Spending a semester abroad in New Zealand

Michael Maier in front of mountains in new zealand

Michael Maier is a former apprentice at Kathrein SE and is currently completing dual studies at the Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences. There, he is studying mechanical engineering and is also working in research and development in the Products division at Kathrein. In order to improve his English and gain experience abroad, he went to New Zealand for one semester. Here is his experience report:

I chose New Zealand as it is an English speaking country. It is also too far away to be visited for only a short term. Moreover, New Zealand is a beautiful country. I organised the semester abroad myself with the help of IEC. IEC is an online platform with an office in Berlin, which assists freemovers free of charge in organising their university placement. On the side of Kathrein SE, Wolfgang Mummert, Maria Weber and Florian Waldschütz supported me.

Studying

Studying at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) is similar to studying at the Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences. The main difference is that assignments over the semester count about 40% of the total mark and that there are mid semester tests. The atmosphere at the university is very good. People are very helpful and AUT provides help for nearly everything. The professors are addressed by their first name and most of them are very helpful as well. AUT has many international students. This gave me an insight into different cultures. It was easy to find people to study with, even though I attended papers from higher semesters.

I took four papers, which, in New Zealand, is a full-time semester. One of the subjects I had chosen was Mechanisms and Dynamics of Machinery. The first part of this subject focused on vector calculations and the second part on important mechanical components like gears and cams. In Product Design, we learnt which important steps to take for developing. This paper came very close to what I am doing at Kathrein, which is helping to develop new components or products. Furthermore, I took Control Engineering and Introduction to Microcontrollers. The papers are acknowledged by the Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences and in this way help me for my final degree.

Travelling

New Zealand is a truly amazing country. On weekend trips, in the semester break and four weeks after the semester I was able to travel around. On the South Island, the west coast and Queenstown are most impressing. On the North Island, I would recommend to see Coromandel and Mount Taranaki. The people in New Zealand are very friendly and helpful. On one weekend, I attended a Noho Marae, a sleepover at a traditional Maori house. During this time, Maori people showed the international students their culture. It was a great weekend and we even learnt to dance the famous Haka.

Summary

My stay in New Zealand helped me to improve my English a lot. It was a very good experience and I got to know a lot of people from all over the world.I would like to thank the Max-Weber-Programm for funding the main costs, Wolfgang Mummer, Maria Weber, Florian Waldschütz as well as my mentor Dominik Lüdt for supporting my plans, the IEC online platform for helping me to organise my stay and finally Kenneth Holt, who supported me at AUT. Even though I am happy to be home again, I would definitely recommend a semester in New Zealand.