Alumni Testimonials
and Stories


Bisrat Kebede, Ethiopia (Class of 2020)

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: 

Sarah Schwarz, Germany (Class of 2019)

"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 project, I even had the chance to design my own building that combined modern and traditional concepts. This experience with the tangible and intangible aspects brought up my passion and interest for vernacular architecture and heritage at all.

I think a master’s degree in Heritage is a great add-on to a bachelor’s degree in architecture. I decided to go in this direction after my experience in Indonesia." - Sarah


Levent Tökün, Turkey (Class of 2017)

"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 opportunity of understanding the concepts and motives of people to create materials such as paintings, drawings, buildings, and monuments. As a son of a former tourist guide, I believe that my mother's occupation also influenced me unconsciously while I was travelling with her around our country, Turkey, in my early ages." - Levent.

Loredana Scuto, Italy (Class of 2018)

"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

Tanja Ehrlein, Germany (Class of 2017)

“I have probably always been pretty enthusiastic about history, art history and cultural topics. However, during my archaeological studies in Freiburg, I was wondering about how a city's or site's history defines the identity of the people who live in their surroundings and whether those sites and the stories they tell can have a positive impact on a community in terms of bringing the people closer together. I grew up in cities, which are called "superdiverse" in Germany. In Nuremberg for instance, 47% of the people do have an international history. However, this diversity does not reflect in the local cultural audiences. In order to make cultural heritage accessible to all the people, I decided to go to the field of heritage. Because I do believe, that in heritage and the arts, we can find a common ground on which we can grow closer together as a transcultural European or global society.”

Jaq Anderson, Australia (Class of 2021)

Jaq shared with us this about her thesis:

"I wanted to look at how visitors were interacting at Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh, Scotland and what values they were going for. E.g Yersinia pestis (the plague), Dark Tourism, cultural changes, has connections to Greyfriars Bobby and Harry Potter. 

In order to assess all of the above aspects and answer the aims of my masters thesis, I identified social media as the best tool to gain an understanding of how visitors were interacting with the site. 

Once I had the data, I proposed new interpretations for the site and how Greyfriars could be used to link up to other historic sites around the city."

Nicole Knoles, USA (Class of 2021)

"Prior to Uni, I was unware of humanities and social sciences as academic disciplines and possible career paths. But when I began learning linguistics, anthropology, history, etc. I felt I was finally home. It is fascinating to learn how each culture interacts with the world and how this affects so much of our daily lives. My love for culture led me to the Heritage field because I wanted to learn the methods behind revitalizing and preserving Indigenous culture and traditions.   

I was actually unaware of the heritage field until I discovered the program(s) at BTU and Deakin. However, I believe heritage is very closely related to my undergrad studies. I briefly wrote about the specific moment that brought me here in the question about my background. Just to reiterate, I always enjoyed learning about the world and culture, but until college I did not know you could actually study these topics. Culture is at the root of heritage, in my opinion, and I felt I needed to learn more practical methods to help prepare me for jobs in cultural preservation and revitalization."

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.”

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.”

Alumni Stories

Taryn 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 ...

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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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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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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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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 ...

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