Franziska Weißbach successfully studied in the MINTgrün pre-study orientation program at Technische Universität Berlin in winter semester 2017/2018 and summer semester 2018. She started a Chemical Engineering degree in winter semester 2018/19. Here she discusses here experiences of the MINTgrün program as well as her degree.
Why did you choose to do a pre-study orientation program?
There are a number of reasons. I completed my schooling at 17. Many of my classmates at school either did volunteer work for a year or went abroad. Given this, the prospect of starting university at 17 and finishing in maybe just 5 years made me a little uneasy. On top of this, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to study. I knew I wanted to study but not what I wanted to study. Then my mother told me about the orientation program. I was already interested in chemical engineering and computer science and MINTgrün gave me the chance to find out more about them.
I was sure I wanted to study something in the area of natural sciences, mathematics, computer science or maybe technology as I had already learned a lot from my family background about natural sciences and engineering, what they are and what you can do with them.
Can you tell us three things about the MINTgrün program that make it special for you?
The freedom to choose from all the courses on offer at universities in the whole of Berlin. But also the fact that your life is not determined from the outset by one set of study regulations where all your modules and deadlines are laid out in a schedule. You can try things out, see what interests you. If you don’t like something, you can drop it. Something else I discovered: The wide range of options in MINTgrün attracts very different people. Really, there are all types of people in the program and that made it very interesting.
Is the makeup of students in Chemical Engineering less diverse?
A little, yes. Clearly people are interested essentially in chemistry. MINTgrün was different. I met people there who had no idea if they wanted to go to university or do a traineeship as a chef.
How does studying in the MINTgrün program compare with Chemical Engineering?
I took the MINTgrün program seriously and intentionally took exams and completed modules so that I could get an idea what studying in a full degree program would be like. So ultimately it wasn’t so different.
Did you have a favorite course in the MINTgrün program?
The mathematics courses for engineers are very popular in MINTgrün. That was something else I really enjoyed. Although for many people the main motivation is to see if they can keep up with the mathematics. I have to say I found most of the courses in my modules very interesting. It’s pretty difficult to single out one module.
Did you feel certain of your choice of degree after two semesters in the MINTgrün program?
I made my decision halfway through the second semester and then had a couple of months to review my decision, to see if I would maybe like to do something else after all. But that wasn’t the case, I was satisfied with my choice and stayed with it.
Is there a particular career you would like to pursue?
Yes, that of the classical chemical engineer. I would like to work in research and development, particularly in the development of new production processes for creating chemical products.
What makes TU Berlin special for you?
I like studying here at TU. I don’t have a great deal I can compare it with, but I can say that it is a big university with a wide range of options and that makes it interesting for me. It also has that certain flair which I associate with Berlin. TU Berlin belongs in this city.
How did your first semesters go?
I enjoyed them and with thorough planning and the experience I gained from the semester in the MINT program I was able to get through them successfully without any major problems.
Do you still feel your decision to study Chemical Engineering was the right one?
Absolutely. The longer I study, the more interesting I find the courses. Now we are dealing with aspects which are important for the career of a chemical engineer and not just the basics.
Did doing the MINTgrün program give you an advantage over your fellow students?
The fact that I was able to carry over some of the credit points I had acquired in the MINTgrün program meant that my schedule wasn’t as full. This made it possible for me to study abroad for one semester without having to think too much about whether the courses I did would be recognized for my degree program. I chose courses which were particularly interesting in the context of my study abroad and which allowed me to focus on all the benefits of studying in another country. We also found out a lot about how the University is organized during the orientation program, which gave me a good overview of all the options we have here at TU Berlin.