IS:link was developed as part of a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and led by Ulrich Frank. As a global network of renowned faculties of information systems, IS:link pursues the goal of promoting international student exchange in the Department of Business Information Systems. In particular, the network is dedicated to reducing the bureaucratic hurdles that otherwise make it difficult for students to plan and carry out a stay abroad: By cooperating with partner universities, these hurdles are not only avoided by actively shortening and simplifying bureaucratic paths through IS:link, but also by significantly reducing the costs of the semester abroad. In addition, the network aims to promote international academic cooperation in teaching and research between the participating universities.
For students, the obligatory stay abroad is initially associated with organisational issues that can be clarified in the course of counselling interviews. In preparation for the first counselling interview, students can find a guide with questions on the portal. These questions should be answered individually in advance in order to receive the most efficient possible advice. The first counselling interview should take place 1 year before the semester abroad in order to ensure sufficient time for the organisation. Considering the Erasmus application deadlines, the first interview with the IS:link team should take place in November at the latest. The focus of the respective counselling interview depends on the individual student. Experience shows that this pool of topics is discussed in depth: IS:link is therefore the contact for the following topics:
IS:link's continuous support and guidance of students begins with the first counseling interview, continues during the semester abroad and ends with the recognition of the stay abroad. In this way, the students and IS:link maintain contact with the IS:link team even during their studies abroad.
In addition to the advisory function, IS:link is also responsible for coordination. This refers mainly to study places at partner universities and course recognition.
As a global network of renowned universities, IS:link has different quotas of study places at partner universities, which are also managed by IS:link when applying via IS:link. This means that the nomination for the study place is done by the network. When applying via Erasmus, the nomination is made by the International Office. It should be noted, however, that the partner universities themselves ultimately decide on the acceptance or rejection of the nominee.
Students who spend their semester abroad at partner universities via Erasmus or IS:link will not have to pay tuition fees due to the cooperation. Freemovers are required to check individually whether there are reductions or waivers of tuition fees in their case, depending on whether they organize and complete their studies abroad in cooperation with another organization or on their own.
In addition, the bureaucratic effort for students is reduced by having IS:link check and approve the creditability of courses and achievements in a Learning Agreement by the examination board in advance. Thus IS:link acts as a bureaucratic interface between the foreign faculty and the University of Duisburg-Essen. It should be noted here that freemovers must also have the eligibility of their courses and services checked by IS:link before choosing a course and providing services.