Anne Nyokabi from Kenya is a TUM student and was granted a “Deutschlandstipendium”. (Photo: Maren Willkomm)
Anne Nyokabi from Kenya is a TUM student and was granted a “Deutschlandstipendium”. (Photo: Maren Willkomm)

Anne Nyokabi from Kenya:“I’ve always had big dreams”

What TUM student Anne Nyokabi has to tell sounds like a modern fairy tale: She grew up in very poor conditions in Kenya and dreamt of being able to study. Then, Anne met a German tourist family that changed her life. In an interview with TUMstudinews reporter Sabrina Czechofsky, she reports why she has had luck on her side ever since.

TUMstudinews: Anne, you have now been in Munich for two years. How come you are at TUM?

Anne Nyokabi: I studied Computer Science in Mombasa and didn’t consider a stay abroad. In order to be able to afford my studies at all, I took on a cleaning job in a hotel. One day, I met a couple from Munich. We got along very well, and the two of them invited me to Munich and later helped me to apply to TUM. I have now been enrolled for a Master’s course of Computer Science here for two years.

That sounds like a dream.

Sometimes, I actually do feel like I’m in a dream. The fact that I was able to go high school cannot be taken for granted, as my single mother could not support me financially. Sometimes, we had no idea how we would buy food for the next day. I always dreamt of being able to study – which was actually quite utopian, because there are high study fees in Kenya. Our neighbor always laughed at me because of my plans, but I made it in the end.

Not only that. You also managed to enroll for a Master’s course at TUM.

The fact that I got to know the German couple was the biggest piece of luck. The two of them helped me a lot with everything: the visa, applying to TUM – and also financially, because I would never have been able to afford it all on my own. We are still in close contact. We meet up several times a week, and they back me up. I know I’m not alone in Germany.

How do you like it in Germany?

It’s a completely different world – not really comparable to Kenya. Germany has many advantages. As a student, for example, you get a lot of help and support if you need it. The educational level is extremely high, especially at TUM – and you can really achieve a lot with a TUM degree. Another thing I like is that everything is so well organized. What I don’t like so much is the bad weather here.

You also managed to be granted a “TUM Deutschlandstipendium” one and a half years ago. What does the study grant mean to you?

The “Deutschlandstipendium” really means very much to me. I’m also a working student at Allianz. Living in Munich is really expensive, so the financial support in the scope of the Deutschlandstipendium” helps me to make ends meet. Apart from that, I was also very lucky with my mentor Stefan Wolf, who was a scholarship holder as well. Now, he works as a computer scientist in Zurich. He gave me so many useful hints. I was very anxious before sending my application to Allianz, so I called him. We talked for about an hour, and he was able to reassure me.

In summer, you will be completing your Master’s degree. What are your plans for the future?

I would like to stay in Germany and work as a computer scientist. Here, there are a lot more options for me than in Kenya, where there are hardly any jobs in the IT sector. I want to earn money so I can give something back to society. Perhaps, I will become a sponsor myself one day, so I can provide support for German scholarship holders. I’d really like to work for Google. I know that’s a very big dream, but I’ve always had big dreams.

Anne Nyokabi, 27, is a student of Computer Science at TUM – in the fifth semester of her Master’s studies. In her spare time, she enjoys swimming and playing golf with her German family. She supports her family in Kenya as much as she can. While her older sisters are already married, her little sister would like to follow in Anne’s footsteps and take on a course of studies as well. Anne is always glad to give advice and to motivate her to put her plans into practice.

More information:
Deutschlandstipendium at TUM

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Technical University of Munich