His bags are not quite packed yet but Napier based Mitchell Collister is ready for a big overseas adventure. Mitch, as he is widely known, is in his last year of a Bachelor of Computing Systems at the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT). Being one of EIT’s outstanding students the 24-year-old has been awarded a Faculty Dean’s Study Abroad Scholarship.
In September the scholarship will take Mitch to the beautiful Bavarian city of Regensburg, Germany. Based at the Regensburg University of Applied Sciences, Mitch will undertake a paid internship, the last milestone of his degree. He has already touched base with the power engineering company that he will be working for. “I’m thrilled to be given this exciting opportunity. The scholarship will pay for airfares and as I’m staying in a student accommodation the costs will stay within reason.”
“I’m super interested about immersing myself in a different culture, and being part of a group of international students will add even more to it,” says Mitch.
Mitch took a roundabout route to his academic success. After finishing high school he went to Pennsylvania to work as a counsellor at a summer camp for children who suffer from Type 1 diabetes like himself. After that Mitch travelled from New York to L.A. and then returned to New Zealand where he worked for two years in a store-house. “But I was always interested in IT and that’s why I finally decided to enroll. It was the best decision of my life.”
Faculty of Commerce and Technology executive dean, Fred Koenders is particularly pleased that Mitch is the inaugural scholarship winner. “Both Education New Zealand and EIT wish to promote more global citizenship and this scholarship is one way for EIT students to gain both study and cultural experience in Germany.”
“EIT has formal partner relationships with six universities in Germany and we are pleased that Mitch will be going to Regensburg. The University of Regensburg has sent many students to EIT and this is a chance for EIT to reciprocate.”
“EIT lecturers have also taught courses at the University of Regensburg. The relationship is strong,” says Mr Koenders.
In addition to German universities, EIT maintains strong relationships with an array of universities and polytechnics in Japan, Italy, Malaysia and China. Recently EIT representatives flew to China to celebrate the graduation of 80 Qi Lu University of Technology students who completed a joint wine science programme. EIT’s School of Viticulture and Wine Science has invested large efforts in establishing this partnership. Examples like these show how academic exchange opens up exciting opportunities for both students and teachers.
Mitch has no doubt that spending a semester in Germany will be a once in a lifetime experience. Currently he is doing an internship with digital technology company Fingermark in Havelock North. “I hope that I will be able to return there after I come back from Europe.” However, he can’t hide his excitement about leaving soon. “I’m big on German cars,” he smiles. “And I’m looking forward to going to Oktoberfest in Munich, a must-do for every exchange student.”