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Rhodes scholar Nadja Yang:

To Oxford for a DPhil

TUM student Nan-Hua Nadja Yang
"Prayers were answered." TUM student Nan-Hua Nadja Yang was granted a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship from the University of Oxford. (Photo: Maren Willkomm)
The Rhodes Scholarship is considered the oldest and most prestigious international scholarship in the world. Recently, it was awarded to 102 beneficiaries from all over the world, and only two of them are students from Germany. One of the lucky ones is Nan-Hua Nadja Yang from TUM. What does this opportunity mean for her?

Nadja, congratulations on the Rhodes Scholarship! What exactly does this mean for you?

Nadja Yang: The scholarship covers the costs of postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford for two to three years. At the moment, I am studying Chemical Engineering at TUM in my seventh Bachelor's semester. I will probably complete my studies soon so that I can start my DPhil at Oxford.

So the scholarship is a huge opportunity?

Absolutely. None of this would have been possible without the financial support. The scholarship covers the cost of my studies as well as my board and lodging. Above all, the network is very special and I am looking forward to meeting many inspiring people.

How did you hear about the Rhodes Scholarship in the first place?

I have been gathering information on various scholarships for quite some time because I had the desire to continue my studies abroad. I heard about the Rhodes Scholarship, applied for it, and was invited to the interview day. Each country or region where the Rhodes Scholarship is awarded has its own Rhodes Committee that selects the scholarship holders.

And how did you feel when you were accepted?

We were ten candidates who spent the entire day together. All the candidates were very nice, and I really believe everyone would have deserved the scholarship. At the end of the day, we all had to line up in a row and the jury read out two names. I was infinitely grateful and happy when I heard my name – the prayers have been answered.

Only two Germans can receive the scholarship each year. That shows a lot of discipline.

When I have a vision, I am always very motivated. During my studies, I have already pursued several projects with great passion. In the first semester, for example, I was a founding member of the Aletheia International Church. In the second semester, I co-founded the first accredited university dance group, the "Fusian Dance Crew". In the third semester, I founded and managed the Department of Environment in Garching. Additionally, I was the Garching representative of the AStA and am currently a member of the board of the Studierendenforum im Tönissteiner Kreis e.V.

What plans do you have for your future?

First of all, I would like to gain experience in the industry and then move towards public policy, as there is still quite a demand for experts in the field of sustainable development. I am especially interested in means to make the German and European industry more environmentally friendly.  

Do you already have visions for this?

A few years ago, I visited the largest aluminum smelter plant in Germany. Its energy consumption accounts for 1% of the country's total energy budget. Turning a few screws there, for example, would certainly change a lot. In principle, however, I am interested in holistic systems, which is why I would also like to take a close look at the "Water-Food-Energy nexus", the "Circular (Bio)economy" and the global food systems. In the end, it is particularly important to me – especially regarding the next decades, which will be of crucial importance – to make a positive contribution to the goal of climate neutrality by 2050.

(Interview: Sabrina Czechofsky)

Nan-Hua Nadja Yang (22) is from Bremen and grew up in Frankfurt am Main. During her studies, she conducted research at the Tsinghua University Beijing and the University of São Paulo, and she completed a "Semester at Sea". Nadja’s stays abroad and her entire studies were made possible thanks to various scholarships. In her free time, she likes to sing, play guitar, and dance (Hip-Hop and Chinese dance). More information: The Rhodes Scholarship