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PhD student’s experience during research visit to Berlin
Author: Faculty of Education
Published: 16/05/2024

​PhD student, Tunomukumo Namutenya, recipient of a DAAD scholarship, was fortunate to be selected for a research study visit at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, in Germany, spanning from the November 2023 to February 2024. This endeavour was an integral part of her PhD project under supervision of Prof Michele van der Merwe, Department Curriculum Studies. She shared about her experience.

Please tell more about your research study visit.

With utmost gratitude, I acknowledge the honour that was bestowed upon me to represent Stellenbosch University. The collective project initiative, known as “Humboldt International Teacher Training - Intercultural Learning in Germany and South Africa," is a joint effort between Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Stellenbosch University, and the University of the Western Cape. The project is funded by the German International Exchange Service (DAAD).

This remarkable undertaking provided me with an exceptional platform to further explore and develop my PhD research project, actively engage in the academic life, and partake in the Winter School that took place in January 2024. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to deliver captivating talks at various seminars and workshops within Humboldt-Universität, where I had the distinct pleasure of interacting with esteemed lecturers and students.

Was there a highlight during your visit?

One remarkable moment that truly stood out was when I had the privilege of participating in a Register's Colloquium hosted by the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC 1412) where I was fortunate to present and discuss undertakings from my PhD research project. The experience was extremely transformative, as I gained profound insights and established connections with various researchers and principal investigators within CRC 1412.

How did you find the city of Berlin?

I also had the opportunity to discover the vibrant city of Berlin. Germany is renowned for its impressive historical structures and architectural marvels, its numerous museums, and various food-inspired festivals. I had the privilege of exploring all of these attractions and to witness the rich heritage of such an incredible place. Truly, it was undeniably a sight to behold.

Did you have sufficient support from staff members?

My sincere appreciation goes to my esteemed supervisor, Prof. Michele van der Merwe, for her invaluable guidance, mentorship, unwavering support, and for recognizing the potential within me that paved the way for this extraordinary opportunity. I am fully committed to upholding the trust placed in me as the inaugural PhD student for this project.

Overall, this has been an immensely life-changing and gratifying experience, from which I acquired invaluable knowledge through the seminars, workshops and colloquiums, which were facilitated by Kathinka Rosenkranz, Prof. Dr. Beate Lütke and Dr. Nicole Schumacher. Their guidance paved way for me to connect and share experiences with fellow researchers in my field.

What are your plans for the future?

I look forward to continuing my journey towards a PhD and collaborating with other researchers, united by the common goal of making positive impacts in our respective fields, and carrying the spirit of Stellenbosch University to even greater heights.