Dating back to 1980s, Hefei University (HFU) has a history of international collaboration and communication over 3 decades. In 1985, Anhui Province and Lower Saxonyin Federal Republic of Germany (former West Germany) settled down the cooperation agreement as twin provinces, which defined the cooperation between HFU and universities focusing on applied sciences in Lower Saxony as inter-provincial cooperation on education programs that were greatly highlighted by the German government. As one of the two universities focusing on applied sciences aided by West Germany, HFU received non-reimbursable assistance of 4 million Deutsch Marks from Lower Saxony, among which 3 million DM was spent for the establishment of laboratories and 1 million DM for training faculty and developing programs. Universities focusing on applied science including Hannover University, Osnabrück University, University of East Frisianand, and University of Hildesheim in Lower Saxony respectively cooperated with HFU in launchingmajors such as mechanical and manufacturing engineering, electronics technology, biological engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, economics, and business administration. With the support from Germany, a series of labs were established and over 70 teachers came to Germany for further study. Meanwhile, supported by the loan from World Bank, HFU sent more than ten teachers to study in countries such as the United States. Today, most of them have become the backbone in handling school matters, playing the key role in teaching, doing research as well as developing majors and disciplines.

      Since the late 1990s, HFU’s collaboration with universities in Lower Saxony has gradually evolved from previous one-way support to HFU to exchanges in the fields of teaching, academic research and talents cultivation, which led to some achievements. And the 21st century saw a wider cooperation between HFU and universities in Lower Saxony. HFU has signed cooperative agreements with all the universities of applied sciences in Lower Saxony. Following the models of 2+3 and 3+1, it collaborates with its German counterparts to cultivate talents in the fields of mechanical engineering, electronics, computer science, architecture, management, and German language and literature, ushering in the deepened international cooperation and exchanges in large scale and all aspects. According to incomplete statistics, professors from Lower Saxony have given lectures and organized research activities at HFU totaling more than 400 times. Besides, 20 German professors teach German in HFU all year round, and each year about 60 professors from Germany give lectures at the university. Among them, 8 experts have received Huangshan Friendship Award from Anhui provincial government. Professor Nelles and Professor Horn won Chinese Government Friendship Award in 2011 and 2015 separately. What's more, more than 600 German students have come to HFU for completing their theses, designing curriculum with HFU’s students, or having a short-term language training.  300 faculty members and 1600 students at HFU have pursued their further study at universities of applied sciences in Germany. In its cooperation with the universities in Lower Saxony, HFU has successfully applied for the EU-Asia Chain program and the DAAD project (German Academic Exchange Service) and established Center for Sino-Deutsch Environmental Technology Transfer. Meanwhile, HFU has extended its cooperation to the universities of other states in Germany, concluding agreements with Heilbronn University, Reutlingen University, and the University of Rostock. It has also reached agreements with Auburn University and Fachhochschule Kufstein Tirol in Austria. In the cooperation with Hannover University of Applied Sciences, HFU developed a 3+1 program in 2010. Three jointly-running programs, namely, logistic management, machinery design manufacture and automation, and industrial design were approved by Ministry of Education of China in 2010, 2012 and 2013 respectively.

HFU signed the cooperative agreement with Hanseo University in 1998, since then, its collaboration with universities in South Korea has been well developed. Now HFU has reached agreements with 15 universities in South Korea: Hanseo University, Hainan University, Pai Cai University, Seoul National University, Soonchunhyang University, Cheju Halla University, Hanbat National University, Hallym University, Gyeongin National University of Education, Konyang University, Hanyang University, Hyupsung University, Sejong University, Sangji University, and Pukyong National University. Since 2006, three programs in cooperation with Hanseo University have developed well, which are teaching Chinese to speakers of other languages (2+2), information security management (1.5+1.5), and tourism management. In addition, the 2+2 Korean program in cooperation with Soonchunhyang University started to recruit undergraduates from 2007. From 2009, the university reformed the program of teaching Chinese to speakers of other languages (2+2), sending students to Hainan University and Hallym University for their last two years' study. Up till now, HFU has sent many faculty members to South Korea to teach Chinese or study for a degree, and it has also sent more than 1500 students to study there. Meanwhile, each year more than 60 South Korean students study Chinese or for a degree at HFU. More than 10 South Korean lecturers teach Korean at the university all year round. Among them, two have won Huangshan Friendship Award. Zhao Chenghui (), one of the two winners, has also been offered Chinese Government Friendship Award because of her outstanding contributions to the friendship between China and South Korea. In 2013, she was awarded the honor ‘The Most Favorite Foreign Teacher of Chinese Students’.

Apart from its collaboration with above universities, HFU also cooperates with Kurume University in Japan, Northern Arizona University in the United States, Universitat Politècnica de València in Spain, Politecnico di Torino and Instituto Tecnico Superiore in Italy, Dublin Institute of Technology in Republic of Ireland, Université de Besanon Franche Comté in France, and Ming Chuan University in Taiwan, which leads to a multi-level and multi-faceted cooperation with other universities. The cooperation and exchanges with other countries and regions lasting more than 30 years not only enriched HFU’s teaching aims and its goal of cultivating talents capable of applying their knowledge into practical use, but also consolidated the teaching positioning of being global and greatly improved its education quality.