“It was only here that I realised what I was really interested in.”

Albert Thure, USA

He originally only wanted to stay for one semester, but he liked it so much, that he added on a second semester: As part of the International Guest Student Programme Albert Thure exchanged California State University, Long Beach for a year at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. And his resumé at the end of his year: “Hamburg has really become my pearl.” (meine Perle – as we say in Hamburg).

HAWKS Racing team

A university campus with a racing car? When Albert Thure saw the HAWKS Racing Team with its car on the campus, he knew what he wanted and got talking to the students. That was in April of last year. Since then he has been a member of the inter­­disciplinary racing team, helping them design and build a new car and has loved it. “My job was to optimize the hub carrier – that is my specialty”, the 23-year old says, grinning. In California he studies Mechanical Engineering. “But it was only here that I discovered what I was really interested in: automo­tive engineering and composites.”

So he made the optimization of hub carriers his research project, which is a set part of the exchange programme. Coached by Prof. Dr. Axel Schumacher in the Department of Automotive & Aeronautical Engineering he learned a new software programme.

Learning to be an engineer

“As an engineer you have to learn to adapt to new situations and continuously add to your knowledge.” says Albert Thure. And that is exactly what he was hoping for from his study abroad: New and unique experiences. He was really impressed by the public transport system in Germany, Döner became his favourite meal, “ – but why does everyone sort their trash?”

Meeting so many different people was a unique experience for him. The Californian was surprised to meet so many students from so many different countries. The people closest to him are the team mates in the HAWKS Racing Team. “The people are really great. They really enjoy the work they do and they have become a family to me.” Communication wasn’t a problem.

Albert Thure had already taken German classes in America, “but it was only through HAWKS that I learned the way people really talk.” And another thing he will take back with him: “It was here that I realized that the extent to which you belong to a community depends on how you yourself get involved.”

In addition to meeting other people, Albert Thure really liked the study atmosphere and class structure at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. The groups are small and you know people. The lectures at home are often with 100 – 300 students.

While the exams in California are often multiple-choice, “The exams at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences are more difficult, the questions are more complex and the professors want to know more. It is your responsibility to understand the topics. But that way I remember what I have learned better.” But even if the impressions and experiences of the last year were great, Albert Thure did sometimes miss his home, his family and friends – and his hobby. “Sylt is really great, but the waves…”  the surfing enthusiast says with a smile. He doesn’t have plans to leave Hamburg forever. “I can imagine coming back to Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and doing my Master here. When I wasn’t studying, I travelled a lot throughout Germany, but there wasn’t a city that I liked as much as Hamburg.” Albert Thure smiles “It has really become ‘meine Perle'.

Find out more about our HAWKS Racing team

Siekmann 2012