The German Exchange Programme of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (SBEDS) got into full swing recently with three postgraduate students from Erlangen University in Germany being entertained at a tea party.

German students – Mr Javad Mousavia, Ms Lena Pahlenberg and Ms Luisa Arndt – were all excited to be a part of the UKZN student community for the next five months.

‘We’ve been here almost a week and everything has been great. The residences are neat and well-organised, the campus is beautiful and everyone is helpful and friendly,’ said Pahlenberg.

Arndt said lectures at the University were also well structured. ‘In Germany, we don’t usually call our professors by name so that is taking some getting used to but classes so far have been a learning experience because there’s such intense discussions over course topics.’

The exchange programme will also see three SBEDS postgraduate students Mr Simon Halvey, Mr Jackie Shandu and Ms Mary Msowoya going to Erlangen University.

‘We are always looking for collaborations with respectable global institutions. A representative from Erlangen was visiting us last year and that’s when we began discussions about the exchange programme,’ said Mr Mvuselelo Ngcoya, Academic Co-ordinator for Development Studies at SBEDS.

‘UKZN students get to take courses at a leading programme in International Relations and Development Studies. In addition to a monthly scholarship, they have the opportunity to take German language courses which are also fully funded.

‘They might find the European winter challenging, but that’s part of the deal,’ said Ngcoya.

Msowoya, a Population Studies student, is expecting the exchange programme to be a lot of fun and a great learning experience. ‘It will be my first time overseas and I’m nervous but I’m sure I’ll enjoy myself and all that Germany and Erlangen University has to offer.’