Foreign students enrich the University of Stuttgart, both culturally and academically. To honor this, the Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD) annually funds a prize to be awarded to an outstanding foreign student. This year, the prize was awarded to Aron Negusse Asfaha. He comes from Eritrea and received the prize for his excellent performance in the English-speaking Master’s study program WAREM – Water Resources Engineering and Management and his commitment at the residence department Stuttgart e.V.
Interview with Aron Negusse Asfaha
My interest in water Engineering Sciences comes from, not only a local perspective but a global one. The fact that fresh water becomes an increasingly scarce resource is not only a concerning issue but is also a reality that can be witnessed first-hand throughout the globe. The more I realized this the more I felt compelled to contribute to my country who is struggling of water shortages and to humanity as a whole. Sustainable solutions require an innovative and technological advancement over a multidisciplinary and systematic platform that offer solution for a better tomorrow. And this is exactly what I want to be a part of.
I choose to study at the University of Stuttgart because I found it in my opinion the best fitting program towards my expectations. The WAREM program at the University Stuttgart is Structured in such a way that individual student can select their core focus from a wide variety of courses in both the second and third semester since the Mandatory courses mostly are given in the first semester. Another important aspect is the fact that the university of Stuttgart owns the biggest hydraulic laboratory in Europe (VEGAS) in which I also had the opportunity to work as a research assistance and the university also has a real working wastewater treatment plant which is fully functional for all practical purposes. So all this convinced me that the university of Stuttgart was the right place to acquire solid knowledge.
Well Eritrea is a small country with small towns and cities where people know each other well. The lifestyle and culture in Eritrea is more conservative, traditional that live in a collective society. To the contrary the lifestyle in Stuttgart is quite the opposite and people are more individually oriented.
I love to work with people, and I love helping student who have a hard time getting around, finding accommodation, student who have a difficulty understanding German, student who are not familiar with the housing regulations and so on. It also gave me a glimpse into German organizational norms and standards.
I think time is rarely the issue, its more of a question of willingness, it is important to keep your studies as a priority but accommodating time for social life, sports, hobbies and fun is equally important as it affects your academic performance as well. I used to have a weekly work schedule with mandatory fixed plans that I can’t change like classes, office hours at the Wohnungsreferat and my hiwi job, then I would distribute the remaining time for study, sports, leisure and so on. Depending on the week my study hours might increase and less time would be available for the remaining activities and vice versa.