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“German as a Second Language” – this was the subject of an exam that over 700 students from TU Dortmund University took on 25 June. For the first time in the University’s history, the exam had been shifted to Westfalenhalle 3, a hall in the exhibition center. An estimated 7,500 students have taken their written exams there during this period – in line with an ingenious hygiene concept aimed at preventing coronavirus infections.
The reason for shifting the exams elsewhere is the coronavirus pandemic. Room capacities at TU Dortmund University can only cater for exams with up to 200 students – if hygiene and distancing rules are to be observed. And even these exams sometimes have to be spread over several lecture halls, since even in the main lecture hall only a tenth of the 800 places can be filled.
Students praise implementation of hygiene concept
It is the supplementary exams for the 2019/20 winter semester with large numbers of students which are currently being packed into just six days up until 2 July and taking place in Westfalenhalle 3. There are several exams each day. The first students flocked into the building on the morning of 25 June. Kira Hein, who is in the second semester of her bachelor’s teaching degree, also came to the exhibition center to sit her “German as a Second Language” exam. This had, in fact, been scheduled for 16 March but was then cancelled at short notice because of the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s good that things are getting going again,” she said, “but I’m really fidgety ahead of the exam.”
For Lukas Herrmann, who is studying “Special Educational Needs” and in the fourth semester of his bachelor’s degree, it was a bit like being at a “gig”. “You’ve got to hand it to the University. They’ve arranged things really well as far as the exams are concerned,” he said. Dr. Olga Naumovich, who co-supervises the “German as a Second Language” module at the Faculty of Cultural Studies, was also satisfied: “Everything is running smoothly here, although we’re writing six different ‘German as a Second Language’ exams in the exhibition center.” A pigeon that had briefly lost its bearings and flown into the hall caused a slight commotion before the first exam. Whether or not it wanted to sit it remained unclear.
A special surprise at the end of the exam
TU Dortmund University has developed a hygiene concept for the exams taking place in the exhibition center. It includes, for example, minimum distances between examinees, who must wear a mask when they arrive but not when seated. All chairs and tables as well as corridors, aisles and sanitary facilities are disinfected by service staff during the breaks between exams. Examinees can also arrive by car; parking spaces at the exhibition center have been specially reserved.
After the exam, a little surprise awaited the students: At 10.00 a.m., funDOmio, a pop-up amusement park, opened in the grounds of the exhibition center and the examinees were granted free entrance. If you wanted to, you could round off your first exam in the exhibition center with a relaxing ride on the carousel.
Impressions from the first exam in the Westfalenhalle exhibition center:
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Location & approach
The campus of TU Dortmund University is located close to interstate junction Dortmund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dortmund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dortmund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dortmund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the university are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dortmund.
To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.
TU Dortmund University has its own train station ("Dortmund Universität"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dortmund main station ("Dortmund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The university is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.
You can also take the bus or subway train from Dortmund city to the university: From Dortmund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dortmund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dortmund main station to the stop "Dortmund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dortmund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dortmund Universität S".
Dortmund Airport offers flights to several destinations in Central Europe. There are regular connections to Katowice, Kraków, London and Munich. For the approximately 20km-trip from Dortmund Airport to TU Dortmund University, you can use a shuttle bus to the railway Station "Bahnhof Holzwickede", from which trains depart to Dortmund main station (please visit Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr for more information). Normally, the fastest way is to catch a taxi at Dortmund Airport.
The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dortmund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dortmund Universität S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the university directly with the city of Dortmund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.