Hoe gaan dit met jou?

KLU student Jan Rickhoff shares the experiences of a semester abroad in South Africa

I came to South Africa to study at Stellenbosch University (SUN), one of KLU’s partner universities. My first impression of SUN was very positive – but overwhelming. It has about 30,000 students, so the atmosphere is different and hardly comparable to life at KLU. The welcome was as cordial as it was one year ago at KLU, though less “interactive”.

At KLU, I am enrolled in the MSc in Global Logistics program. Here at Stellenbosch, I am taking courses in international business, logistics management, and global brand management and marketing communication. While the first two courses are perfect supplements to previous courses at KLU, the brand management course has opened up a whole new horizon. It is quite interesting and interactive. I’ve gained a lot of new insights from it.

Verder ek studeer Afrikaans. Stellenbosch University is one of the few universities in South Africa where the majority of courses are taught in Afrikaans. It is one of the eleven official languages here in South Africa, and almost seven million people speak it as their native language.

Apart from the size of the university, another big difference is the grading scheme. The final exam accounts for only 50 percent of your grade. The other 50 percent is made up of presentations, tests, attendance, and assignments. So right from the beginning, the workload is huge.

Upon arriving here in Stellenbosch, I was lucky to meet some familiar faces: Anne-Sophie Hadaschik is getting her MSc in Management at KLU and came to SUN for her semester abroad, too. Britta Langer is enrolled in KLU’s MSc in Global Logistics and came to Cape Town (which is about 50 kilometers away) for an internship. And Corneli Jooste, a recent SUN graduate, studied at KLU as an exchange student in 2015. So we had kind of a KLU reunion here in South Africa.

Together, we are enjoying South Africa in our free time. Stellenbosch is a rather famous wine region. In close proximity, there are more than a hundred nice vineyards that offer tastings with amazing food and stunning views. SUN is also very famous for sports: the university hosts and supports some of South Africa’s outstanding athletes.

On the weekends, we explore as much of the country as possible. The nature in the region is perfect for awesome hiking trips and we have met locals in the nearby townships on occasion. Or you can simply spend some time on one of the nice beaches waiting to catch the perfect wave for surfing.

By Jan Rickhoff