Former scholarship holders from New Zealand talk about their experiences in Germany.

Ever since the mid-1950s, well over 700 students and academics from New Zealand have gone on a trip to Germany with the DAAD, some for a short stay of just a few weeks, others for months and years of study and research. Read about the experiences of these alumni from different fields, and from different periods in their academic careers.

See below for a selection of testimonials. For even more videos, see here.

Nicola Gaston

Nicola Gaston

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Elizabeth Eltze (2017)

PhD student at U Auckland
PhD in Ancient History, specialising in Egyptology

DAAD Research Stay for PhD students
3 months at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

more about Elizabeth's stay

Thanks to the generosity of a DAAD scholarship, I was able to undertake a 3 month research stay in Germany.

This stay allowed me to be able to work in person with my co-supervisor, Professor Angelika Lohwasser at the University of Münster. Prof Lohwasser is one of the foremost specialists in my field of PhD study, and having her input on my writing has had a significant and positive impact on the progression of my thesis.

My time in Germany also provided me with the opportunity to make connections with a variety of students and academics, and to attend a number of international conferences. This allowed me to make connections with and network with a variety of international scholars in my field and at other relevant academic institutions.

The opportunities for travel were tremendous, with the transport links both within Germany and from Germany to the rest of Europe being excellent. I was able to make several trips in Germany, allowing me to experience German food, architecture, and culture. The German cathedrals in particular are beautiful and very impressive! I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Germany, finding it rewarding both on an academic and a personal level.

Leo Cheng

Leo Cheng

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Thinh Le (2017)

PhD student at U Canterbury
PhD in language teaching and learning

DAAD Research Stay for PhD students
3 months at University of Chemnitz

more about Thinh's stay

My PhD research stay in Germany under a DAAD scholarship brought me great academic and cultural experiences.  This opportunity enabled me to share with and learn from other PhD students how to use technology for language teaching and learning, and participate in fortnightly seminars organised by Prof. Dr. Schmied on how to analyse data.

The skills I learnt at these seminars helped me to analyse my own data better. I also attended a corpus linguistics and digital humanities conference where I met other emerging researchers from Nigeria, Italy, Serbia, Ghana etc. Moreover, this was a great chance for me to present my research at the conference to get feedback from other scholars.

On the social life side of things, I participated in and contributed to a Vietnam and New Zealand night in which I shared my knowledge about New Zealand and my own culture, Vietnam. I also engaged in other events and enjoyed the local architecture of the historical churches and castles in Dresden, Görlitz, Chemnitz, Freiberg, Berlin and so on. Besides, the stay also me the opportunity to enjoy the real German culture with music and food.

My time in Germany was meaningful for me, both as a person and as a scholar, and filled with a lot of academic and cultural activities.

Catherine Chidgey

Catherine Chidgey

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Dylan Chambers (2016-2017)

Double degree Masters in Political Science at FU Berlin & Science Po Paris (2015-2016)

DAAD Graduate Study Scholarship
10 months at FU Berlin

more about Dylan's stay

My stay in Berlin as a DAAD scholar was highly enriching, personally and academically. Completing a master’s degree in Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin has allowed me to meet interesting people from around Europe and really expand my understanding of political and world affairs.

The DAAD provides excellent support for foreign students in Germany. I met one of my closest friends in the summer language course organised by the DAAD and I met other students from around the world at two DAAD gatherings during the year. The opportunity to mix with students of so many different backgrounds has been hugely rewarding.

Living in Berlin has allowed me to explore the youthful side of German culture. Berlin is a unique city with so many faces. There is always more to explore! It has also made it easy to visit the beautiful cities of southern Germany during my stay.

My German language skills improved by leaps and bounds in Berlin. It’s true what they say: you have to live the language to master it!

Jerry Yelich-O'Connor

Jerry Yelich-O'Connor

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Sarah Heslin & Favour Adesina (2017)

Conjoint students BA/LLB at U Auckland
German and Law

DAAD Winter Course in Leipzig
6 weeks intensive language learning

more about Sarah's and Favour's stay

We did our DAAD winter course at the InterDaF institute in Leipzig. The institute also organised trips to different cities during the weekend, and it had some of the best teachers we had ever met. They had a lot of passion for the subject, which really helped us to learn because we could also connect with them on that level. Due to the small classes each student was able to put forward suggestions on what grammatical content to go over. In class, it could get quite full-on in terms of the work we were doing, but we didn’t get much homework. At the same time, we were encouraged to also go outside of the classroom in order to explore more and experience the city firsthand.

Leipzig is a beautiful and friendly city, with a lot of heart and character, brimming with interesting buildings and attractions to visit. Still, it has a very homey feel. It wasn’t too busy and most of the people we encountered were very friendly and open.

Travelling to Germany is the absolute best way to improve one’s German. Being immersed amongst like-minded people and native Germans was the best encouragement we could have asked for.

Astrid Sandberg

Astrid Sandberg

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Adam Koifman (2016/17)

BA in German at U Auckland

PAD teaching assistant for 9 months
in Krefeld (near Cologne)

more about Adam's time as a PAD teaching assistant

I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship through the PAD to take part in a language teaching assistantship for nine months in Germany.

I was assigned to a Gymnasium in Krefeld in North Rhine-Westphalia and was instantly made to feel welcome by the staff and students as well as the family who hosted me until I found my own accommodation. The position of a teaching assistant encourages independence and self-direction and requires the assistant to take initiative to develop exciting and interesting classroom activities. For someone who is interested in entering the teaching profession, this programme offers a great insight into the day-to-day workings of a secondary school, as well as opportunities such as joining class excursions.

The location in the Rhine-Ruhr region allowed for excellent connections to cities such as Düsseldorf and Cologne as well as further afield to places like Berlin, Hamburg and the Netherlands.

Being immersed in a German-speaking environment greatly improved my language skills and this scholarship has opened doors for me, resulting in my current position of teaching English and German in Vienna.

Judith Geare

Judith Geare

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