Nina Louise Dean is Embracing Her Student Journey

Updated: Nov 6, 2019

Nina Louise Dean is a 23 year old Masters of Management (HR) student from Munich, Germany. She completed her Bachelors degree in Psychology & Management.

"Melbourne had something that no other city I’ve been to had."

Q: What’s something people wouldn’t know about where you grew up?

A: I was born and raised in a small town close to Munich, Germany, which is quite traditional and conservative. While my older sisters used to hate not living in the city, I enjoyed having living next to parks and lakes. I am also half British – from my Dad’s side, meaning that a lot of summers were spent in England with family.

Growing up in Germany:

  • Best. Bread. Ever.

  • Driving on the infamous Autobahn (yes, there are no speed limits – on SOME parts)

  • It’s true – legal age to start drinking (beer and wine) is 16!

  • Yearly ritual going to the Oktoberfest

  • We do not wear our Dirndl and Lederhosen all day every day – and we don’t live off beer and sausages

  • Learn how to ski before we can even walk

When growing up though I always knew that I didn’t want to stay in Munich and see as many different places as possible. So ever since graduating high school and moving out, I never enjoyed staying in the same location for too long. I alternated my undergrad semesters in Hamburg with internships in London, language courses in Sevilla or semesters abroad in Rome and Shanghai.

Q: Is there a philosophy that describes your outlook on life? How did you come to that philosophy?

A: You have to love yourself first! Once you accept yourself and are true to yourself, life will take care of the rest! I made a conscious effort in spending more time with myself and put more energy into my own needs and dreams.

Also - be kind to every kind! This includes everyone and everything – both people and animals. I’ve always been a big animal lover, but when I adapted a plant-based lifestyle, I started making the connection between where my food on my plate is coming from.

Q: Building on that idea, what advice would you give to your 13-year old self?

A: Speak up and say what’s on your mind! Some might be surprised when I tell them that I used to by quite shy and hated talking to new people. You become more open-minded and understanding when talking to more people – especially if they have different cultures, backgrounds or opinions.

Q: Describe yourself in 3 words:

A: Joyful, direct, compassionate ☺

"Once you accept yourself and are true to yourself, life will take care of the rest!"

Q: Why did you choose Melbourne to study for your Masters degree?

A: Four years ago, I was lucky enough to come to Melbourne for an internship. While I was here during the winter, Melbourne had something that no other city I’ve been to had. I fell in love with the city straight away and from then on it was a huge goal of mine to come back for my masters. Melbourne is so open-minded, international, young and diverse made it such an appealing city for me to move here. The city is a combination of all my favourite cities – from Shanghai, London, Berlin and Rome, which is ideal, since now I don’t have to choose between any of them!

Even coming back to Melbourne beginning of the year, I felt straight back at home. It took me no time to properly settle in and I have made friends for life from all over the world that share the same values that I do.

Q: What has been more challenging than you anticipated?

A: I always knew that living abroad and away from home can sound easier than it actually is. Having lived abroad and away from home for the past five years, I knew that any type of long-distance relationship requires effort and can be challenging. This year has definitely challenged friendships, having to juggle a whole life in Melbourne, it can be hard to find a balance on how connected you are with life that is happening back in Europe. From celebrating my first Easter and Christmas away from home without my family or seeing all your friends on the Oktoberfest together – the FOMO can definitely be real. But then I always remember the reason why I decided to move to Melbourne and at I’ll be even more excited when they all come visit me!

Q: What have you learned about yourself being so far from home?

A: I learned that I can be the person everyone hates and never wanted to be – I am the one sending the 5-minute voice messages. Facetiming can be so time-consuming, especially with the time difference. So, a long voice-note is the way to go, if you have to tell you best friend any news (with all the important details).

But in all honesty, I always thought I was a creature of habit, while now I realise that I need constant change. I cannot deal with having the same daily routine every single day – I will get bored quickly.

Q: What’s a place you have travelled that changed your perspective?

A: Living in Shanghai and traveling around China really changed my perspective when it comes to growing outside of my comfort zone. I honestly didn’t have an idea of what to expect from the city, culture or people. While it was definitely tough at times – if it was asking for directions in broken Chinese (and horrible pronunciation), my VPN not working for 10 days or not being sure what you were actually eating. I realised that as long as I was able to laugh about myself and not take these situations too serious, I would be able to grow and enjoy my time as much as possible.

Q: When you leave UniMelb, what do you want to take with you?

A: I want to enjoy the student life, (maybe) for the last time. If that means being able to go out for brunch on a Wednesday or to the gym not during peak-hours. I want to appreciate the planned out unstructured day.

Embracing all the different cultures, will help me grow – especially when it comes to group work and you learn how everyone works differently.

The fact that UniMelb is quite flexible when it comes to combining different courses makes it perfect for me. I do have an interest in HR, but I am also passionate about sustainability and the environment. This way I can graduate, not having to decide for one specific path but actually with more open doors.

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