Ten years ago, you were studying at Bhaktivedanta College for a year, what we call the certificate level. You gave up further study at that time. For what reason?
David: I found my year onsite a very interesting experience. I made lots of friends and had a really fun time. I especially liked it that we students were a focused group and discussed with one other the topics of our studies.
Especially fond memories are the times we ate lunch with our professors and inquired about specific subjects we were not covering in classes.
I was not so intrigued by the academic strand in the first year, since it was more like an overview, with a lot packed into it, but not going very deep. Of course, this is true of the first year in almost any field. What I liked a lot were the vocational modules with their practical approach. Those
really inspired me and helped me to pick up or refine certain skills: mediation, teaching, and so on. All in all it was a lovely experience, but I am the sort of person who likes to have an experience and then go back to my native surrounding, which I can perfectly shape to my needs. Therefore I decided to go back to Austria and start my own company and realize my vision
What were you doing?
I started an online marketing consultancy and wrote an e-book series about online marketing, which got published by a major German publisher. I am grateful that I was given this opportunity to work independently, and I used the freedom to travel all over the world during the last ten years.
Why did you decide to resume your studies?
Actually, I didn’t. It was always my plan to continue the studies online, since the possibility of an online campus was already floating around when I was studying onsite. As soon as it was possible, I grabbed the opportunity.
Now I have finished my second year, and it really is important for me to say one thing: Thank you. It cannot be appreciated enough that you give interested people the opportunity to engage their minds and scholarly natures in such a needed and important pursuit. The studies at Bhaktivedanta College touch on fundamental questions that we should be familiar with if we
want to have a high quality of living both materially and spiritually.
I already said I wasn’t so intrigued with the first-year academics. Well, this was not the case in the second year. It was a pleasure to learn about the fascinating heritage of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, especially in the modules about Srila Rupa Goswami and Jiva Goswami. These modules especially interest devotee students, since they show us what gems we actually hold in our hands through Srila Prabhupada’s presentation of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.
The second year helped me gain a deeper appreciation (and it was already immense) for the philosophy presented in Prabhupada’s books. To learn in detail about the history, the sources, and the way different scholars of Gaudiya Vaishnavism built on one other increases one’s ability to see the value and sophistication of Prabhupada’s presentation.
How do you like the online delivery?
I am a huge fan of the online delivery. Sometimes I miss the direct contact with other students and the professors, which was a highlight in year one, but the fact that I can study exactly when I want and that I can learn even when I’m on the road is just perfect.
The way the learning material is presented for each module is clear, effective, and done in a way that I could immediately orient myself. And when I had questions (which almost never had to do with the online delivery itself, but rather with enrollment and legal aspects) the staff always
answered fast and helpfully. A big thanks to the staff there. In the first modules, the quality of sound was occasionally very bad, but fortunately this was the exception. Good audio is of great importance.
What I didn’t like is that many books were delivered as pdf-images, which is a pity, because they can’t be searched. Another thing which could be improved is the online library. Bhaktivedanta College provides access to many online libraries, which I appreciate very much, but it would be even better if the onsite library (which is highly specialized) could be transferred online. That would be amazing. But overall: 8 out of 10.
What is your plan for the future?
Expanding my business, while finishing my Bachelor’s degree at Bhaktivedanta College. Then I may continue academic studies (probably in psychology, philosophy, or economics), and I will definitely enter a second vocational field as a coach or speaker and hopefully be an example of a Vaishnava living happily and successfully in harmony with Lord Krishna’s social and