EUSA_ID: Experiences during a Staff Mobility
Nomakholwa Yama from Fort Hare University, South Africa, who spent three months at the Ruhr-University Bochum as a staff mobility participant, shares her experiences.
The staff exchange has introduced me to a new country, new culture, and new language; but more than that, lifetime experiences, lessons, and opportunities. I learned about development at different levels, including talent scouting and Junge Uni at the university level, as well as the role of government and society in the development of the country in general.
Overall, my exchange has been an incredible experience. I have gained much knowledge about Germany through my host university. Personally, I also became more independent and confident.
On the picture above: Nomakholwa Yama indicating Fort Hare on the Map of the International Lounge of the RUB (photo: Vernekohl)
To mention a few things that motivated me to apply for a German scholarship, I'd like to begin by saying that the media presents Germany as a developed country with a high standard of living, a skilled and productive society, a social security system, including universal health coverage, and environmental protection.
Generally, I felt that people are friendly and helpful, although sometimes language was a challenge. At work, I perceived Germans to be very responsible, independent, and hard working. A striking experience was the efficient transport system and road safety.
During the Mobility Programme, I also had great experiences with regard to my project ideas on improving the quality of education and assisting students in coping with their transition from secondary to tertiary education, and to the labor market. In this regard, the IEE and the International Office of the RUB introduced me to different projects.
Exposure to Different Projects
One of the projects I was introduced to was the Talent Scouts. Talent Scouts are responsible for providing support, mentoring, and counseling to students in order to encourage and assist students in identifying their talents, realizing their potential and passion during their secondary schooling, and enhancing learning efficiency and confidence of students coming from non-academic backgrounds.
Moreover, I was introduced to the Junge Uni project that targets students from preparatory school until tertiary education. It works directly with faculties by bringing students to faculties to expose them to university education and careers. Other projects in this context included the Uni-intensive project, where students with high grades were able to attend university classes and receive credits, and the Mentoring Project, where current university students interact with secondary school pupils to provide more information about studying at university and career guidance.
Nomakholwa Yama during a meeting with staff from the RUB International Office (photo: Vernekohl)
It was also interesting to learn about the programmes at the Alumni Office dedicated to mentoring and career guidance, which involve alumni of the university. Non-monetary donations by alumni through this project can take various forms, i.e. by providing information and knowledge to young secondary pupils and university students. It was very exciting to learn about this role and value of the alumni.
A Visit to the Capital City Berlin
It's always amazing to learn about the history of a country and gain knowledge about where its success comes from. A visit to the Bundestag and Bundesrat, the Berlin wall memorial, and the Holocaust memorial provided learning opportunities about the remarkable government structures in Germany and its history.
I cannot express how grateful I am to the IEE and the Ruhr University staff. I will cherish these experiences forever. This was a mindset-changing exchange. I am thankful to the Erasmus Mundus Programme and the University of Fort Hare for the opportunity.
by Nomakholwa Yama