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Hi, I am Jérôme,

After school, as many, I was very unsure what I want to learn. Who is only interested in one field? Luckily, I was and still am interested in many topics. And even more luckily, I never regretted studying mechanical engineering in my Bachelor, even though it is certainly not my
single passion. Currently I am studying chemical engineering in my Master at RWTH Aachen University. Personally, I think, most humans are not designed to only build a deep understanding and expertise in one field. We are curious, we change a lot for good, and we are highly adaptable creatures, also in our minds. And there are so many opportunities to explore while studying, such as engaging in a local NGO driving social and political progress, applying theory in a part-time job as a research assistant at university, or joining Unitech to learn more about the glue (in-)between teams, theory & practice, academia & industry. Of course, there are infinitely many more opportunities, these are simply the ones I took.

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What attracted you to apply to the UNITECH programme?

Searching for study abroad opportunities, I learned about Unitech. Beside the interesting
academic partners, I liked the idea of collecting more practical experience and get some more
orientation for my future field of work through an internship abroad. Also, it is a fantastic chance
to improve your language skills, which also was an important factor for me.

What did you enjoy most about your experience in the UNITECH programme, and how has the programme helped prepare you for the next steps in your career?

As expected, I enjoyed my year-long academic exchange at Loughborough University. In many
ways my host and home university differ much. During my year in England, I learned a lot about
working in teams and had a very different life than in Aachen. Frankly, I cannot say which
university, teaching system, and student experience I like better, but I am certainly grateful that I
got to know both. Getting to know things broadens your horizon or more concretely often helps
you to reveal your own preferences in a bigger pool of possibilities. My hope is that the
additional experiences from my studies in Loughborough and my internship which I am looking
forward to, will help me gain orientation for my future career.

Tell us more about your Academic Exchange? Where was your academic exchange? What did you enjoy the most? Which subjects were the most challenging or interesting?

Loughborough University is a beautiful campus university in the middle of England. The university offers many small courses, giving you the chance to engage with the lecturers. Moreover, many modules keep you busy during the semester with coursework, which are often done in teams. Through those I learned a lot about teamwork and collaboration on a professional level.

The most challenging subject for me was “biotechnology and genetic engineering” because it
was a totally new field and unfamiliar content to me. Even though or maybe precisely because I
had difficulties following the biology-rich content with my very technical engineering perspective.
Here I learned more than in every other single module. Our very invested lecturer organized a company visit in Wales for us which was super interesting. Moreover, he managed to connect
the very theoretical contents with actual biotechnology research methods by inviting a guest lecturer from the industry.

During the course I also learned a lot about studying effectively and how to add value with limited or transferred knowledge – you do not need to know everything to do a good job, especially when working together in teams.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your field?

What do you study for? Most people learn to gain skills which are required for jobs they are
interested in. Looking back, many graduates admit that most skills they need to do their job well,
they did not learn at university. Now please do not get me wrong, your acquired hard skills will
make some things easier, you definitely need your certificate, and you most of all need the meta
and soft skills which you have inevitably learned along the way in order to be successful at
university. What do I mean by meta skills? For instance, learning how to learn well. What do I
mean by soft skills? Basically, learning how to interact with people in every potential situation in
the best way. Studying will probably provide only one part of the skills you need to excel in your
work life. For gaining the remaining meta and soft skills you must reach out and take some of
your time to explore opportunities which attract you. Try to find those which suit you as an
individual. And this can also happen naturally, maybe just try not to suppress your interests,
give in to them from time to time, allow yourself to flourish. In my mind a wide spectrum of
experiences is the key to light your way and find your path.

Did you ever hear of someone who regretted trying out a bunch of things and giving in to his
interests on a professional level when he had the chance to? Maybe – but not often I would
guess. However, the other way around sounds more familiar, does it not?

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