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B.A. Digital Business
"My online studies are easy to combine with swimming practices because it is completely free of time and location restraints. This great flexibility lets me study easily between workouts."
- Read more about Celine
Professional swimming athlete Celine Rieder’s dream has finally come true this year: after years of hard work, she was included in the German Olympic team for the first time, and competed against other international athletes in the Tokyo Olympics. But the 20-year-old is not just an Olympian – she’s also an IU student, working on completing her Bachelor’s degree in Digital Business.
When and how did you start swimming professionally?
Celine Rieder: When I was a child, I would often go to the swimming pool with my parents. One day, the lifeguard at the pool asked me if I would be interested in joining their swim club, and after trying it out, I instantly fell in love with swimming – a love that I still have to this day!
At age 7, I started swimming in a more professional way, and started to participate in competitions.
Did you have a role model that inspired you early on in your career?
Celine: Not one specific role model, but yes. My role models were mainly swimmers who participated in the German national championships – that was my first big professional goal. Later on, I was also inspired by international athletes.
There wasn’t one specific person that I looked up to, but I have repeatedly set golas for myself through the performance of other people. That was my motivation.
What made you choose to study Digital Business at IU International University of Applied Sciences?
Celine: When I first found out about the option of studying online, I of course looked at different online studies universities and colleges, and was won over by IU’s flexible offer.
I decided to study Digital Business because I always wanted to go in the direction of economics, and thought that combining something from that field with IT would be great. I especially liked the fact that in the fourth semester, you have the option to choose between data science and digital marketing, so you can dive into the area that you personally like more.
How do you combine your studies with your everyday sports activities?
Celine: My online studies are easy to combine with swimming practices because it is completely free of time and location restraints. This great flexibility lets me study easily between workouts. The same goes for the exams: I can take them online 24/7.
Are you in regular contact with other students?
Celine: Yes. Even though I study online, I am in constant contact with my fellow students. Social media groups are great for exchanging ideas, for example.
Were your studies a part of your Olympic tournament?
Celine: Yes, I took some of my digital study materials with me! But I have to be honest: in the preparation phase, my studies took a back seat to my training – I had to prioritise my performance at the Olympics. From now I will dedicate more time to studying again.
Would you say that preparing for exams and preparing for a competition are comparable?
Celine: To me they are two completely different situations. In a competition, the starting conditions are always similar. Yes, the pool is different, you have different opponents or a different level of competition (national vs. international competitions) – but the swimming is the same, and I’ve done it so many times before.
With exams it’s exactly the other way around: you don’t really know what to expect. You know the subject, but not the questions, so there are always some surprises.
What were your most difficult and most rewarding moments in sports and in your studies?
Celine: I’ve had a lot of challenges to overcome in swimming. For example, in 2019, I was about to graduate from high school, so I was more focused on school than on training. But I was still dedicated to qualifying for the World Cup, which unfortunately didn’t happen. That was really difficult for me. Luckily, this year my studies and training worked really well together.
My best sporting moment? There were a lot, but the best one is qualifying for the Olympics in April!
As for my studies, the most rewarding moments are when you get a good grade for a task or an exam, after working very hard to combine studies and training. That makes all the stress before exams worth it.
What are your top three tips for dealing with challenges?
1. Set clear goals so you know what you’re working towards.
2. Make a plan and structure your work (I'm a bit of a planning freak…).
3. Believe in yourself and trust in your strengths.
What’s next for you?
Celine: All I can say for sure is that I will do my best in sports and also earn my degree. Everything else will come on its own.
B.Sc. Business and IT
"For me, studying online is a really good approach, because I can study during any time of the day, I can choose what content I want to study and I can choose how I want to study and how I want to prepare for exams. It allows me to be flexible."
- Read more about Rokas Vitkus
I was born in Lithuania. At the moment I’m located in the Netherlands, I moved here around a year and a half ago. I started my studies in the Netherlands first, as a civil engineer, but then I switched to studying at IU International University of Applied Sciences, and now I’m studying for a distance learning degree in Business and IT.
Flexibility is key
The main difference between online and offline universities is that you only have to be present at [an offline] university. You can’t choose your own study environment, and you basically have to follow the pace that the university sets for you. You can’t choose how you want to learn or what you want to learn at any given moment – you basically follow a set of rules. For me, I like planning my time a bit differently. So for me, [studying online] is a really good approach, because I can study during any time of the day, I can choose what content I want to study and I can choose how I want to study and how I want to prepare for exams. It allows me to be flexible.
If I find a really nice topic that I want to deep-dive into, I can just do that, and take other classes at a later time. So, flexibility is one of the main benefits you get from studying online, and I think it’s really amazing.
Balance work and studies by being consistent
I work full-time, so I have 5 working days and 2 free days each week. Those 2 days are always dedicated to studying and doing some research. I also try to wake up early every morning and be consistent with my studies; I try to study at least 3 or 4 hours every day. That gives me a nice balance, because I have a goal – to be consistent in what I’m trying to do. So, if I’ve set myself the goal of studying for 3 or 4 hours every day, I try to find the ways to make that happen.
Study whenever, wherever – with the IU Learn app
I did try it – I think it’s the main tool I study with. I always study with my iPad, so I have my app wherever I go. What’s great about it is that all of the material is available in one app, as opposed to studying at a traditional university, where you have to get different books for each topic. Here everything is available as a PDF in the app, which is really convenient – you can carry it with everywhere. I use it every day and I’m really happy with it.
B.Sc. Business and IT
"If you want to study remotely, in English and not pay a lot – compared to other universities – IU is the best choice. It’s the only university that answers all three criteria."
- Read more about Matvey Vlasenko
I’m originally from Russia but I have been living abroad for the last 10 years. I lived in China for a while, then in Spain and now I’m back in Russia – but I’ll be going back to Spain soon. For the past three years I’ve been working as an English teacher, but my dream is to work in IT. That’s why I’m studying Business and IT at IU.
Choose the study programme that matches your career ambitions
IU was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to get a degree in something related to IT, but I didn’t want to be a programmer. I wanted something that would involve business alongside IT; a business and IT career is exactly what I wanted.
I was looking for a university that teaches in English, and the fact that [I can study] completely online is perfect for me, because I move very often. IU is also quite affordable compared to some other universities that I’ve checked. It was just perfect for me.
“I also liked the way that the studies are organised, because you can see your progress online. I liked the description of careers – the website describes exactly which course you’ll be taking, as well as the career options after graduating, so you can compare between the different degree programmes. That was really cool.
If you want to study remotely, in English and not pay a lot – compared to other universities – IU is the best choice. It’s the only university that answers all three criteria.
More flexibility means less pressure
The things that attracted me in the first place are still the main benefits. I really love that there’s no physical presence required.
I also have the IU [Learn] app: what I like about it is that I can move around and study on the go. I like that it’s flexible, so I don’t feel so much pressure. Even though right now I’m taking the most intensive time model, 6 courses per semester, I know that if it’s too much I can always slow down and take only 5 or even 3 subject per semester.
Build the right schedule for you
Last year, before I started studying, I was working over 40 hours per week. But now as a student I need to have more freedom. I can choose if I want to take more students or if I want to work a little less, so I think right now I work between 30 and 35 hours per week. Most of my work is done in the afternoons and evenings, so I start at around 4pm, and then I finish at 12,1 or even 2am. So I usually study in the mornings and afternoons, and then start working afterwards.
Develop your self-discipline
When you study [independently] online, if you didn’t do anything during your semester and didn’t study at all – it’ll only hit you once it’s time to take your exams. So you need to be self-disciplined. It hasn’t been a problem for me during the four months I’ve been studying so far, but if you’re not someone with self-discipline, you’ll have to work on that.