Art, culture and travel: One month abroad in Tübingen Germany

4 Apr 2019 - 08:15
Pictured from left to right: Tina Kuttler (Programme Assistant), Christina Sturm (Programme Assistant), Lukhanyo Velelo, Barbara Owen (Programme Director), Willie Macharia, Boutros Mbina, Kudzai Ngwara and Lerato Mokhethi

Earlier this year, 5 students from the University of Cape Town were awarded the opportunity to spend a month in Tübingen, Germany on Short-term exchange. Together with students from across the continent. The students attended various seminars and classes at the prestigious Eberhard Karls Universitat Tubingen from 7 January - 30 January 2019.

Classes and seminars offered to the students ranged from comparative economics looking at the South Africa and the German Economy to European Politics, Human Rights and German Film and Philosophy. Something which UCT master’s student Lukhanyo Velelo really enjoyed as he found “It was a history full of sadness and pain. However, it is also full of hope and prosperity. Here was a country that was involved in significant ways in two of the greatest wars in human recorded history, in the past century, not in rubble or war-stricken but thriving and one of the regional and global influences in our lifetime.”

The best way to experience the vastness of the diversity is to travel and explore the cities and towns; in order to discover the real hidden treasures. A statement which two of the students took to heart as they backpacked to popular small town Freiburg on their last weekend in Germany to hike the legendary snow covered Black Forest.

“In one of our evening seminars we watched a famous German indie film called Weit  or “Far” in English, which tells the story of a couple that travels across the world and I just remember this quote that one of the characters says on their journey which goes something like ‘fantasy leaves, as experience takes over.’ And that’s just exactly how I felt I experienced my time abroad for the first time,” says Willie.

From staying with warm and welcoming host families and having daily discussions discussing German and South African culture and politics over breakfast and dinner, to learning how to cook traditional Kässpätzle and being treated with visits to the Ritter Sport chocolate factory and the Haus der Geschichte History Museum, the students received a full immersion into the culture and lifestyle of German citizens.

Based in the state of Barden-Wurttemberg, the University of Tubingen offers numerous short-term programs in German and English and is a historical research powerhouse. Being the home of numerous Nobel Laureates, including the discovery of DNA where Physicist Johannes Friedrich Miescher, conducted his experiments in the old Tubingen Castle Kitchen circa 1869; The institution boasts over 500 years of experience as a leading European university.

The small “student” town is a charming mix of old European architecture bursting with new technology and liberal ideas. All while students and professors rush to and from classes in a serious yet calm demeanor. Come the end of a productive day, as it always is in Germany, everyone switches to warmth and fun vibrancy while grabbing a meal or beverage in one of the many restaurants and coffee shops in the old town center.

Video Highlights of the Tubingen-South Africa Programme 2019

To find out more about the Tubingen-South Africa Programme visit the website here:


Story and Photo Lerato Mokhethi.