James - International Winter University in Kassel

Bachelor of Engineering/Science
January 2017

My experience

I chose to participate in the International Winter University (IWU) set in Kassel, Germany. Kassel is a beautiful town that transforms into a winter wonderland over the course of the IWU. Set in the heart of Europe, it is conveniently placed for quick weekend trips to the neighbouring countries.I decided to complete this experience because I wanted to learn more about German culture. This program was one of only a select few that included a home stay component. This allowed me to learn about German culture first hand!

Another reason why I wanted to complete this experience, was the German language course. I started my journey to learning a new language in the country it is spoken – sehr gut! On top of all this, the program featured teachings by leading academics about renewable energies. Academically, as an Electrical Engineering student these teachings have become incredibly important. Right now, renewable energies are going to become a field of intense investment, and learning about the latest advancement in this field will become a huge asset.

But this program is not all academic! The program has a large social component with activities such as gingerbread house making, German dance, trips to Frankfurt and more. These allow you to meet people who are also in the program. This added another level of cultural exchange as these people were from all over the world.

My favourite memory from this experience would have to be the day where my host family took me sledding in a national park near Kassel. It was the first time I had ever seen snow. It was just an incredible experience. The forest was unlike anything we have here, and the sledding was super fun.

Overall the IWU is an incredible short term experience that gives participants a quick look at German culture, language and tuition in either advanced German culture or environmental engineering. It’s a trip that you will remember for a lifetime. This is the best thing I have ever done. It was an absolute joy – and I am sure you will love it too.