Otago Polytechnic

Otago Polytechnic Engineering student Hanri de Bruin has just returned from a “truly amazing” international experience in Austria.

Hanri, who is in her second year of a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Electrical, specialising in Mechatronics), attended the International Summer Academy in Engineering for Women at the University of Applied Science Upper Austria in July.

“The Summer Academy has truly been an amazing and awesome opportunity for me. I can’t thank Otago Polytechnic enough for helping me get there,” Hanri says.

“I’ll most definitely be talking to my class-mates about my trip. I would really like to see more female engineering students take up this unique opportunity in the following years. I’m sure they would love it just as much as I have.”

The Summer Academy’s intensive, two and a-half week programme combined sophisticated theory with hands-on practical experience. In addition to the general programme, each participant chose a three-day specialised module in Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology or Computer Science and Informatics.

“I’m very interested in prosthetics – in particularly, bionic prosthetics. So, I was very excited when we had a lecturer come and teach us about both non-bionic and bionic prosthetics,” Hanri says.

“The whole session was amazing, but what made it better was the passion the lecturer had for helping his students learn as much as they could about this topic so that they could create businesses providing this type of technology at affordable prices.”

Inspired by the lecturer’s insights, Hanri returned to Dunedin in late July and immediately set in motion plans for a research and development company that, “hopefully, will be able to provide high-end bionic prosthetics to anyone who needs them”.

Hanri says the Summer Academy also exposed her to a wide range of cultures as well as a variety of engineering insights.

“It showed me how differently we might approach a task – which just shows me how important and beneficial it is to have that type of diversity in any engineering workplace.”

Hanri says there were also plenty of non-engineering experiences in Austria.

“Every weekend we had the chance to go somewhere new. We went to Salzburg, the home of the Sound of Music, and a few of us went to Prague, where there was a folk dancing festival happening.”

Hanri’s Summer Academy experience is another example of how Otago Polytechnic aims to prepare its graduates for the global workplace.

“Otago Polytechnic believes such experiences provide insights into the global contexts of the students’ studies,” Marc Doesburg, Director, Global Engagement, says.

“We cultivate opportunities for our students overseas to give them insights into other cultures, to experience cultural diversity and develop cultural competence.

“We educate out students for the global workplace, so we secure funding for them to undertake learning overseas.”

Read more about our Engineering programmes

Published on 21 Aug 2018

Orderdate: 21 Aug 2018
Expiry: 31 Dec 2019