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How a radical change created the right recipe for this food tech student

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wintec student Braden Tu’akoi is a recipient of the ERASMUS+ exchange scholarship and will leave for Innsbruck, Austria in October.

Tu'akoi was originally studying a maths and statistics degree when he realised that it was not for him. The 26-year old Hamilton native switched to a Bachelor of Technology programme majoring in food technology at Wintec for one simple reason: he loves food.

"I studied my first degree because I was good at it, not because I loved it. By the end, I realised that it just wasn’t for me. I’d taken a few science papers over the years and I thought I’d like to go further down that road. I also wanted to learn more about how food was made and processed because I love to eat!"

Tu’akoi was encouraged to apply for the Erasmus+ scholarship by his tutor.

"One of my teachers asked if I liked to travel. I’ve actually never been outside New Zealand before so I said yes.

"The process was pretty simple, I wrote a letter of motivation detailing what I hoped to learn overseas and my tutors referred it on. I heard back a few weeks later that I was successful."

According to Wintec Business Coordinator for the international team Aubrey Medwid, the process is not easy.

"The ERASMUS+ scholarship is a rare opportunity. We need to be in an agreement with the partner school and then apply for the opportunity. Our student exchange partner, MCI Management Center Innsbruck, worked with Wintec to make the scholarship available to New Zealand.

"Wintec is always looking for ways to help our students travel and study abroad and so far we have sent two students to Poland. We are excited for Braden to have this opportunity to experience Austria."

Tu’akoi will study in the Austrian state capital, Innsbruck for four and a half months and understands that his classes - all in English - will have a focus on food engineering and biotechnology.

"Having the chance to undertake my own study project will give me a good insight into how things are done in Europe.

"I will also have the opportunity to try MCI’s commercial lab which has the kind of technology that we don’t have in New Zealand."

Tu’akoi is excited about the adventures ahead but is hesitant about one thing.

"Being half-Tongan, I am not a fan of the cold so I’m not really looking forward to those freezing winter temperatures! It will be nice to experience a white Christmas though!"

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