Essentially studying in Namibia through German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarship has been the best decision I have ever made in my entire life. This opportunity has changed my life for the better and has greatly shaped the way I look and think about certain aspects of research and life. Even though the thought of spending nearly two years away from home seemed intimidating at first, it did not take long for Namibia – and Windhoek in particular – to become home for me. My time in Namibia has made me more willing to step out of my comfort zone and try new things, especially independent research and the confidence this experience has given me is truly humbling.
Studying in Namibia has also offered me the chance to travel to countries I’d never seen before like Germany, through four months DAAD short-term research stay scholarship (04.10.2021 – 31.01.2022). This is in courtesy of Dr Olaf’s invitation, who will supervise my work, while at the research Social Customer Relationship Centre (SCRC) Institute, Leipzig, Germany. The goal is to design m-Agri Market Price Information Platform that will provide access to current, affordable, relevant, accurate, and two-way market price information as well as business contacts and transport services for the Namibian small-scale farmers (SSF), traders, and transporters. This will enable SSF to strengthen their negotiation powers against traders, and to sell their commodities in markets or to traders with higher price.
Furthermore, after rigorous one year and eight months, research has now become one of my passions and I cannot wait to see what else the academia has to offer. Aside from living in an insanely beautiful and culturally stimulating Windhoek city, I met some of the most amazing people – including my DAAD colleagues from different African countries: Namibia, Malawi, Nigeria, Zimbabwe etc; DAAD Coordinator Mr Kapuire; Master Thesis supervisors the best Prof Hippolyte & Mr Mbaeva; FCI; NUST fraternity; NUST International Relations Office and established friendships that I am sure will last a lifetime. Looking back on it, Master of Computer Science by Research at NUST has exceeded my expectations.
Although I am an introvert, a confident, prayerful, and quiet gentleman who keeps to himself and traveling throughout Namibia to experience a new country has not been possible due to the thesis, the experience has been worth it. While the reality of my time in Namibia being over is a bit distressing, the memories, experiences and friendships I have made also are aspects of my life I will forever cherish. I will forever be grateful that I had the opportunity to study in Namibia and abroad Germany. I would recommend studying in Namibia – especially NUST – to everyone! For anyone wishing to study in Namibia, I wish you all the best and hope that your experiences teach you more than you could have imagined and helps you grow into the person you want to be! Thank you.
Akot Benjamin Awanda is from the Republic of South Sudan, a DAAD scholar 2020 and 2nd year Master of Computer Science student (Software Development Track) in the Faculty of Computing and Informatics (FCI) at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), Windhoek, Namibia.