As part of his Bachelor in Applied Management at Otago Polytechnic, Dean Cowie recently embarked on an exchange semester at Hochschule Harz in Germany. More formally known as the Harz University of Applied Sciences, this is situated in the small German village of Wernigerode.
While on exchange, Dean and his fellow exchange students – having come from the USA, South Africa, Morocco, Scandinavia, and all over Europe – quickly formed something of a family. Near the end of his semester in Germany, Dean wrote, “We’re here with common goals, we’ve had many classes together, and we’ve done so much together as a group that the only word left for us is family.”
His comfort zone safely tucked away back in Dunedin, Dean took the opportunity to embark on many new experiences, including being part of the dance put on by the exchange students as part of Harz’s International Evening.
On the academic side, Dean discovered a passion for a new subject, and was able to use an existing passion in a challenging environment. "I decided I’d best step up so I took on a leadership role.” This was for a paper called Project Management, where Dean scored a 1.0 – the highest possible grade. And that existing passion? Children. Dean needed thirty credits out of his semester, so he chose to get five of them for going to kindergartens and playing with the children.
Overall, Dean describes the trip as his greatest adventure thus far, but wouldn’t go back. “These kinds of experiences are about the people, not the places. And with having had a chance to go Berlin, Nuremberg, and Hanover – and further afield, Paris and London – I feel like I’ve done Europe. There’s a lot of other places left to see in this world.”