We decided not to celebrate this event in the Château, but rather with the Differdange authorities. We were able to secure the beautiful site of H2O, the former water tower of the City of Differdange. This gave the celebration a very nice and local touch.
Twenty-five years in Differdange! Can you imagine? With close to 7500 Miami students having studied in Differdange in 25 years, we have surpassed the roughly 5000 students who came to Luxembourg City in the previous 30 years …
And next year, MUDEC will celebrate its 55th anniversary! You are all invited to join to celebrate with us. More information will be given in the beginning of next year.
Twenty-five years ago, who would ever have considered to establish a university campus in Differdange? In 1996, Differdange was a REAL steel town, with grey houses. The city was in a kind of Sleeping Beauty slumber and the château, empty for the last 5 years, needed some intense revitalization by our very own MUDEC alum and star architect, Jim Clemes.
But the Director, Dr. Ekkehard Stiller, brought back to life the beautiful Château de Differdange and helped vivify the city, which slowly woke up and accepted the challenge of changing from an industrial city to a service-oriented town.
After 9/11, discretion was key at MUDEC so that when I applied for the position of Assistant Director in 2002 (not even having realized there was a commute to Differdange – to where???), there was no sign indicating where to find MUDEC!
In the same year of 2002, Differdange got a new Mayor, Claude Meisch, our current Minister of Education & Higher Education. With him, the Differdange slumber came to an end and the city quickly grew and developed in a direction that suited MUDEC perfectly.
With the creation of 1535°, lots of internship opportunities allowed us to create a new pillow for the program: besides the classic classroom teaching, students get the incredible possibility to gain experience in a professional and dynamic international diverse setting. We were even able to create a full-time summer internship program with the help of the Ministry of Labour and the US Embassy, as special residence permits were required.
The opening of the Science Museum just next door offers new opportunities for the students, as does the proximity of the University of Luxembourg at Belval, allowing a great cultural exchange.
The establishment of the International School here in Differdange was another brick in the MUDEC wall of education. After struggling to find internship hosts for quite a few years, what a benefit for students to be able to have teaching experiences right by the Château! EIDE and Miami University’s School of Education just signed an MoU to underline a collaboration that has various facets: interns shadow professors in class, help the school kids with their homework, and play with them during the lunch break.
The Student-Teacher program allows future professors to finish their last academic steps in a full-time program. And the so-very-successful and popular ELL Summer camp allows school kids aged 7-16 to develop their English language skills and learn about the U.S. by playing typical American games such as American football, baseball or spike ball.
The latest asset to our program is the relationship between LUNEX and the departments of Kinesiology and Sports Leadership and Management. The exchange here has reached the level of common classes taught to a mixed group of MUDEC and LUNEX students by MUDEC or LUNEX faculty, and goes now into a direction of a possible joined Master Program.
The incredible support MUDEC received from the Luxembourg government during the early COVID period, letting American citizens on Schengen grounds at a time when no traveling was permitted—giving students the same medical possibilities to be tested and even vaccinated—showed that Luxembourg was the place to be, as it has been since 1968.
And when Miami University was recently ranked in the top five of U.S. universities in terms of study abroad, we know that MUDEC is partly responsible, and we are very proud of this achievement.
At the same time, we need to keep this program viable and affordable, sticking to academic standards, not just letting students travel rather than going to class. We need to keep a minimum of academic rigor and cannot accept any excuse not to be in class. MUDEC has a reputation to defend as does Miami University, and sometimes unpopular decisions have to be made. We hope for the support of everyone.
Fall 2023 will not only be the 55th anniversary semester, but it will also be the start of a new era at MUDEC, with 50 studios being inaugurated in the Gravity project next to Auchan. This wonderful project has been made possible through a collaboration between the Government, the City of Differdange, Miami University, and the Luxembourg Alumni Chapter. It is a unique opportunity to diversify the housing offered for our students.
The Gravity project is definitely not the end of the Host Family Program, but allows students interested in exploring options of a future professional career abroad to experience what it means to live all by themselves in a foreign environment. It also allows MUDEC to grow and explore adding more new cohorts. Students are keen to travel and if they can combine their studies with life-learning experiences, what better solution for them? Another reason to come in October, as we will open the doors of Gravity for a visit …
With students being gone and Christmas approaching, it is time to look back for a brief moment and thank you all, dear readers, for the support you have given during this great year of 2022. It is also time to look forward and to humbly ask you to continue this fantastic support. We just launched a new scholarship to support the needs of modernizing the Château infrastructure: avis aux amateurs and Merry Christmas! See you in 2023 …