Alumni Testimonials
and Stories


Laura Roa smiling standing in front of the Royal Exhibition Building World Heritage Site in Melbourne

Laura Roa, USA (Class of 0)

(Heritage Dual Degree 2023-2024)

I am incredibly grateful for every experience the Dual Degree program made possible. Not only have I been able to implement my interests in my academic pursuits, but I have also gained valuable practical skills and made inspiring connections with professionals at all levels and from a variety of backgrounds.

Find out more about Laura's experience of the Dual Degree here.

Image of Olivia Chin smiling in a snowy landscape

Olivia Chin, Malaysia (Class of 0)

(Heritage Dual Degree 2023-2024)

The Heritage Dual Degree gave me the chance to study in Europe for 6 months, to experience the culture there and learn about heritage from another perspective, but also mainly to experience life. That was really good because I had this chance to experience life as a “local” and to gauge whether this is a place that I would want to find work and settle in. 

We also get degrees from the two universities at the end so that was really attractive.

Read more from Olivia here.

David Felipe Acosta Rojas, Colombia (Class of 0)

(Heritage Dual Degree 2021-2022)

My time during the Dual Degree has been quite interesting, to say the least. I have experienced it in a different way and along the way, I have strengthened relationships with the community of heritage students.

During the first trimester at Deakin, the biggest change was the rhythm of online learning. Practically, it has allowed me to be involved in a learning environment with all the resources and tools to freely move back and forth among the themes and topics of the units. With the units of Digital Interpretation and Intangible Cultural Heritage, there was a rich amount of content to examine and explore at different stages of the trimester.

Through my previous experience as a museum professional, I had not been a big user of technology and media strategies. The unit of Digital Interpretation was an exciting opportunity to think and explore further upon communication strategies that contribute to expand museums and enhance exhibition experiences. I enjoyed this unit and the approach to museums from a creative perspective and the imagine possibilities that are facilitated through digital media.

I am looking forward to keep being creative and explore more topics in the next trimester.

Jaclyn Chua, Singapore (Class of 2023)

(Heritage Dual Degree 2021-2022)

My time in Melbourne has been really enjoyable so far. The course load is light and there’s a lot of online and independent learning. As such I made the decision to live closer to the city so that I could explore more of it. The neighbourhood I live in called Brunswick has a really bohemian vibe and I really find myself fitting in quite nicely. 

What I really enjoy most is the everyday small adventures and routines that I have made for myself in this lovely city. I’ve got myself a second hand bike and spend most of my days touring the lovely suburbs and parks, going to farmers and craft markets, op shops (a local name for second hand thrift stores), vintage shops, discovering new cafes, trying all the world cuisine Melbourne has to offer and enjoying the never-ending choices of local arts and music events. 

Some of the girls in the dual degree programme are also in the same shared house and we’ve gotten quite close. It’s a really lovely time getting to know them and going for day trips with them as well. 

Whilst we do not spend a lot of time in campus, when we do it tends to be quite memorable. I remember the most fun I had was during a lesson in the intangible cultural heritage course where some researchers were brought in to talk about the heritage of childhood and play. They had a touching presentation on documenting children’s play and private worlds that have resulted due to the corona pandemic. They also were very sweet and showed us some of the toy collections they had and let us relive our childhood by playing with them for awhile. I also had the rare opportunity of being exposed to Australia ICOMOS through a mentorship program and a field trip at a rail workshop and museum. I am looking forward to observing the professional field in heritage in Melbourne through my mentor.

Susia Kartika Imanuella, Thailand (Class of 0)

(Heritage Dual Degree 2021-2022)

Going into the cultural heritage sector and committing myself fully to this profession is not an easy decision. The most common challenge is when people think that studying cultural heritage would not lead to a suitable career. The study of cultural heritage, particularly intangible heritage, is not widely known, particularly in my home country, Indonesia. This strikes me as odd, considering Indonesia's vast and diverse cultural heritage. When I was interviewed for a scholarship program, two interviewers kept repeating the same question: what kinds of jobs can you pursue by studying cultural heritage?

During my studies at BTU and Deakin University, I became aware of the enormous possibilities for a cultural heritage practitioner to engage in a wide range of disciplines. To be more specific, as part of the study programme at Deakin University, we have visited various museums and art galleries to observe how these institutions have developed in the digital age, particularly in terms of altering the visitor experience as one of the outcomes of collaboration between heritage practitioners and communities.

In addition, as heritage practitioners or academics, we may apply the concepts and ideas that we've learned to assist communities in safeguarding or revitalising their cultural heritage, which is also a topic I'm interested in. I believe that studying cultural heritage provides a variety of career opportunities in many sectors and the capacity for its academics to establish or develop their own careers creatively.

Linda Riefling, Germany (Class of 0)

(Heritage Dual Degree 2021-2022)

The first three months of my stay in Melbourne showed me the vibrance and diversity of this Australian metropole in many ways. The city is surprisingly green - and quite colourful now in autumn -, rich in cultural events and festivities of any kind, full of stories, good food and interesting fellows.

There is one place in particular, where I could find all those characteristics combined to perfection: The Heide Museum of Modern Art @heidemoma. This beautiful property was once home to John and Sunday Reed who played a major rule in establishing and supporting the modern art and literature scene in Melbourne, and whole Australia, by hosting and partly financing impactful artists like Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, Mirka Mora, Sam Atyeo, Arthur Boyd and many more of the so-called Heide-Circle.

The couple purchased Heide (short form of "Heidelberg", the neighbouring community of Bulleen where the museum is located today) in 1934 and turned it into a true paradise which visitors may explore till the present day. There are kitchen and healing gardens, expressionistic sculptures throughout the freely accessible park and of course the art galleries that used to be the Reed's homes as well.

I have the great opportunity to volunteer at this beautiful place, full of history and memories. This volunteer position is an insightful practical experience that complements my study programme of "Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies" at Deakin University in a joyful and memorable way

Bisrat Kebede, Ethiopia (Class of 0)

What is the role of Heritage professionals? 

This is one of the questions we ask ourselves the most when we are in the heritage field, and today we want to share with you what our #HeritageDualDegree Alumni Bisrat shared with us on the topic. 

"We are working with the local people wherever we go. We have to know that they are the experts, and we are just helpers". 

Bisrat, who currently works with @Unesco #Ethipia as an intern, started the #HeritageDualDegree at #BTU in the World Heritage Studies' Masters Degree, and in 2020 he made his exchange at Deakin, where he went deep on the importance of communities. For him, communities are the base of #Heritage. 

Watch this clip of Bisrat, and stay tuned for his full interview: 

Isabelle Rupp, USA/Austria (Class of 2022)

Meet Isabelle Rupp (@isabelle_cr ).

She is Austrian-American and grew up in different countries like the USA, Jordan, Sudan, Germany and France. She is a citizen of the world!. Isabelle studied an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Classics in the United States and was working in South Korea for a year.

In 2019, she entered the Master of Arts in World Heritage Studies at #BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg. She was one of five selected from 2020 to pursue the dual program in heritage in Germany and Australia. She travelled to Melbourne in March 2020 and experienced the first wave of #COVID19 there with her BTU colleagues.

After this experience in Deakin, museum-related classes are her favourite, and her idea of Heritage has been expanded, as she now has a perception of the Asia-Pacific region.

Find out more about her experience in the #heritageDualDegree during the Pandemic and why she decided to delve into the Heritage field. 

Loredana Scuto, Italy (Class of 2020)

  • Origins: Catania, Italy
  • Home University: BTU Cottbus - Senftenberg
  • Exchange year: 2018
  • Graduation year: 2020

"I have always been fascinated by culture and heritage since I was a kid. I would spend all my time drawing, painting and going to exhibitions with my dad. Therefore, the decision to pursue a career in heritage came with no surprise. In order to 'spice things up', I decided to incorporate an economic component to culture, and as of today, I am extremely grateful I took this decision." - Loredana


Look here how Loredana's concept of Heritage changed after the #HeritageDualDegree here. 

Desirée Buentello Garcia, Mexico (Class of 2020)

Travel across the world to do the #HeritageDualDegree? That's exactly what Desiree Buentello from Mexico did. It's a great day to say ¡Hola! to our Alumni of the Week!

Desiree is a conservator and restorer from #Mexico and today she tells us why she made the decision to travel across several continents to do the dual Master's degree in heritage at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg and Deaking University:

"I was, and still am interested in understanding how local and global contexts offer diverse ways of approaching heritage. As a conservator-restorer, I am used to work with the physical matter, but with the Dual Degree, I was aiming to detach myself from the material form of heritage. This has given me the chance to critically explore what heritage is and lean my practice towards a more people-centred approach." - Desirée

Alumni Stories

Laura Roa,

(Heritage Dual Degree 2023-2024)

At the time that I applied to the Dual Degree program, I was looking for opportunities to enhance my Heritage Master's by pursuing a subject I was deeply passionate about — Museum Studies. Since conducting my Bachelor's in History, I have been fascinated by museums and other cultural heritage institutions; thus, the Dual Degree ...

Read More

Olivia Chin,

(Heritage Dual Degree 2023-2024)

Heritage is our past and our identity. It shows our stories, religion, culture, art, and history, It is important because without heritage, we lose our identity, the identity that slowly evolved through many generations and there is no longer diversity in our culture.

I am proud to have volunteered for ICOMOS Malaysia, for being able ...

Read More

Sarah Schwarz,

"I remember an experience that brought me closer to heritage. During my Bachelor studies in architecture, I made an exchange semester to Indonesia. This university in Indonesia taught completely different subjects in the field of architecture than my German university. I gained an incredible insight into their traditional concepts and building techniques. In a study ...

Read More

Levent Tökün,

"I always loved global history, which is quite diverse but also connected to one another. Yet, rather than studying it as a war/conflict history which is highly chronological and one-sided, I chose to study the materials that humans produced for different purposes in the history. That is why, archaeology and history of art or cultural heritage provided me the ...

Read More

Taryn Ossowski (Neé Culbert),

“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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

Tyler Whitmarsh,

“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 ...

Read More