Studying at SGU Paved the Way for a Filipino Student to Pursue Career in Germany
Christian Alison M. Piolo, a Filipino citizen, who is also familiarly called Chris, has a strong interest in technology. Studying and working in Germany has been Chris’ dream since high school. For Chris, working in Germany is a valuable experience, because the country has an advanced level of technological application and innovation.
However, Chris was hesitant to go straight to Germany right after high school because he did not have sufficient German language skills. He learned that many of his seniors who immediately applied to study in Germany had to learn the language for a year and if within a year they do not pass the language test, they may fail to continue their studies in Germany.
“For me, it was too risky because if we do not pass the German language test, we will lose a year that could have been used for college,” he said.
While researching for universities, Chris found Swiss German University (SGU). The University offers a double degree program where he can study in Germany and receive a degree from a German university. Also, he would have two years to develop his German skills before leaving for Germany.
Chris chose to major in Industrial Engineering at SGU because the material studied in the program can help him adapt to the concepts to emerging technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality and etc. Moreover, SGU offers an industry-oriented curriculum where students are allowed the opportunity to experience studying and working as an intern in Germany.
“The internship program helps me better understand the courses that are given in class. For me, this is SGU’s advantage because it provides two internship opportunities – one in Indonesia and the other abroad,” he said.
In his 3rd semester, Chris was an intern for PT Darya-Varia Laboratoria in Indonesia as Supply Chain Support. After two years of hard work as an SGU Industrial Engineering student, Chris successfully passed the screening to continue his 6th semester in Germany. There, he took several courses in Fachhochschule Sudwestfalen and also became an intern for one of their research teams. The team was working alongside a German company where the results would be implemented to improve their factories’ performance.
One of his main tasks was to support the research team in developing a system that utilizes augmented reality for fault detection and maintenance of machinery. Chris assisted in CAD modeling of machines, 3D animation of the maintenance procedure, and lastly, research and development of the Hololens application.
Bachelor Thesis Research
Chris never fails to show enthusiasm in studying, continues to complete assignments on time, and cooperates well with the team. Being a member of the SGU Student Executive Board has made it easier for him to interact with different personalities. The professor leading the research was impressed with Chris’ performance and offered him the opportunity to do his bachelor thesis there.
“So during my 6th semester, I took the program in Germany and flew back to Indonesia for my 7th semester, and I returned to Germany in the 8th semester to do my bachelor thesis at Fachhochschule Sudwestfalen,” Chris said.
Chris conducted his bachelor thesis project at Fachhochschule Sudwestfalen and was also supported by Erasmus+ Scholarship for their International Credit Mobility program. The knowledge he obtained in Industrial Engineering, from Swiss German University and Fachhochschule Sudwestfalen, such as quality engineering and lean operations became his main contribution to the research project.
Chris planned to return to Indonesia after completing his bachelor thesis project in Germany and graduate with a double degree from Swiss German University and Fachhochschule Sudwestfalen in July 2020. However, the Covid-19 pandemic prevented him from doing so.
His supervisors then encouraged him to continue his Master’s degree in Systems Engineering at Fachhochschule Sudwestfalen instead.
At first, Chris was hesitant to accept the offer because the government regulation in Germany states that a student must have a blocked account of 10,000 euros if they want to stay in Germany for a certain period.
“My savings from the bachelors thesis were only half of that amount and I did not want to get financial support from my parents anymore,” he said. His supervisor then presented him with a position to become a Student Research Assistant in Automation Laboratory during his master’s studies.
“The requirement to have an account deposit of 10,000 euros can be removed if I have a salary that satisfies the monthly requirement. With the job offer from the lab, I was able to fulfill this monthly requirement and finally, I was able to continue my master’s studies,” Chris added.
Chris hopes that he can work in a German company after completing his master’s studies. “I hope to work here for about 10 years so that when I return (to Indonesia), I already have enough knowledge and experience to develop something there that relates to Augmented Reality,” he ended. ***