30 June 2022

Henger's presence on the Mbombela campus and being part of the university community is the outcome of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) that UMP signed with Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg in 2019. The focus of the agreement was on Inter-cultural Relations; Business Management; Economics and Business Education.

The MOU covers research and curriculum development for staff and student exchange mainly on curriculum development for a module development under constrained conditions for Honours in Development Studies and the development of innovation and entrepreneurship in various fields.

The agreement has proven to be a success as it has brought three students from Germany to study at UMP, Henger being the third. He has been in South Africa for six months, and says he chose UMP because he wanted to explore nature and UMP was the perfect place for that especially because of its location and proximity to the Kruger National Park.

“When I looked up the university online, I saw that it was a new university with a futuristic building which is different from the old universities in Germany. I always tell people from home that UMP is the most beautiful university that I have ever seen, the trees make it look like you’re on an island."

He further says: “The university cleared a lot of misconceptions about Africa, mainly because it’s on the hill and has easy access to water just like in our country.”

Henger says although it was very challenging for him to get to South Africa at first, he received help from UMP staff members and also had the opportunity to meet the Vice-Chancellor, which is exemplary of how accommodating the university has been.

“As an ambassador for the German university, I am also here to promote our university, we would like to have South African students, especially from UMP to come to study at our university.”

Experience at UMP

“Everyone at the university has been supportive. Some of the staff members went as far as giving me their contact details to call them if I ran into trouble, and that doesn’t usually happen in Germany. I was also allowed to travel throughout the country which made my experience even better. I was offered access to the research commons where I can study which is a quiet place for master’s students,” he said.

“What I liked most is that the campus has a pool and a gym, and I have never seen a university with a pool because in Germany we do not have campus housing. I got an opportunity to try new food that I haven’t had before and that was a great experience. My favourite building has to be the Multipurpose Hall, it has very good technology and also the design is beautiful. I was placed at Building 13 which is the new student residence, where I have a very big shower, kitchen and sleeping area. It’s much bigger than my old room,” he adds.

Unfortunately, Henger has to leave a little bit earlier than scheduled because he still needs some research for his master's thesis. After all, there are some books he cannot get online. “I would love to complete my Master of Science so I can become an economics and English teacher. Teaching has always been my dream job. It is why I felt I had to quit my job and focus on school”, he said.

@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures by ChrisplPhoto