“Staying in Germany for a few more years would be great”

In September 2016, Naira Ibrahim (23) from Cairo will be starting her third semester of the master’s degree in Business Informatics at the University of Mannheim. Her myUniMA story is about independence, the differences between student life in Cairo and Mannheim, and the possibility of staying and working in Germany after graduation.

There are probably many great universities where you could study Business Informatics. What convinced you to come to Mannheim?

I did my bachelor’s degree at the German University in Cairo (GUC), which, of course, has a German university structure. Students are required to learn German, and the university also provides great opportunities to attend language courses and workshops in Germany. That’s why I had already been to Germany several times before starting my master’s degree in Business Informatics. I even wrote my bachelor’s thesis in cooperation with HP in Stuttgart. As there are only few master’s programs in Business Informatics available in Egypt and I already knew Germany and the German language a little, I decided to continue my education here. Mannheim was my first choice because the university is one of the top business universities in Germany.

What do you think are the main differences between studying in Mannheim and Cairo?

There are a lot of differences, especially when it comes to learning style and student life. In Egypt, students have a fixed schedule, course attendance is obligatory, and there are projects and quizzes nearly every week, whereas studying in Germany is more relaxed during the semester and harder at the end. As far as the student life aspect is concerned, you can say that studying in Germany makes you very independent and responsible because you have to do everything on your own. Egyptian students often live with their parents and don’t have to worry about things like shopping, cooking, or bureaucracy. In Germany, it is also normal for students to do sports or other activities and meet friends when they aren’t studying. As Cairo is a huge city with heavy traffic, you always need a lot of time to get to your destination. That’s why students often have to focus on their studies and don’t have time to pursue other activities or meet friends regularly.

What do you like most about Mannheim and what do you miss most about Egypt?

I like that the University of Mannheim is very well equipped and tries to provide a relaxed study environment for its students. It has different libraries, the Learning Center, the Mensa, and sports courses. I also enjoy walking or running along the Rhine. What I miss most about Egypt is, of course, my family and friends, and attending large events like weddings or family gatherings. I’m currently doing Ramadan and I have to eat alone almost every evening, which is very sad because, at home in Egypt, I always ate with friends or family. Aside from that, I really miss the nice beaches and the sun.

Are you considering staying in Germany after your graduation?

As well as studying here, I spend 20 hours a week working for SAP. I had to apply several times before I got a response and I’m very happy it worked out. It would be a huge opportunity for me to stay and work in Germany after my graduation –for SAP or another company – or even to do a doctorate. I haven’t thought much about my future yet and I know that I don’t want to live here forever because of my family, but staying in Germany for a few more years would be great.

Text: Louisa Gille / August 2016