Nawal Hafez, who is from Egypt, has now been a student of Electrical Engineering at TUM for two years. A year ago, she was granted the “TUM Deutschlandstipendium”, and she does volunteer work for disadvantaged people. In an interview with TUMstudinews reporter Sabrina Czechofsky, she talks about her time in Germany – the country that has become her second home.
TUMstudinews: How did you get from Egypt to TUM?
Nawal Hafez: I’m from Alexandria. I visited a German school there and finished school with a higher education entrance qualification, the “Abitur”. After that, I wanted to study in Germany – but I wasn’t sure where exactly. One of my school friends had already enrolled at TUM and recommended the university. Because TUM has a good reputation, and because I knew I wouldn’t be all alone there, I decided to go to Munich.
You have now been here for two years. How do you like Munich?
I feel very comfortable in Munich. At the beginning, it was quite a big change, of course: In Egypt, people often approach you on the streets. Here, there is much more respect for the private sphere. Like Alexandria, Munich is “a big small town” – not too quiet, but not too loud either. I like that. I really feel at home in Germany now. I cheer for the national team and I’m a big fan of Angelique Kerber.
You were granted the “Deutschlandstipendium” and do volunteer work in the scope of the program “Talente spenden”. What exactly do you do there?
In the scope of “Talente spenden”, students who were granted the “Deutschlandstipendium” scholarship are able to give something back in exchange for the financial and ideational support. I joined “Hand in Hand”, a project in which we meet up with fellow scholars who, until recently, were guest students in the scope of “Buddies for Refugees” and who are now enrolled at TUM. It’s all based on the principle “we all help each other”, involving help regarding the course of studies as well as private exchange. Many speak German quite well already. For them, it is most important to manage their course of studies. For others, the focus is mainly on learning German.
Your parents and your brother live in Egypt. Do you miss your family?
It’s OK. My mum comes round once a year, and I often pay a visit to Egypt during the semester breaks. I also made contacts in Munich. There are a lot of nice people living in my dorm, and I have a lot of friends at ESV Freimann, where I play tennis and soccer. Plus, there’s the network of the “Deutschlandstipendium”.
Do you already have specific plans for after your studies?
I would like to stay in Germany or go back to Egypt. I can’t imagine living in any other country; two home countries are enough. After my Bachelor’s studies, I’ll aim for a Master’s degree, preferably the elite course of Neuroengineering or Electrical Engineering.
Nawal Hafez (21) has now been living in Munich for two years. She is a student of Electrical Engineering at the TUM in her 5th semester. She was granted the TUM “Deutschlandstipendium” a year ago and is supported by MAN, where she is currently doing an internship that lasts several months.