“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 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 perspective 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?

Naira: 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 take German language courses and the university also offers great opportunities for language courses and workshops in Germany. That’s why I had already been to Germany several times before starting my Master’s in Business Informatics. I even wrote my bachelor’s thesis in cooperation with the company “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?

Naira: There are a lot of differences, especially in the learning style and the personal life of a student. Whereas students in Egypt have a fixed schedule, attendance is obligatory, and there are projects and quizzes nearly every week, studying in Germany is more relaxed during the semester and harder at the end. As far as the personal life of students 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. Another aspect is the possibility to study and do sports or other activities and meet friends, which is normal in Germany. Cairo is a huge city with heavy traffic and 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?

Naira: I like it that the University of Mannheim is equipped very well and tries to make everything available for a relaxed study-environment. It has different libraries, the learning center, the Mensa, and sports courses for students. I also enjoy walking or running by the river Rhine sometimes. What I miss most about Egypt is, of course, my family and friends, as well as not being able to attend large events like weddings or family gatherings. I’m currently doing Ramadan and almost every evening I have to eat all by myself, which is very sad because at home I always ate together with friends or family. Aside from that, I miss the nice beaches and the sun a lot.

Is it an option for you to stay in Germany after your graduation?

Naira: In addition to my studies, I’m working 20 hours a week 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 do my PhD. I haven’t thought much about my future yet and I know that I don’t want to live in Germany forever because of my family, but a few more years would be great.

Interview: Louisa Gille  |  Photo: Elisa Berdica  |  August 2016