Alumni Testimonials
and Stories


Taryn Culbert, Australia (Class of 2016)

“The Dual Degree Programme is the opportunity to be immersed in a nurturing, challenging and immeasurably rewarding educational framework. The combination of the World Heritage and Cultural Heritage curricula has allowed me to more fully comprehend the scope of heritage and the practical tools available for its protection. The cross-cultural learning environment has prompted me to critically reflect on the field, and to have a more heightened awareness of diverse perspectives and cultural contexts which inform it. Most significantly, the programme has fostered my pre-existing passions and interests, inspired me to discover new possibilities in the expanded field, and given me the confidence and vision to approach my future career in a more innovative and creative capacity.”

Ivan Enev, Bulgaria (Class of 2016)

“Imagine having a dream of a distant land – a dream that takes you back to your childhood: irrational, intensive, colourful and warm. Many years later you have left it behind, walking a path that seems to lengthen the distance between you and that blurry childhood dream. This was me and my dream of Australia, almost inherent to my mind – a dream or a memory? I cannot tell. Later on, my architectural education provoked me to start looking at my future from a different angle – rational, organised, sketchy, decorous... and local. This meant Bulgaria, or Europe at the very most. What eventually brought me to Australia, was my fascination with cultural heritage, with the charm of ancient sites and the mystery of agelong cultural traditions. Following a brief professional experience in the field of architectural conservation, I was fortunate to be accepted into the Dual Master’s Degree Programme (DMDP). Today I see this experience as a milestone in my development – both professional and personal; as a rewarding synthesis of multidisciplinary knowledge and transformative encounters with people, places and cultures.

The DMDP is based on a holistic academic approach, which seeks to combine the best practices from the European and Australian heritage field. It offers a rare opportunity for rich intercultural exchange at both academic and personal level. It has helped me gain a deeper and more comprehensive reading of heritage – one that more closely relates to UNESCO’s urge for inclusive and balanced approach in defining and promoting the topic. Somewhat unexpectedly, the DMDP has also given me the chance to compare different education methodologies and practical issues in the heritage field. Looking back at the curricula, I see that the disciplines “Intangible Heritage” and “Understanding Significance” were a great part of my motivation to apply for the DMDP – a whole new side to heritage for those, educated in the fabric- and authenticity-focused European approaches to defining and looking after heritage. And finally, amongst the greatest assets of the DMDP is the rather unusual combination of high academic standards and warm informal attitude of many lecturers and academic staff at both BTU and DU.”

Lea Brönner, Germany (Class of 2016)

“World Heritage Studies at BTU and Cultural Heritage at Deakin make a perfect match – you really get the best of two worlds. Cottbus’ trump card is its international environment, which allows you to challenge your worldviews and think about heritage from a variety of new perspectives, focusing on the more material aspects of cultural and natural heritage. Australia on the other hand gives you the opportunity to engage with fields such as intangible heritage and heritage interpretation. In addition to that, the opportunity to obtain two degrees and to spend half a year in the beautiful city of Melbourne really adds the icing on the cake.”

Tyler Whitmarsh, Australia (Class of 2016)

“As a career driven person, world-renowned heritage programmes, universities and lecturers was an unmissable opportunity. I am extremely thankful the Dual Degree is no ordinary Master’s degree as the first year alone has given me more experience than I ever thought possible! The constant support of a close knit (but huge) community of friends and lecturers has made living and learning abroad possible and incredibly exciting!”

Gabrielle Harrington, Australia (Class of 2017)

“My time at both BTU and Deakin University as part of the Dual Degree was the most incredible and life changing experience. I chose to pursue this programme because I am passionate about World Heritage and saw the potential for this programme to put me ahead of others in gaining a career in heritage. Coming from a background of archaeology, I have always had a passion for history and was really looking to enhance my understanding of cultural heritage management. This has been my academic focus for the duration of the degree especially this year, when writing my Master‘s dissertation on the management of the serial World Heritage property, the Australian Convict Sites.

Living and studying in at BTU in Germany for 7 months really opened my eyes to the diversity in cultural heritage practice. Through meeting so many students from all over the World with a passion for heritage I have made lifelong friends and began to understand just how complex heritage is.

As part of my experience in the Dual Degree, I also attended the ICOMOS 2017 General Assembly and learnt a great deal about international heritage pratice. As a result, I am currently a guest, co-editing an upcoming issue of ICOMOS Australia’s journal Historic Environment. This is a result of all the connections I made as part of the Dual Degree.”

Angela Jones, UK (Class of 2018)

“The dual degree programme was such an amazing other level to an already fascinating degree. Being part of the Cultural Heritage programme at Deakin University meant access to a wealth of expertise, rich class discussions and absorbing field visits.  I also managed to secure a place on the ICOMOS mentoring programme which is offered annually and really gets under the skin of heritage legislation in Victoria, heritage impact assessments and conservation management plans.  I also secured some awesome voluntary positions at 3 amazing World Heritage sites in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales; Port Arthur, Tasmania; and Shark Bay, Western Australia. Being part of the programme meant it was possible for me to experience urban, cultural, natural, marine and intangible world heritage values, which have rounded and expanded my enthusiasm and love of the field even further.”

Gayathri Hegde, India (Class of 2016)

“Considering that we were the first batch of students to be given the opportunity to be a part of the dual-degree programme, we took the opportunity in a heartbeat! The most enticing aspect of this was the complimentary study modules, which struck a perfect balance between tangible-intangible, euro-centric and value based aspects of heritage studies. While academia was a huge motivation to be a part of the dual-degree, the added perks of being in another country/continent and to be able to experience both life and heritage through different perspectives was extremely alluring. The flexibility in choosing the study modules allowed me to mould it to suit my needs.

Since BTU and Deakin is the hub of many World Heritage related activities, it was very accessible to be part of several significant heritage fraternity discussions and conferences, which imbibed a sense of belonging. As an intern at Port Arthur Historic Sites and Management Authority (PAHSMA) I was able to put my academic learning’s into practice at one of the most breath-taking locations in Australia. All said and done, the individuals who have been a part of the dual-degree journey were the ones who made it so remarkable. Cottbus being a small town has its many perks, a strong student community is one of them, allowing us to learn, appreciate and bond over innumerable multi-cultural gatherings; while Deakin beckons you to experience Australia through exploration.”

Alumni Stories

Gayathri Hegde,

“I am currently employed as a Heritage Conservator (Conservation and Heritage Management) with GN Heritage Matters, Bangalore, India. In working with different heritage sites, my job allows me to utilise the understanding and skills acquired through the dual-degree program. Notably in engaging with the World Heritage site at Hampi, I am able to employ a comprehensive ...

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Gabrielle Harrington,

“As I have just completed my dual Masters this June, I am currently looking towards expanding my practical experience in the heritage industry. Presently, I work as an Education Officer at the University of Sydney Museums an das a Curriculum Program Deliverer at Sydney Living Museums. As a result of my dual award experience I have discovered that I have a passion for ...

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Angela Jones,

“During my six month stay in Australia I made sure to take the opportunity to gather experience at some of the many World Heritage Sites Australia has to offer. I squeezed in three unique volunteer roles, in three completely different environments, each with distinct management systems.

The first was at the World Heritage Institute in Katoomba, in the spectacular ...

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Bethany Exiner,

“I am currently working for Archaeology at Tardis, an archaeological and heritage consulting company in Melbourne. I work on a number of projects around Victoria, undertaking sample and salvage excavations in accordance with the Cultural Heritage Management Plans.”

Alumni Wisdom:
Use the other students in the program for support. You will all be an invaluable comfort ...

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Lea Brönner,

Lea Brönner is a cultural officer, currently working in Cultural and Events Management at a retirement home in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. While her former experience was mainly based on intercultural exchange in an international context, she is currently trying to grasp the role and potential of intergenerational work in German society. She is interested in personal ...

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Laura Brandt,

“The dual award and especially my volunteering positions heavily influenced my choice of the research topic for my MA thesis. My experience in the dual award influenced and changed my area of interest for future career jobs. I’m currently working as a tour guide in two museums and together with a former classmate I also work on a project following a successful site ...

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