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Stellenbosch University students come from all over the world. Students from more than 100 countries, from as far as China, Switzerland, Australia, Gabon, Russia and Colombia, roam our campuses, making SU a truly international university. Celebrating 25 years of international relations we introduce to 25 students from 25 countries.
1. Gculisile Khumalo
“Stellenbosch chose me. I applied for a postgraduate degree in transport economics and logistics management at Stellenbosch University and another institution. As the situation played out, Stellenbosch University prevailed.” This is how Gculisile Khumalo describes her journey from the Kingdom of Eswatini (commonly known as Swaziland) to Stellenbosch.
The PhD students says SU’s research output made it an easy choice to become a Matie student. “The fact that the University produces quality research made me lean more towards being enrolled here.”
Gculisile says living in Stellenbosch for three years has been an eye opening experience.
“I like the complexity and the landscape surrounding the University. When I talk about complexity, I refer to the different ethnic groups, languages and generally the mixture of students. I find that the university environment tests one strengths and makes you realise just how much power you have within yourself to survive.”
Part of a small group of Swazi students, Gculisile says she and others plan to launch a Swazi student society. “We once tried but then it fell through. We are trying again this year.”
2. Clement Owusu Prempeh Junior
“I am Clement Owusu Prempeh Junior, a native of Ghana enrolled in Process Engineering Department in 2015. I arrived at Stellenbosch University to pursue a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering as it is reckoned as one of the best research institutions in Africa. Almost at the end of my studies, I got the opportunity to upgrade to a PhD that I am scheduled to complete in December 2019 after a successful master’s thesis examination.
“Stellenbosch University embraces a multiculturalism setting that allows every foreign student to feel welcome. The diversity in religion, race and gender compliment with local delicacies make it one of the determining factors I opted for this University.
“Arriving in Stellenbosch has not all been about studies. I have played an active role in student leadership by spearheading the formation of a student society for the Ghanaians students within the diaspora. I acted as the Chairperson and currently serving as the vice-chairperson. What keeps me on my feet every day is the Christ I have in me. I am a believer and my favorite quotation in life is from the Good Book: ‘I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all' (Ecclesiastes 9:11).”
3. Ayman Abufalgha
“My name is Ayman Abufalgha from Libya. My journey of education started when the Minister of High Education offered me a scholarship to study abroad. So I carefully chose Stellenbosch University as a destination for my postgraduate study since it is very popular in engineering. In 2016, I began my master’s degree at the Department of Process Engineering. In March 2018, I completed my master’s degree in chemical engineering and as a novel outcome of my master’s research, my supervisor (Dr Pott) has encouraged me to continue my research as a doctoral candidate (PhD) with a scholarship from the Department of Process Engineering.
“Stellenbosch University, especially the Department of Process Engineering has allowed me to improve my knowledge, skills and experience and also has giving me many opportunities to present the University successfully in national and international conferences. In fact, I have made/met many national and international friends through Stellenbosch University particularly in the international events which have been organised by an amazing team from the international office. I am looking forward to enjoying my new study/stay at Stellenbosch University.”
4. Jaconde Nsumbu
Country: Democratic Republic of Congo
From the big city of Kinshasa to the small town of Stellenbosch, Jaconde Nsumbu is one of 58 students from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) studying at Stellenbosch University. Hailing from a country which borders Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, Jaconde is on a mission to unite Matie students from the continent.
As Vice-president of the African Students' Board - ASB Stellenbosch University, her role is to bring together students from north, east, west, central and southern Africa. This is done through academic and social events, also engaging on various communication platforms.
Studying towards a BA Humanities degree, Jaconde is also an executive member of the Stellenbosch University Debating Society. The French-speaking student also serves on the house committee of Nooitgedacht, a private student residence at Stellenbosch University.
*The DRC is the second-largest country in Africa and largest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its capital Kinshasa is Africa's third-largest urban area after Cairo and Lagos.
5. Shufang Yang
Stellenbosch University (SU) is a popular destination for Chinese students, attracting many students from China each year. A BRICS Network University member, SU has made concerted efforts to collaborate with institutions in China and other BRICS countries. SU’s visible presence in Asia includes 14 partnership agreements with Chinese institutions. It is through these networks that Shufang Yang found her way to Stellenbosch University.
The Economics Management student is part of a group of 17 students from Zhejiang Normal University studying at SU. Spending a semester in Stellenbosch, Shufang says she wants to learn more about the South African economy. “I chose Stellenbosch University because this university is well-known and my home university has a very good programme with this university.”
Living in Stellenbosch for the last two months, Shufang only has good things to say about the university. “The course has been my highlight. Learning about different cultures has also been a highlight.”
6. Aline Lersmacher
Looking at enrolment figures at Stellenbosch University (SU), German students make up the largest number of students from outside the continent. The number of German students (457) exceed those coming from the United States (288), the United Kingdom (146) France (113), the Netherlands (108) or South Korea (83).
Aline Lersmacher, a masterʼs student from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), is one of the hundreds of German students at Stellenbosch University. The Health Sciences student is at SU for a semester as part of an institutional agreement between TUM and SU. She is registered for the Learning Community and Engagement module. “I also enrolled for HIV from a South African perspective, to have another perspective for health prevention and health promotion.ʺ
Aline says she has been received with open arms. “The people are very friendly so you experience a warm welcome from the moment you arrive. ʺ
• The Technical University of Munich is one of 40 universities in Germany with whom Stellenbosch University has institutional or faculty agreements.
7. Elise Berild Vikki
“Better than imagined,” is how Norwegian student Elise Berild Vikki describes studying and living in Stellenbosch. Elise, an International Relations student at Bjørknes University College in Oslo, started the second semester as a Matie student enrolling for classes in Sociology and International Relations. She will be at Stellenbosch University for six months getting to know the town and its people.
“I chose to study at Stellenbosch University because I’ve always wanted to come to South Africa. I went to Tanzania last year and have since then been wanting to explore more of Africa. I have to say that what I read, heard and assumed about Stellenbosch University and Stellenbosch itself is even better than I imagined.”
New in the country, she is ready to mingle and live like the locals. “I look forward to getting to know the people, culture and town. To explore Stellenbosch, Cape Town, the Western Cape and South Africa. I also look forward to hiking, braais and wine tastings”.
8. Morgan Cornwall
Travelling thousands of kilometres from North America to the southern tip of Africa, Canadian student Morgan Cornwall has established firm roots in Stellenbosch. A full-degree student at Stellenbosch University, Morgan says coming to the university has been a dream fulfilled.
“My most treasured experience at Stellenbosch University would have to be - arriving on campus for the first time and matching it to the pictures I’ve seen, and knowing that this is where I will be spending my next three years filled with studying and fun.”
The second-year Bachelor of Science student says life at Stellenbosch University is enriching.
"I chose to study at Stellenbosch University because from what I saw, and has turned out to be true, the University is very student interest based allowing you to be more than just a student number, it has a multitude of programs and classes, and the campus in Stellenbosch is incredibly beautiful inside and out of the buildings and I feel that the learning environment a student is in really contributes to their overall performance.
“I would encourage other Canadians to study at Stellenbosch University because the environment, facilities, multitude of cultures, and incredible people simply cannot be replicated back in Canada! It is an experience that is so hard to put into words. Studying here has left me with memories that I will never forget, and I have changed so much as a person because of the incredible experiences I have had here.”
9. Oluwadamilola Oluwusi
Some decisions are hard to make, some not. For Oluwadamilola Oluwusi, coming to Stellenbosch University was an obvious choice. Oluwadamilola, a PhD student has been a Matie student since 2014 when she first enrolled for a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics. Four years later and Oluwadamilola, or Lola as she is fondly called, says leaving Nigeria for studies in South Africa was one of the best decisions she made.
“My decision to undertake my postgraduate study at Stellenbosch is because of the good and enviable reputation of the university. I believe studying at Stellenbosch will be an excellent addition to my academic proficiency and career pursuit. The exposure will undoubtedly place me at a vantage position to effect positive changes in my area of study and allied fields.
“Stellenbosch University is a world-class institution with an international outlook. I like the exceptional programs available and are being offered. Education has always been a crucial aspect of my life and I particularly find Stellenbosch University conducive for learning.”
Oluwadamilola displays a strong sense of responsibility and is actively involved in student leadership structures. In 2017 she became the first became the first female president of the Association of the Nigerian Students Society Stellenbosch University (ANSSU). Before that she served as treasurer and vice-president of ANSSU. Oluwadamilola is also a former vice-secretary of the African Students Board and currently serves as Public Relations Director of the Golden Key Stellenbosch University Chapter.
Her message for those considering studies at Stellenbosch University. “Prospective students can look forward to an opportunity to fulfill their dreams in Stellenbosch and expand the frontiers of knowledge.”
10. Clive Mandizvidza
Of the more than 4000 international students at Stellenbosch University (SU), 58 % are from the continent – residing outside South African borders. Zimbabwean-born students represent the largest number of international students, accounting for 15% of SU’s global student population. Clive Mandizvidza is one of 634 Matie students hailing from neighboring Zimbabwe. Enrolled for a doctoral degree in Agronomy, Clive has been at Stellenbosch University since 2015. Clive says what attracted him to SU was the “high quality research output and integration of new technology and approaches to research”. “I also like the rich culture and how the university embraces diversity in all dimensions.”
Outside of the classroom Clive is the chairperson of the Stellenbosch University Seventh Day Adventist Student Movement (SDASM), a registered Christian student society.
11. Leonard Wachter
With a population of about 37 000 people, Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in the world. The tiny European country has only a few thousand more people than the entire student community of Stellenbosch University. It is also a country Leonard Wachter, a freemover student from the University of Gallen in Switzerland, calls home. Leonard is one of 400 international students who started the second semester as Matie students.
The third-year Bachelor of Arts Business Administration student will spend a semester at Stellenbosch University, getting to know the university and town.
“I chose Stellenbosch University for many reasons. To enjoy the beautiful nature of this country, to get insights into a completely different culture and last but not least for educational purposes.”
Used to alpine landscapes - Liechtenstein is bordered by Switzerland and Austria – Leonard says the next few months will see him exploring the town and region, familiarizing himself with locals. “I am looking forward to getting to know many interesting people, travelling around and overall to having a good time here in South Africa.”
12. Mpho Motsoasele
Some call it the Mountain Kingdom, others the Kingdom in the Sky. Landlocked by South Africa, Lesotho is one of two constitutional monarchies in Africa. Leaving the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho for the Boland Mountains of the Western Cape, Mpho Motsoasele moved to Stellenbosch in 2014. He is currently one of 106 Matie students from Lesotho, "the land of the people who speak Sesotho".
The B Com (Honours) student is passionate about global issues, particularly those faced by the developing world. An aspiring development economist, Mpho says Stellenbosch University seemed like a good start exploring his dream. “As the world moves towards the goals and visions of 2030 and beyond, this institution has been part of the drive for change.”
Mpho says coming to Stellenbosch was not only about the good quality education the institution offers.
“Stellenbosch is a beautiful student town. The abundant supply of cheap good wine just makes it better to live here. Stellenbosch is also 45 minutes from the mother city, which has so many cool places to visit on a student budget. Robben Island, Table Mountain, the beaches, you name it. If you are looking to create memories then this is the town.”
13. Dr Astik Biswas
Stellenbosch University (SU) is a popular destination for international postdoctoral candidates. Of the 352 postdoctoral fellows at the university, 44% are from outside of South Africa. Dr Astik Biswas, a researcher in the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, left India in October 2017 to take up a postdoctoral fellowship at SU. Here he is doing research on a project "Acoustic and language model development for multilingual South African code- switched speech".
Dr Astik Biswas says SU’s “research ambience is quite relaxed,” which helps with academic outputs.
“As a researcher of the SU, you’ll have an excellent learning and research experience. Stellenbosch University is one of the leading universities in Africa and the University offers the state-of-art platform that is respected by employers and academics worldwide.
The vibrant landscape and amazing weather make my stay special at Stellenbosch University. The support from the Professor and staff members are commendable.
14. Dan Sherrel
“Oh, the places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
Oh, the places Dan Sherrel have been to. Born in France, Dan attended school in Germany and then move on to Switzerland for tertiary studies. The French student has added South Africa to the list of countries he calls home, enrolling for a semester exchange at Stellenbosch University (SU). He is one of 400 international students who started the second semester as Matie students.
The third-year student registered for courses in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, earning credits toward his Business Administration degree at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland.
Why Stellenbosch University? “I always wanted to discover South Africa and to study at a big university with many different faculties. My home university is a smaller Business School.”
• The University of St. Gallen is one of five institutions in Switzerland with whom SU has partnership agreements and it specialises in business administration, economics, law and international affairs.