April 15, 2019
Medicine? Yes! Engineering? Yes! But chemistry? Better not. "When people in Zimbabwe say that they want to study chemistry, most people ask: ‘What will you do with it?’ ", tells Lisa Tichagwa. "They normally suggest other subjects." The 21-year-old nevertheless decided to study chemistry at Jacobs University Bremen. Now she has been awarded the August Wilhelm von Hofmann scholarship of the German Chemical Society (GDCh) for her outstanding academic achievements - and she feels satisfied with her choice. "The scholarship shows me that I made the right decision."
This does not only apply to the subject area, but also to the university. She came across Jacobs University while researching possible places to study on the internet. "The study program, the interdisciplinarity and the fact that English is spoken on campus was appealing and eventually convinced me." She applied without speaking a word of German and without having been to Germany before.
After successful admission, Lisa Tichagwa arrived in Bremen at the end of January 2017. It was a cold day and when she reached campus, it was almost dark. The feeling of being lost did not last long, though. "From the very beginning I got on well with my roommate in the dormitory. The intercultural workshop for newcomers, in which I took part, also made me feel at home very quickly."
Living and studying together with students from many different nationalities on campus also proved to be helpful for her integration. The students at Jacobs University live in four dormitories on the 34-hectare campus. "You have the feeling that everyone knows everyone," Lisa says. There are no boundaries between the nationalities and the individual age groups, whether you are in your first or third year makes no difference. "Everyone is approachable, including the professors, which is very helpful indeed."
Ulrich Kortz, Professor of Chemistry, had proposed Lisa for the scholarship, named after August Wilhelm von Hofmann, the founding president of the initial German Chemical Society. In addition to her regular studies, Lisa has been involved in Kortz's research group where the focus is on the synthesis of novel inorganic functional materials. "Lisa is an exceptionally gifted student, the best of her year", says Kortz.