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A future in International Energy Economics – Hermann’s story


Hermann: Protecting the planet with a degree in International Energy Economics

I caught up with Hermann via a video call and, apart from his time studying abroad at Western Sydney University, I knew nothing about him. By the end of our conversation, I was astonished at how much he has already fitted into his 22 years. I asked him about his current degree in International Energy Economics.

“I’m currently studying International Energy Economics at the University of Applied Sciences in Ulm, southern Germany. As the name suggests, it’s a combination of computer science (data analytics, mostly), energy engineering and business studies relating to the energy sector. I completed my sixth semester abroad at Western Sydney University in Australia, now in my seventh semester. I’m currently writing my thesis with my bachelor’s degree graduation in March.

“My semester abroad made me want to continue using my English, so I’m currently working as a Student Assistant at the International Office. Because I was an international student myself, I can empathise with the internationals here. I know how it feels, being in a new country and some of the difficulties that can cause, so I can help them.”

Why study International Energy Economics?

Hermann’s enthusiasm for his chosen field was striking. I wondered why he chose to go in this direction, and if he had ever considered anything else. It was towards the end of his high school studies that he chose the energy sector, making a big shift from his previous plans.

“At the very beginning I wanted to become a banker; you could say I was just after the money! But then a visiting professor from The Biberach University of Applied Sciences delivered a presentation in my school about renewable energy sources. He talked about sustainability and how we need to protect the environment, using my home region as an example. It changed everything.

“I’m from a town that’s really close to nature. Five minutes by bike and you’re outside in the forest or you can go swimming in the lake. I realised that the professor was right – we have beautiful landscapes here, close to the Alps and close to Lake Constance. It’s beautiful, it’s green and there is so much nature. His presentation reinforced the importance of protecting all that, rather than running off to chase the money. I think I was only two or three weeks from my final exams when I switched. I was about to enter a programme offered by Deutsche Bank but that persuasive and inspiring talk made me change my mind.”

Find out more about Hermann’s time as an international student in Australia.

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From Germany to Sydney: Why Hermann chose to study business abroad


Hermann is in his final year studying at the University of Applied Sciences in Ulm, Germany. He chose to study Business abroad in Australia for a semester at Western Sydney University. This is his story.

Why study abroad in Australia?

“I really wanted to study business abroad, so I started doing some research on universities overseas. Personally, I didn’t want to stay in Europe and so I decided on somewhere different – Australia. Being in the city was also a big thing for me. So I was looking at studying in either Melbourne or Sydney. I came across Western Sydney University and I really liked the look of it. It also offered some good study scholarships as well, so that was a bonus.

“I used an organisation called GOstralia! that helps students travel to Australia and New Zealand to study. They were great, and they made the application process pretty straightforward. I sent them all the application forms and then they went through them to check that everything was right. Then they send everything to the university and afterwards, I got my letter of acceptance!

hermann and friends“Western Sydney University contacted me directly via email, then I was able to say yes or no. It was pretty simple. Then I just had to pay the tuition fees and choose my units. Afterwards, I got support from Isis Kowaliauskas and Rohan McCarthy-Gill in the International Department at the university. They provided video conferences explaining everything about the university – things to know, what stuff to bring with us from home and so on.

“I chose to study business, which is taught at the Parramatta Campus. This is where I took most of my classes – modules such as ‘Creating Change and Innovation’, ‘Business, Society and Policy’ and ‘Psychology: Human Behaviour’. These units are not necessarily related to my field of study back home in Germany, where I’m an engineering student. But I wanted to try out something new, and I thought technology and business were some interesting subjects.”

Why study business at WSU?

“In terms of the course, there was a wide selection of units to choose from. I wanted to use my semester overseas to do something new, working in areas that I’m not that confident in and will be useful in the future. This was the main reason I chose to study business abroad. I’m really interested in the field of entrepreneurship so I did ‘Business, Society and Policy’ and ‘Creating Change and Innovation’.

“The courses I chose were really good and really interesting. They were delivered through a mixture of lectures and seminars and tutorials. But besides that, there were a lot of assignments such as writing essays, group reports, quizzes, doing presentations, etc. You actually have to do a lot of work throughout the semester, which we don’t necessarily do in Germany. It was actually quite good because it encouraged you to learn. In Germany, you just have one exam at the end of the semester, and everything depends on that single exam.

“The teaching staff at the university were very good, but it was different compared to the bigger universities in Germany. At home, you can sit in a lecture theatre with 300 students and no interaction with the professor. So you feel more afraid to ask questions because of the group size. When I went to study business abroad at Western Sydney, it was a really nice experience, similar to being back in school with smaller groups of 30 or 40 people. The professors were also different – in Germany, a lot of professors at universities focus on doing research, so their teaching styles are not very good. But in Australia, you could really see that the professors cared for you and they wanted you to learn – a slightly more personal touch.”

Find out more about Hermann’s time at WSU and travels to Southeast Asia.

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Ligia’s study abroad experience in Australia


Ligia is a marketing professional working in Sydney. She came to Australia from Brazil to study her MBA at Western Sydney University. This is her study abroad experience.

Do you want to study abroad in Australia? Ligia has put herself through plenty of challenges as an international student and emerged from them all triumphantly. We caught up with her to chat about her time as an international student in Australia, and the events in her life that got her there.

Putting family first

The first thing Ligia wanted to talk about in our interview was her family and what they mean to her, which speaks volumes about the kind of person she is.

“I think firstly I have to mention that I have a “special” brother. His name is Vitor and he was born with cerebral palsy. I am just starting off with this because this makes my family’s dynamic slightly different from everyone else’s. I’m very attached to my family. It may sound cliché, but everything that I do is based on what’s better for them, not just for me.”

family graduation photo
Family graduation photo

Throughout our interview, these remarks hold special significance as it becomes clear just how much Ligia missed being close to family and to Brazil. Illustrating just how determined and resilient she is. Ligia has been familiar with the world of business from an early age as her dad works as a customer success manager for an insurance company in Brazil. She quickly realised that she needed to do something that would earn her enough money to support her family. But she also wanted a good job, a career and to uphold her commitment to them.

“I chose to do my bachelors in Brazil when I was 17 and straight out of school. So I started studying at a great private college called ESPM, which translates as ‘Superior School of Advertising and Marketing’. I did an undergraduate course in Advertising and Marketing, which is consistently ranked as one of the best in Brazil. I guess everything started there in terms of my career and my relationship with business and marketing.”

Find out more about Ligia’s MBA at Western Sydney University.

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Ligia’s MBA in Australia – Western Sydney University


Ligia graduated with an MBA from Western Sydney University in 2018. She now works in Sydney as a Marketing Manager. This is her story.

Why an MBA in Australia?

I studied a degree in Communications, Advertising and Marketing in Brazil, but what I really wanted to do was study English in Australia. So I did, and after four months in Australia, I started studying for a diploma in Business. Then I realised that if I wanted to stay in Australia, I had to enrol on a postgraduate course in order to qualify for a visa. So, I decided to just go for it and apply for an MBA.

I had wanted to do a Masters anyway because it was the next level for me after my degree in Brazil, so it seemed like the next step. I also wanted to stay in Australia because I knew it would offer me a lot of opportunities in terms of working and career progression.

Check out our reasons why you should complete an MBA programme.

Why Western Sydney University?

I made contact with Isis Kowaliauskas – a fellow Brazilian who works for the international department at the university. She has now become a colleague, but at the time we met through a Facebook post in one of the Brazilian communities. After looking at her Facebook post about Western Sydney, I knew I wanted to go there and see what it was like. In the beginning, it was just what I needed because I didn’t know anybody else. She was so sweet and helpful. She introduced me to the whole university and the whole course and everything. And then I said, yes, that’s where I want to do my masters.

I went through all the modules and did all the research, and then I went to the campus and could immediately see myself studying there. It was like falling in love. I know that sounds romantic, but that’s what happened: it felt right. I think it was the biggest factor for me because I’m very into feelings – they are important when making choices.


Then there were the practical reasons. I’d say that Western Sydney University was the most cost-effective out of Sydney’s biggest unis (UTS, Sydney University, the University of New South Wales and Western Sydney). Among these, in terms of price, it was the best option. Western Sydney University also offers scholarships for international students, as well as their public scholarships. I was nervous but it was like any university thing, I needed to just go for it. So I applied to try and be the lucky one, and I was!

Click here for our top 5 government-funded scholarships for international students.

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