Stefanie from South Africa
is studying Business and Engineering
The nature lover
With its nearly 800,000 inhabitants, Pretoria, Stefanie Damaske’s hometown, definitely counts as a metropolis, so it is not surprising that the South African at first had to get used to the size of Clausthal-Zellerfeld. But there were no other surprises worth mentioning, as Stefanie has been thinking about studying in Germany since she was in sixth grade. Before deciding on TU Clausthal, she did a lot of research and examined the programs offered by the various universities in detail.
Convinced by the good ranking
What finally convinced her to choose Clausthal was its outstanding CHE ranking and the fact that students of business and engineering don’t have to decide on their specialization before completing the bachelor’s program. “I wanted to keep my options open during my initial studies as to what direction I’ll go in future. Get an idea of the bigger picture first, then go into detail,” that’s her motto. That being said, another argument in favor of the Harz town was its “proximity” to Darmstadt, where her sister is studying. A bit of family contact is necessary after all, when you are more than 13,000 kilometers from home. Overall though, Stefanie Damaske didn’t find it too hard to find her feet in her new home.
Living and studying amid natural surroundings
The 20‑year-old finds the region here appealing, as she says herself. It may be hard to believe, considering that she hails from the geographically stunning South Africa. “Pretoria and its surroundings are great, but I would still love to show my friends how I live here someday. How quickly I can get to the countryside – that’s something we really don’t have at home,” Stefanie notes. She also likes the tranquility and the family atmosphere and has particularly positive memories of the helpfulness that reigns among students. On the subject of help, she recalls that she needed a little support in terms of clothing when she was first here. “Someone had to explain to me what winter shoes are,” she relates with a smile. Another slightly overwhelming element at the beginning was the speed of proceedings at German supermarket cash registers. “At home, there’s only one person at a time putting their shopping on the belt. At there’s someone at the other end who packs your bags. You just need to pay. Here, I have to do everything at once!” she laughs.
Sample different activities – then choose
Doing lots of things at the same time, by choice, was Stefanie’s strategy when she started studying. She wanted to try out numerous leisure activities and then choose which she liked best. So she played cello in the TU Clausthal symphony orchestra, sang in a choir, played volleyball, and did step aerobics. She also supported the LAZARUS surplus-food sharing project run by Diakonie, the social welfare organization of Germany’s Protestant churches, as well as Consulting Team e. V., the student business consultancy. The latter has become a regular feature of her free time. The work there gives her a lot of pleasure. As she cheerfully puts it, “At Consulting Team, I have a chance to grow and learn new things. Those challenges appeal to me.” It is therefore unsurprising that she would prefer to be self-employed in her post-university life. She can’t say yet exactly what that should look like, but there’s plenty of time for such important decisions. All the best to her then – or, to use the miners’ “good luck” phrase favored here in Clausthal, “Glück auf!”