<strong>EPIC Missions 2021/22: Milestone Event</strong>
From May 12-14, the pilot students of the EPIC Missions 2021/22 came together in Freiburg where they were able to meet in person to present their final reports to the two external stakeholders, the Carl-Schurz-Haus Freiburg and the City of Freiburg (DIGIT Project).

EPIC Missions are group projects in which interdisciplinary teams of students from across Europe join forces to solve real-world problems for real-world stakeholders with the academic support of their mission guides (click here for more information on the EPIC Missions 2021/22). The format combines short-term physical mobility with long-term virtual mobility. Since the Kick-off event in December last year had to be shifted online, the students were excited to be invited to Freiburg for the milestone event.

The milestone event started with a welcome dinner on Thursday night where the participants met in person for the first time. On Friday, the two Mission teams then presented the recommendations for their respective stakeholder to each other and exchanged valuable feedback. After some final edits, the students finally had the chance to present their findings to the two stakeholders – Friederike Schulte of the Carl-Schurz-Haus Freiburg and Dr. Renate Häuslschmid of the City of Freiburg (DIGIT Project).

“The EPIC Mission was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me as I hadn’t experienced anything of this magnitude before” (Anastasis, AuTh student)

EPIC Missions a “challenging but unique and empowering experience”

Having thereby completed the team mission component of the EPIC Mission, the student participants reflect on their experience:

Valentine, a student at the University of Strasbourg: “In one word, the EPIC Mission is challenging. And that is exactly what makes it such a rich and unique experience.” She is joined by the University of Freiburg student Nicole: “It was cool to generate something out of nothing – it showed how creative we can be.” However, the primary sentiment is one of pride and achievement. Sorami, a student at Waseda University in Japan who is currently on exchange at the University Freiburg puts it in her words: “Having completed the whole team mission, I feel very grateful and proud of myself and others in my team for working together as a team.” Anastasis, a student at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, agrees: “Presenting our solution and seeing how it could actually make a difference was very fulfilling and beautiful. Participating in the EPIC Mission was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me as I hadn’t experienced anything of this magnitude before.”

In general, students stress that participating in the EPIC Missions is very different from ordinary university courses: “It was a great experience and I’ve learned a lot that I can use outside of my normal study programme. My favorite part was working in an international team on a real-world problem”, says Lukas, student at the University of Freiburg. Unsurprisingly, the students particularly enjoyed the opportunity to meet their fellow team members from across the continent in person at the milestone event. Ananya, 2nd-year student at Amsterdam University College adds: “My favorite part of the EPIC Mission was the Milestone event where we looked back at our learning process and presented our final product to the stakeholders. We were also able to come together in person for this stage, which was really lovely.” Looking back at his learning process, Moritz (University of Freiburg) describes the personal growth he has experienced: “Participating in the EPIC Mission empowered me in the sense that it reminded me of my and potentially everyone’s capability to come together working on a problem through acknowledging our backgrounds, values and intentions and negotiating between them.”

…To be continued: EPIC Missions 2022/23

In the upcoming academic year 2022/23, EPICUR will expand its EPIC Mission offer and applications are currently open for seven challenges provided by stakeholders from across Europe:

If you are interested, please check further information on the EPIC Mission and the European Tracks. To find out more about the exact challenges, please check the European Track offers in the EPICUR course catalogue. Who knows, maybe you will even meet one of our pilot students. Anastasis already says: “For the record, I will most likely take part again”

Article by Mathias HempflingPhotos: Valentine Jander, Mathias Hempfling