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

How a radical change proved the right recipe for this Wintec student
Braden Tu’akoi will be leaving for Innsbruck, Austria in mid-October on an Erasmus+ scholarship.

Four years into a maths and statistics degree, Braden Tu’akoi realised that it was not for him. He switched to a Bachelor of Technology programme at Wintec and is now preparing for Austria on an ERASMUS+ exchange scholarship.

A Hamilton native, the 26-year old was attracted to a major in food technology 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!”

Braden 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.”

Braden 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.”

Braden 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!”

More about the ERASMUS+ programme:

ERASMUS+ helps organise student and doctoral candidate exchanges within countries belonging to the programme. Opportunities are available at Bachelor, Master and Doctorate levels, lasting from between three to twelve months. ERASMUS+ scholarships are set up by the European Commission and allocates funds to help cover living and travel costs. For more information on exchanges or scholarships, please email

Find out more about Wintec’s Technology programmes.  

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