DUT's German exchange student is staying in Durban despite lockdown

German exchange student Jonas Bielmeier
German exchange student Jonas Bielmeier


Talking to international German exchange student Jonas Bielmeier, who is currently one of three international students, in Durban during the lockdown. He shares his thoughts on why he voluntarily chose to stay in Durban despite having a choice to go back to his country.

The 23-year-old, who is currently doing his Bachelor Studies in Tourism Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich, said that he was given the opportunity to study at a university abroad as the Faculty of Tourism in Munich has a great network of cooperating universities offering study places for exchange students.

“South Africa has interested me for a long time. Seeing pictures of safaris as a child, studying its history in school and hearing about its open and hospitable culture awakened my desire to experience the country. In this sense, a semester abroad is an extraordinary opportunity, giving you the chance to learn a new culture, rather than experiencing it as an outside tourist,” he said.

He further stressed that Durban offered the perfect combination of culture, weather and beach life. “I enjoy surfing a lot and I heard it was South Africa’s main surf city, and that the Durban University of Technology (DUT) offers a course in Tourism Management which completed my decision to come here,” he said.

Bielmeier said that before coming to the DUT, it was nice to have the freedom of choice of enrolling in subjects they don’t have back home.

“The process of getting the study visa for South Africa was probably the most difficult step to come through. A big thanks goes to the international offices of both universities at this point. They were always helpful and quick in responding,” said Bielmeier.

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