When German exchange student Sandra Rosentreter told her family that she would enroll for a one-year Master’s Degree in Cost and Management Accounting at the Durban University of Technology, her family simply laughed it off.
Well known for her strong attachment to her family and home, it seemed bizarre that the 24 year-old would consider studying in South Africa. “They (her family) all thought I wouldn’t last but they told me to do whatever makes me happy”, Rosentreter said.
And so she proceeded with her plan.
Today, Rosentreter’s family can be proud of her for having taken the plunge as she will be graduating cum laude and will receive a Dean’s Merit Award for Academic Excellence at the DUT spring graduation on September 6, 2012.
“I’m very proud to have mastered a challenge. Having to write my entire thesis in English did not come easy as this isn’t my first language. But, I am very proud to have achieved good results. This has really developed my personality,” the graduand said.
The decision was not without sacrifice though, Rosentreter said, as she had to quit a stable job and utilise her savings to fund her accommodation, food and other expenses. She also applied for a study loan whilst in Germany. Fortunately, DUT granted her a Master’s Scholarship in March 2012 until the end of August 2012 where she was offered R 3000 monthly.
On her inspiration to study in South Africa and particularly Durban, Rosentreter said she attended a guest lecture by Professor Theo Andrew, Executive Dean: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at DUT. His speech about DUT and the programmes offered in the University sparked Rosentreter’s interest.
Her previous qualification in Business Administration, obtained from Ravensburg University of Cooperative Education, Germany, was a combination of Industry, Human Resource as well as Cost and Management Accounting studies. Rosentreter was more intrigued to venture into the commerce industry.
Amidst the challenges with her studies, Rosentreter said she had a good support system. “The librarians, my supervisor and the Dean (Professor Theo Andrew) were all very helpful. This made my study experience very pleasant”, she said.
Her overall experience in South Africa has also been “superb” and awakened her to a few things.
“There are many possibilities in South Africa, many chances for business as well. The people here are very friendly and the weather is good. The service and general vibe is also good,” she said.
Although she felt homesick at times and only saw her family during her sister’s wedding in May, Rosentreter said her time away from family contributed towards her maturity.
But the highlight of Rosentreter’s time in the country was meeting her “soul mate”, who is a South African. “I’m getting married in December,” she said.
She has not decided on whether she wants to pursue her doctoral qualification but she has her eyes set on filling a leadership position in an international company.
— Naledi Hlefane