⏳ 19.07.2023

Community is Everything; Here’s How we Build Ours at 42 Berlin

At 42 Berlin, our students have the autonomy to decide the pace and projects that make up their software engineering journey, but this does not mean they have to do it alone. Our peer-learning methodology puts community at the centre of everything. The encouragement of collaboration over competition is felt throughout every aspect of campus life, resulting in a more holistic approach to coding education that has seen connection on our campus thrive.

Hey, thanks for stopping by!

We can’t wait to walk you through a little piece of the 42 Berlin universe within the coming words. But before we dive in, let’s conduct a little thought experiment.

… Are you ready?

For just a few seconds, I want you to close your eyes and let the idea of a software engineer / coding come into your mind. Got it? Ok, now notice the images, scenes, labels that spontaneously come up when you paint a mental picture of these words / concepts.

Just let whatever comes to mind, stay in mind.

Once a clear image has formed you can open your eyes.

… So, what did you think of?

Our guess is that if we had to pop into someone’s thoughts as the idea of coding floats in, we probably would find something along the lines of: solitary human being sitting behind bright computer screens, endlessly scrolling through code, checking out youtube tutorials, and so on and so forth.

If you found yourself thinking of something pretty similar to this then maybe we’re telepathic. If you didn’t then, woohoo, maybe you’re already miles ahead of us!

Now, of course there is some truth to this stereotype; software engineering education is notoriously expensive and inaccessible, so it makes sense that many coders would learn in isolation from youtube videos and focus on independent learning projects in their own time and space. But when you take these skills into the working world and real life situations, the gaps in practical and interpersonal skills tend to pop up pretty quickly. This is where the 42 mission comes into things. One of our core goals is to provide high quality software engineering education for free, in a way that is accessible and promotes student well-being to the best of our ability.

At 42 Berlin we’re challenging the stereotypical idea of coding education through the method by which we teach. Well, we don’t actually teach. We implement a peer-learning methodology that allows our students to work together on projects and progress much more quickly than the average coder would do alone. Interpersonal skills, such as the receiving and giving of constructive feedback, are constantly improved upon and connection between students is a cherished facet of the course. Our peer-learning approach gives each student autonomy in their learning journey; they can go at their own pace and choose the projects that interest them the most. However, they have a network of peers always available to help them, work on group projects, share knowledge, and provide feedback and advice when they reach an obstacle. When students start their learning journey at 42 Berlin, we stress our core values. We give our students huge flexibility and freedom in their life on campus, we just ask for them to act in alignment with these sentiments that aim to ensure that purity of intention stays at the core of our campus activity.

This mindset extends far beyond the code. In fact, by just walking onto our campus you can feel the collaborative spirit that permeates all activities and creates the holistic community that is evolving on 42 Berlin soil everyday.

The result of this freedom and autonomy has been astonishing. By allowing each student to give back to the community in a way which feels true to them, our campus life is hugely diverse but, most importantly of all, authentic. From the creation of clubs, to communal clean ups, to yoga sessions, BBQs, student council, community meetings, and transparent feedback loops; we make sure each student can exercise their voice and their joy inside and outside of their projects.

To paint a more vivid picture of what the 42 Berlin community looks like in practice, we spoke to some students:

Florian, 42 Berlin Student, Member of the Sustainability Club:

“To me the cool thing is that everyone is on the same level, there are no hierarchies, which helps the students to bring in their own ideas. Everyone is involved, it is our school. I don’t just want to come to the school and be a student, I also want to shape the school a little bit.

The values are really important in daily life at the school. It doesn’t matter who brings in what initiative, as long as it aligns to the values we can just do it so that we have a good life here.”

Luis, 42 Berlin Student, Member of the Drone & Hacking Club:

“I was a professional helicopter pilot for 14 years in Brazil. Right now my life is in Germany and 42 Berlin has been a great opportunity for me. 42 has a great community with many nice clubs. I really feel like I met a lot of like-minded people and people with different goals so we can converge our interests.”

The holistic student experience is something which makes 42 Berlin pretty unique. Clubs, community meetings, transparent feedback avenues, collective tasks are just some of the ways we actively encourage our community to thrive. And through this, we see our students more engaged and therefore more fulfilled.

Community experience can make or break a learning experience and at 42 Berlin we do everything in our power to make sure that the community and support system you find with us is something that will not only improve the quality of your education, but your life as a whole.

To watch our Youtube miniseries episode that outlines this in full and get more details as to how we facilitate an active and holistic community, click here.

To find out more about how we are trying to revolutionise tech education, head to our website or send us an email at contact@42berlin.de.

Thank you for staying with us and exploring a fundamental part of the 42 Berlin learning spaceship.

Applications are open the whole year round. So if you think we could be for you – apply now.

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