Hard work is rewarded.
This is what Linda Kallis, an honours student in Financial Management, experienced this year when she was selected – based on her excellent undergraduate marks – as one of nine Maties to attend a two-week long summer school at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.
Linda, who obtained her BCom degree cum laude in 2017, was not aware of the programme originally, but was identified to take part together with three other students of the Department of Business Management.
“I couldn't believe that something like this could happen to me. Is was my first trip abroad and everything felt unreal until we boarded the aeroplane."
The programme consisted of four modules of which each student had to choose two. In addition to the academic responsibilities they also had time for cultural outings to places such as the European Parliament in Brussels and the battle fields of World War I in Flanders.
“My highlight was our visit to the European Parliament. It was an enriching experience to stand in the place where iconic speeches by people such as David Cameron, Margaret Thatcher, Theresa May, John Major and Emmanuel Macron have been delivered.
“We also visited Flanders Fields, the cemetery and garden of remembrance for soldiers who sacrificed their lives in World War I. It gave me goose bumps to listen to the stories and see the memorials and it made me realise how precious life really is."
The exchange programme has influenced Linda's outlook on life.
“I have learnt that the world is much bigger than we realise. There are so many opportunities for us to seize – we just need to be willing to take the first step. I also realised how much I love South Africa. Europe is wonderful, but to be back where I belong is the best feeling ever. It puts your whole life in perspective."
Now that she is in the home straight of her studies at Stellenbosch, Linda is making plans for her future.
“I have always been a hard worker and positive about new phases in my life and I will always cherish my time at Stellenbosch University.
“I am currently engaged in interviews to take part in a graduate programme at an asset-management company so that I can get exposure to all the divisions within the company before I decide where I would like to work permanently."