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Meet our team: Andreas

Christoph Buerglen
2019 08 06

Andreas always carries a smile with him, like he could start singing at any moment. His enthusiastic and upbeat spirit reflects his passionate and caring personality. Guided by all kinds of melodies and interests, Andreas’s path took him from Indonesia to Germany, the Netherlands, Ghana, and Vienna. Andreas studied and worked in the fields of Social Psychology and Education before finally making his way to Kiron, where he started first as an Intern, then as a Volunteer, when he founded the first Kiron choir. Today Andreas successfully supports our mission as one of Kiron’s project managers.

1. Tell us about your journey

I grew up in a rural village in Indonesia and came to Germany at the age of four. I visited Indonesia many times as an adolescent and decided to study at an international school in Papua for six months when I was sixteen. After graduating from high school in Germany, I went abroad to the Netherlands to study psychology. My goal was not to become a therapist but to work in education. I’m convinced that our education system can do much better to enable young people to realize their potential and I decided to dedicate my career towards this goal. As part of my masters in Social Psychology, I interviewed school headmasters in Ghana to learn about their decision making regarding change-making processes in the school curriculum. And after graduating from university, I went to Vienna to work as a teacher with Teach For Austria, an amazing young organization striving to end educational inequality in disadvantaged schools in Austria. Teaching young people is tough and my time as a teacher was anything but easy. But I learned a lot about education and had many great moments with the kids. I’m still thinking about going back into teaching at some point.

It was March 2017 that I found out about Kiron and started working as an intern. I soon got hooked by the organization and decided to stay with Kiron as a volunteer for several months, before starting my job as a project manager. Today I am proud to coordinate several projects that are connected to different activities at Kiron. My last project “MIT-DIR” for example focused on the empowerment of refugees in our society.

2. What is your Role at Kiron?

As an intern and volunteer, I worked in different teams at Kiron, mainly in the Student Services and also helping out with different projects. In my role as a project manager, I’m now in charge of the coordination of project-related work across different teams at Kiron, for the financial planning of the projects, and for keeping track of the project deliverables. Last year, my work included the organization of our first Community Weekend and the development of an online seminar for Kiron volunteers on the topic of prejudice and discrimination. We also published our first Community Brochure in which, among others, Kiron students write about their journeys.

3. What is your Mission for Kiron?

My wish is that Kiron will have a long-term impact not only for our students but also on our education system in general. I hope that Kiron will inspire many people to believe in their ability to have an impact, to come up with their own ideas, and eventually contribute to a systemic change of our higher education system. We need universities to be more open, flexible and offer any person regardless of their background the chance to realize their potential. To achieve this goal, we need the collective effort of a larger community who are inspired and dedicated to looking for new solutions.

4. Kiron means to me…

…a community of dedicated people working towards the common goal of giving people access to high-quality education. It’s a place where I like to dedicate my time, effort and skills to contribute to the idea of free and open education, and a place full of learning opportunities for me personally.

5. What are the challenges you are facing?

Kiron is trying to cater to the needs of a large and diverse group of students which brings about a lot of challenges for the organization. There is always a lot of conflicting priorities and things that need to get done at Kiron. The feeling of “being on top of things” is rare even in my defined task areas. It is often challenging to focus on the most important things, knowing that there are so many other interesting and important tasks to take care of.

6. What do you enjoy most about your work?

Working on a common goal together with supportive, creative and dedicated people. Before coming to Kiron, I worked as a teacher in a challenging school in Austria. Both jobs came with a lot of challenges – but the working environment and the people that surround me make all the difference.

7. What was your favorite moment at Kiron so far?

Having an informal discussion about our online forum with two awesome students at one of our local events.

8. Describe yourself in own sentence:

I’m an easy-going person, open-minded and thoughtful. I’m calm and it takes a lot to upset me, but I’m also ambitious, creative and dedicated to making a change in our society.

9. Who are you outside of Kiron?

I don’t think I’m much different as a person outside of Kiron. In my free time, I’m very much into music. I play the piano and guitar. I also sing in a choir and used to conduct my own student choir some time ago. Besides that, I do a lot of sports like running and slacklining. I also like traveling to different countries. For the past couple of years, I could never stay in one city for all that long but used every opportunity to work or study abroad. I like exploring new places and am always up for a new adventure.

10. Some last words for Kiron…

I’m impressed about the long way Kiron has come in the past three years and grateful for the dedication of its team, its students and the support of the many partners who support our mission. I’m happy to be part of the team now and hope that Kiron will continue to be successful in the future, inspiring people and opening up new opportunities to access higher education.