João Romeiro Hermeto, doctoral student of Philosophy, explains his decision for Witten, recounts his exceptional life and describes the feeling of having arrived.

Finally arrived

I was born and raised in Brazil. It may surprise at first that I moved from the metropolis of São Paulo to Witten, but then it was just a logical consequence: I was looking for a philosophically oriented Master’s degree programme taking me forward on a professional and a personal level.

I applied in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands and had to choose between London and Witten in the end. I didn‘t know anything about Witten before, but the outstanding curriculum of the “Philosophy and Culture” Master’s degree programme was decisive.

Since I participated in a school exchange many years ago, I feel a special attachment to Germany. I like the country, speak the language and have dear friends here. The approval from Witten was therefore the perfect opportunity to live in Germany now.

My decision for Witten was absolutely right. Teaching at a high level, freedom to organize one’s course of studies, various chances for getting involved: I had the feeling that I was finally able to consolidate all my interests and strengths here.

From engineer to film producer

After I had graduated from high school in Brazil I was not sure about what I wanted to study. I was interested in art and culture, but my parents advised me to study engineering at the Universidade de São Paulo. Even though I already knew after the very first day that this was definitely not what I wanted to study I stayed for five semesters. After this time I couldn’t stand it any longer and abandoned my engineering studies.

Subsequently, I started studying economics and looked for a job. At that time it was common that engineers took up a job as investment banker owing to their good mathematical skills. It worked out for me, too. Soon I noticed, however, that it was impossible to reconcile this 60-hour job with my studies. So I interrupted my studies and worked full time as credit risk officer for an internationally operating financial company.

After four years I quit the job to commit myself to art and culture after all. Together with a friend I founded a company and got involved in the film industry. Being self-employed meant planning my time by myself and finally finishing my economics studies.

As a film producer, however, I was not able to work as creatively as I had imagined. Moreover, I had been longing for working in academia for quite a while. After two years I wanted to put my plan into action, but economics was not the course of my choice. I wanted to be able to voice fundamental criticism and had the feeling that I needed a Master’s degree in Philosophy to achieve it. This took me to Witten.

The best thing about Witten: no restrictions

Studying according to my interests is what I enjoy most about Witten. Music, photography, film – art production is an integral part of my life. The Philosophy and Culture Master’s degree programme enables me to appreciate art as an object in seminars and to actively work as an artist. Witten offers such an interesting and broad range of courses that I would still love to take further courses despite focussing on my doctoral studies.

I would like to pursue an academic career in the future with a focus on politics. Journalism shall also play a part in my professional life, if possible. I would like to write books, continue my work as an artist and try to combine it all. My studies at Witten/Herdecke University taught me that all this is possible and that I do not have to restrict myself any longer.