Fulda University awards the 2022 DAAD Prize

DAAD Prize 2022

University President Prof. Dr. Karim Khakzar (right) and Lord Mayor Dr. Heiko Wingenfeld (left) congratulate this year's DAAD Prize winner Pika Plaznik Čanč (centre). She received the prize endowed with 1000 Euro in the Green Room of the City Palace. Photo: Robert Gross/ Fulda University of Applied Sciences

On Monday, November 28th, Pika Plaznik Čanč the Slovenian student at the department of Health Sciences was awarded the DAAD Prize.

She has been studying for a Bachelor’s degree in International Health Sciences since October 2019. Pika Plaznik Čanč was awarded the €1000 prize for her outstanding social commitment. Since the start of her studies, she has been actively involved in promoting the integration of international students in the Department of Health Sciences. The prize was presented to her by University President Professor Dr Karim Khakzar and Lord Mayor Dr Heiko Wingenfeld in the Green Room of the Stadtschloss. The prize is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Pika Plaznik Čanč was born and grew up in Slovenia. After finishing school, she worked as an au pair on the Spanish island of La Gomera. Family circumstances brought her to Germany in 2018, where she initially worked as a care assistant for the elderly. In the long term, however, she wanted to study healthcare sciences and applied for a place at Fulda University of Applied Sciences. She started her course in the winter semester 2019/20.

During the first two semesters of her Bachelor’s programme in International Health Sciences,  Pika Plaznik Čanč represented the interests of fellow international students as cohort spokesperson. As a mentor and contact person, she also supported first-year students, exchange students and participants in the Pre-Study programme. In the winter semester 20/21, she launched the project Rock It Together to help international students network more effectively. At regular events, students from different cultural backgrounds meet and talk about challenges and available support services.

"Frau Plaznik Čanč has always distinguished herself in the Department of Health Sciences with her extraordinary dedication," explained Professor Dr Stefan Gress, Dean of the Department. "She demonstrates a level of commitment that goes well beyond contractual agreements. It was her own idea to expand the department's range of support services for international students and future students. Ms Plaznik Čanč is held in very high regard by fellow students. This is the feedback we get again and again," he reported.

In his laudatory speech, Prof. Dr Karim Khakzar also highlighted the personal challenges the prize winner overcomes. "Apart from her studies and social commitment, Ms Plaznik Čanč also faced the challenges of caring for her two children," he explained. "The pandemic had arrived by her second semester, which meant she also had to look after and home-school her children. Despite these difficulties, she has excelled in her studies and enriched the University with her perspectives. With her commitment and ideas, she is helping to shape our University. Thank you for your tireless efforts."

Fulda University of Applied Sciences has awarded the DAAD Prize annually since 1997. The award honours outstanding international students who are actively involved in promoting social and intercultural causes and at the same time achieve outstanding academic results.