September 02nd 2021

Semester abroad in the German capital

DiBSE student Bernhard Auer reports on his temporary stay at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, HTW for short


DiBSE student Bernhard Auer reports on his exchange semester at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, HTW for short.
DiBSE student Bernhard Auer sightseeing in the German capital during his semester abroad. Photo: Bernhard Auer

"I wanted to take this chance," says DiBSE student Bernhard Auer. In the interview, our first DiBSE outgoing student gives us exciting insights into his semester abroad in Berlin.

  • Bernhard, as a DiBSE student, what made you decide to do a semester abroad?

Even at the beginning of my studies, I thought about the idea of doing a semester abroad. Since MCI and its partner universities offer a very easy way to study abroad, it was clear to me that I would like to take this chance. Each step into an unfamiliar environment causes a little discomfort, but the anticipation of gaining new and unique experiences ultimately outweighs it.

Originally, I also wanted to use this opportunity to try out a classic full-time study with face-to-face teaching - at that time, it was not yet clear that online teaching, as I was already used to from my DiBSE studies, would soon become the norm for (almost) all students worldwide for a few semesters. Regardless of the type of teaching, I was still able to get to know and try out the peculiarities and possibilities of a new university.

I am also particularly grateful to my employer, who made it possible for me to study abroad.

  • Why did you choose the HTW Berlin?

I had wanted to move to Berlin for a long time. HTW Berlin was the perfect choice for my exchange semester because there was already an existing partnership with MCI. The promising reports from previous exchange students also helped me make my decision. The courses offered at the HTW correspond to the DiBSE curriculum and are also very practice-oriented. The good networking between the business and technology courses definitely made me curious about new exciting teaching content.

Berlin is known for its huge (tech) start-up scene. I wanted to take the opportunity to dive into this world a little. I am especially grateful to my flatmate, who gave me the opportunity to get a comprehensive insight into the international start-up scene in Berlin and to get to know exciting personalities and concepts.

  • How does studying at the MCI differ from studying at the host university?

The course schedule at HTW is classic, which means that you enrol in the desired courses at the beginning of the semester. In the course of the semester you then attend the lectures and seminars, and at the end of the semester the corresponding exams are written in the two examination phases. Since students at the HTW have to register for courses themselves, they have a certain amount of choice. I found the cross-competency courses particularly interesting.

Studying at the HTW is also a face-to-face programme, with courses taking place on campus during the day. The large campus leaves nothing to be desired for students - there is even a beach on the Spree. Due to Corona, a large part of the courses nevertheless took place online.

DiBSE, on the other hand, is more modular - two fixed courses are always combined into one block. Only after a block has been completed does a new block begin. DIBSE is also much more job-friendly due to the online lectures in the evening.

  • Was it difficult for you to get your job and studying abroad under one roof?

I arranged educational leave with my employer for the time of the semester abroad. This allowed me a very flexible choice of courses at the university and a particularly intensive focus on the study content. Since I work in the software industry, ongoing training in current technologies is indispensable and desired by my employer.

Of course, this also left enough room for leisure activities.

If it's possible for students, I would definitely take advantage of the opportunity for educational leave or a marginal job during the semester abroad.

  • What was the greatest experience during your semester abroad?

Among all the great memories, it's difficult to pick out the "one" moment. I found the lively exchange between the students, which is also actively promoted by HTW Berlin with events, particularly cool.

A special highlight was definitely always enjoying the winter sunset over the roofs of Berlin from our shared terrace: a cup of mulled wine or punch and deep conversations with flat mates included. I was very happy to live in such a diverse city and to have met incredible people.

  • Do you have any tips for future outgoing students?

If family, professional and financial circumstances allow, I would advise every DiBSE student to take advantage of this unique opportunity of an exchange semester. Making new contacts, getting to know other cultures and the university exchange definitely let you take a step forward, personally and professionally.