Storytelling in Times of Crisis and Change

An empty campus in the middle of the semester, limited contact all over the world, general cluelessness, travel restrictions at home and abroad. How can you study in the midst of a pandemic and its consequences? How do students in Germany and Jordan feel? What are their prospects, similarities, and differences? How can we learn from each other?

An ongoing international joint project with the University of Hamburg (UHH) has provided a way to reflect on this experience, from a variety of perspectives. Participants are a mix of lecturers, administrators and students from both universities. The Jordanian group that travelled to Germany in September 2021, was the first international delegation to visit the UHH campus since start the lockdown. And then a month later, in October 2021, the Hamburg group were guests of the GJU in Jordan.

The theme ‘alienation’ was explored in each setting, from perspectives of both the Humanities and the Social Sciences. Each place provided its own unique social, cultural, and geographical backdrop. The method of storytelling was used to examine the issues – a way to arrange and reflect upon experience. At the outset it was made clear that a product was the anticipated outcome of the exchange. And in the end, a second booklet has been produced! (

Product-based Learning is seldom a linear process, from idea to product. What may begin as a destination, may soon slide into hesitation and doubt. In hindsight, every step back and every step forward, every decision made, is an act of creative thought. The emerging texts become a means of thinking about experiences, of examining them, and of talking about them. Storytelling and Product-based Learning are important elements of a future-oriented and innovative Higher Education.  Collaborative research is continuing, and during the course of 2022 – 2023, the theme is “Transnational Service Learning in Contexts of Higher Education”.