Master’s Student from Egypt Receives DAAD Prize

A successful student with two part-time jobs who is involved in the departmental student committee and also a buddy for international students: A day in the life of Amina Elbarbary needs to have more than 24 hours. The Egyptian loves her program and her life in Mannheim, despite her busy schedule. For her excellent academic achievements and her volunteer work, she has now received the DAAD Prize.

Amina grew up in Cairo. When she was three years old, she started to learn German, first in a German kindergarten and then at a German school. “I always had the feeling that I will study in Germany”, she says. She was right: “Mannheim was the first university to respond and is one of the leading institutions for Political Science in Germany. Mannheim is perfect for me since I love the methodological approach and students come into contact with research from the start.”

Her older brother who was already studying in Mannheim supported her when she started her bachelor’s program in Mannheim. “I felt privileged, since he was able to help me a lot, for example, with finding a place to live”, the 24-years-old student says. Due to her personal experience, she is actively involved in the university’s buddy program and the departmental student committee for Sociology and Political Science. Amina is always there for international and German students. “I often get messages from people I do not know, and they ask me questions about institutions or the program. But I love that, and I am always happy to help!”

Since she spends many hours of free time supporting other students, she was nominated for the DAAD Prize: “Especially during the pandemic, she has organized and enhanced the social life of her fellow students and many students are very grateful for that”, says Angela Dörflinger from the International Office. For Amina, this goes without saying. In addition, she says: “Not only the students support each other. The schools and institutions of the University of Mannheim also have a good support system. In addition to the high quality of teaching, this is why I chose to pursue my master's degree here.”

Currently, Amina is writing her master's thesis. A year ago, she started to attend preparatory courses for a doctoral program at the Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences (GESS) at the University of Mannheim. She also works as an assistant at the chair of Political Economy and as a working student at SAP. “People often ask me how I manage to do so many things. But I am used to having a busy schedule: While I was in school, I was a high diver for eight years. I trained for about six hours every day”, the student says.

The master’s student thinks about working in political consulting, after having obtained her doctorate. A job at the interface between Egypt and Germany would be perfect. “I feel at home in both countries and cannot decide if there is one country where I’d rather live”, says Amina. But first she wants to pursue a doctorate and continue to be involved in the work of the departmental student committee.

About the DAAD Prize
The DAAD Prize is worth 1,000 Euro. Each year, the prize is awarded to an international degree-seeking student of the University of Mannheim. By awarding the prize, a selection committee consisting of the International Office and the schools honors the excellent academic achievements and the volunteer work of the student.

Text: Luisa Gebhardt / July 2021