christian is working with colleagues from six universities in five different European countries to develop an online tandem language exchange platform. “The idea is that students get paired with students from another institution, so both students can practise their language skills and intercultural competence. We have a tandem programme here at Exeter, which is running very well, but we tend to find that demand outstrips supply for many languages.” By pairing students from different universities, “we hope we’ll be able to meet this actual demand and for students to be able to hone their language skills on the one hand, but also to practise intercultural communication in an authentic and autonomous way.”

However, this EU-funded project aims to do more than enable students to practise their language skills with native speakers.  Christian adds, “We also hope that by working with other universities we’re able to strengthen our links in terms of internationalisation…[and]… foster collaboration on many levels.”

Aim 4: International learning, research & experiences
To provide opportunities for every student to study, research or work with a university, employer or voluntary body in another country, and significantly increase the proportion of students taking up those international opportunities

The benefits of the year abroad

"Students benefit from study abroad experiences in numerous ways."

International collaboration

"We also hope that by working with other universities we’re able to strengthen our links..."

Embedding e-Assessment into the Modern Languages Curriculum

"The great thing about using online tools is that they can offer students instant feedback."