A coffee by Clausthal’s Waldseebad lake: the perfect time-out for Vijaybhai
Vijaybhai wants to know more about sustainable mining so that he can do something for the environment.
With calisthenics, Vijaybhai keeps himself in shape despite the fitness centers being closed.
A relaxed photo shoot in the Institute of Mining lecture hall

Vijaybhai from Amreli (India)

is studying Mining Engineering (M.Sc.)

The environmentalist

My life at TU Clausthal – Vijaybhai Solanki tells of his studies in mining engineering and his passion for nature and exercise.

Vijaybhai Solanki has a long journey behind him, separated from his home in India by more than 7,000 kilometers. The 25-year-old comes from near Amreli, and his hometown bears some resemblance to the Harz: mountains and trees. “The trees at home are far smaller though,” he laughs, “I have to duck underneath them.”

Objective: protect the environment

Vijaybhai, or Vijay for short, is in his fourth semester of the English-language master’s degree program in mining engineering. He had already gained his bachelor’s before he left India. He got to know TU Clausthal and several other students from his homeland through the website of the DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service. Vijay’s favorite topic is sustainable mining. “It is important to me to protect the environment,” he says. “When I’m working in this field in future, I can do my bit for the planet.”

It is not just Vijay’s dedication to the natural world that has him excited about his degree program, though; the close contact to professors is also a factor. This was very important to him, particularly when it came to digital teaching during lockdown, as he is preparing to produce his master’s thesis. He wants to write it on a new and fascinating specialty: space mining. The topic was already a key aspect of the 2020 Fördertechnik im Bergbau mining technology colloquium and will be highly significant in future too, especially for industry, since new and above all sustainable ways of extracting raw materials are essential.

Keeping fit is a top priority

Next to his studies, the 25-year-old sets a great deal of store by his health and fitness. His love of the natural landscapes in the Harz keeps him coming back to the forests on his bicycle. But Vijay’s favorite spot is the Waldseebad, a lake on the edge of Clausthal. He likes to sit there, drink a coffee, and enjoy the view. “After I’ve been out there, I can concentrate much better on studying and I’m much more relaxed,” he explains.

Normally, Vijay loves to go to the fitness center, but the pandemic that has had everything in thrall since March meant he had to look for something new. So he started practicing calisthenics, a sport where you do exercises using your own bodyweight. There is even a calisthenics park next to TU Clausthal’s sports hall. An ambitious perfectionist, Vijay was able to improve quickly. “As far as I know, there are only two people in Clausthal who do this sport, including me,” Vijay explains, visibly proud of the fact. He also decided to capture his exercises on video at the same time and upload his films on various social media outlets. Why? “I want to get more people excited about exercise and the great outdoors,” he says. That endeavor is succeeding on his Instagram account, where around 800 people already follow his content.

Cooking is like a little bit of home

Keeping fit and healthy is not just about exercise for Vijay. Cooking is another of his favorite occupations. This Clausthal student often tries out new and above all wholesome recipes. But the one he has always liked best is chicken biryani, the typically Indian dish made mainly from rice, chicken and garam masala spice mix. It’s a meal that his mother has often cooked for him in India – and since he has not been able to see her in person for over a year, it serves as a heartwarming reminder of her.