USC Upstate, UAS Landshut to Expand US-Germany Exchange Program

A delegation of USC Upstate faculty and staff, led by Chancellor Bennie Harris, visited the University of Applied Sciences (UAS) Landshut in Germany in January to explore additional exchange opportunities between the two universities.

USC Upstate and UAS Landshut have offered a dual degree program for business and science students since 2012. Under the current agreement, Upstate students study on the Spartanburg campus for three years, then travel to Landshut to complete their final year there. Students also intern with a global company and learn German as part of the program. At graduation, they receive diplomas from both universities.

More than 150 students have taken part in the program since its inception. Now the schools plan to add more majors to the dual degree, and also offer a semester exchange option for students just interested in a study abroad experience. Short-term summer trips for students on both campuses are also planned.

“USC Upstate is proud to work with our partners at UAS Landshut to offer our students additional avenues for developing the skills they need to support and contribute to the global economic ecosystem in our respective regions,” says Harris. “Both our campuses understand the importance of our students having a global mindset, and we are always looking for ways to expand our relationships with international companies.”

Programs that will be added to the dual degree include cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, automation, business analytics and international affairs, says Alex Lorenz, director of global engagement and assistant professor of German at Upstate. Expanding the exchange will also provide more opportunities for students to collaborate and publish research.

Upstate and Landshut hope to sign an expanded exchange agreement in March and begin new programming this fall.

Lorenz says the dual degree program positively impacts students’ career prospects. “This exposure makes them attractive candidates for the job market here in the Upstate South Carolina region, which is home to more than 500 global companies, of which 125 are headquartered in Germany,” he notes.

Faculty, too, have benefited from the exchange, with Upstate professors traveling to Landshut in the summer to teach there, and Landshut professors coming to Upstate. Lorenz says this has led to research and grant collaborations between the two campuses.

Growing the partnership fits well with the mission of both institutions. “Upstate and Landshut are focused on serving the community and local industry partners, and many of the companies in the Munich area have sister companies here in the Upstate region,” Lorenz says.

While in Germany, the USC Upstate delegation also visited BMW, Draexlmaier, and SAR, all of which have manufacturing facilities in the Upstate region. The visits spurred conversations on how to create additional internship opportunities in South Carolina for Upstate students and expand the university’s academic programs to meet the workforce needs of the Upstate.