“I was so eager to be accepted at the University of Mannheim that I got up in the middle of the night to be the first one to apply“

Afham Uddin Sheikh is 26 years old and comes from Karachi in Pakistan. He studies the Mannheim Master in Data Science program in his second semester. Afham had to apply three times until he was admitted to the University of Mannheim. In this month’s myUniMA story, Afham tells us about the important role that his aunt and uncle play in his life, about his struggles to come to Mannheim and what he likes about Germany.

Why did you choose to pursue your master’s degree in Mannheim?

My aunt lives in Germany and studies the master’s program in Business Informatics at the University of Mannheim. Whenever we talked on the phone, she encouraged me to apply for a program in Mannheim. She told me that the university was one of the best in Germany and that courses and professors were great. In 2014, I decided that when I would pursue a master’s degree, it would be at the University of Mannheim.

So, the University of Mannheim was your first choice for your master’s degree?

Yes, it was always my first and only choice because the Mannheim Master in Data Science program covers business, analytical science, and computer science, which are all fields that I am interested in. Moreover, my aunt and her husband offer me a lot of support during my stay in Germany. This is very important for me because I had never been to Germany before I started my studies here.

Do you like studying in Mannheim?

I really enjoy my studies. The atmosphere is great, you always find yourself in a mood to study. There is a strong demand for knowledge in Data Science these days. I also wanted to gain knowledge about how data changes our way of thinking about a problem. Furthermore, the course contents offered by our teachers and professors perfectly combine theory and practice. I hope that the Mannheim Master in Data Science program will soon be at the top of university rankings.

When did you first apply to the University of Mannheim?

It was already in 2016, after I had obtained my bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in Pakistan, that I applied to the University of Mannheim for the first time. I applied for the master’s program in Business Informatics but, unfortunately, I was not accepted. Therefore, I started to work as a software engineer and a mobile application team lead in a private software development organization in Pakistan. However, I did not give up on Mannheim and applied twice again. Last year, I was eventually admitted to the Mannheim Master in Data Science program. I was so eager to be accepted at the University of Mannheim that I got up in the middle of the night to be the first one to apply. After I had been admitted, I was extremely happy. I think my parents were also very proud of me. I was one out of 15 students who were admitted to a program for which 900 people had applied. That makes me very proud.

Do you like Germany?

Yes, I really like Germany and especially Mannheim. The city is very attractive and the people are always ready to help. I am impressed by how beautiful and green Germany is. When I travelled around with my uncle, he showed me Frankfurt and the skyscrapers. I have also been to Karlsruhe and will soon visit a friend in Munich, who is currently doing an internship there. He is also from Pakistan and studies in Mannheim.

What do you do in your free time?

I am very much interested in learning the German language so I keep myself engaged in different reading materials in order to improve my German language skills. Socializing with locals also helps me to learn and use new words. I also engage myself in learning to use new technologies related to my subject of study. I also like hanging out with friends and trying various new recipes to enhance my cooking skills.

Are there any differences between Germany and Pakistan?

In my culture, the whole family lives together. That is very important for us because it allows us to help each other. I miss that here. However, when I miss my parents, I call them and we have a good time together on the phone. When I first came to Germany, I was also confused about the weather: one day it is sunny and warm, the next day it is rainy and cold. In my country, it is different: in the morning, the air is chilly, around midday, it is hot, in the evening, it gets rather cool again and at night, it is cold. In Germany, I have learned to always take an umbrella with me. You never know if it is going to rain.

Do you have any plans for the time after your graduation?

I hope to find a job in Germany, because I would like to continue my professional career here. After two years of studying in Mannheim, I will have many friends and know many international and local students, and I do not want to lose that bond.

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

To all the students who consider applying to the University of Mannheim: Don’t hesitate, just apply!

Text: Luisa Gebhardt / June 2020