Christian from Buchloe
is studying Mechanical Engineering
Christian Wittmann was 6 years old when he discovered ice hockey. Ever since, the sport has been more to him than just a hobby. He never lost sight of his goal of playing professionally, even during his apprenticeship. In the subsequent stage of his vocational training to become a mechanical engineering technician in Augsburg, his talents attracted the attention of Harzer Falken ice hockey club. That’s how Christian, born in Bavaria, ended up moving to Braunlage to play ice hockey and completing his vocational training there. But his thirst for knowledge wasn’t quenched once he had that certificate under his belt. He decided to do a degree at TU Clausthal – and extended his contract with Harzer Falken at the same time.
To university via vocational training
“The combination was just perfect for me,” Christian recalls. With TU Clausthal’s Techniker2Bachelor program, students can have skills that they have acquired during vocational training offset against the requirements of their degrees, thereby shortening the time they need to complete the degree program. But that alone won’t gain them a bachelor’s. “The greatest challenge for me was how independently you have to work here,” the 27‑year-old reports. “The advice and tips from the students’ Advisory Service were great, but ultimately you do have to take responsibility yourself,” is Christian’s pragmatic synopsis. For him, keeping his studies going alongside his sporting career is a special situation. “You do have a great many freedoms here. It’s my decision whether to go to a lecture or not. That’s both a blessing and a curse,” Christian grins.
An apartment in Clausthal – not a major issue
He is even still living in Braunlage for the time being and commuting between the ice rink and the lecture hall. But a move to Clausthal is on the horizon. It shouldn’t prove difficult, since the housing situation, compared with other university towns, is fairly relaxed here in Clausthal. Christian Wittmann is also optimistic about his future. He is not yet sure whether he wants to do a master’s. He honestly admits that “a good job offer would also be tempting” – or, he says, “I’ll go to the US for a while. I’ll just see how things turn out.” After all, as he puts it, it would be boring if he already knew everything that was going to happen.
Contacts are important
Christian would advise all new students to make connections with other people right from the start and to persevere. “It’s basically just like sport. You can’t rise to a challenge without the challenge, and setbacks are often an opportunity to emerge from adversity stronger than we were before,” he reflects. Moreover, he says, the university stands out for its great sense of fellowship, which makes it easier to deal with difficult situations. People here somehow feel part of a greater whole. It’s a team game – just like ice hockey.