Hi! My name is Eline and I started studying in Namibia† Namibia is the second most sparsely populated country in the world and with its pristine nature, it is still unknown to many. For my studies I was given the opportunity to travel to this beautiful country. I would like to tell you more about studying in Namibia and especially in the capital Windhoek.
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Education system in Namibia
In Namibia it is compulsory to have had at least 7 years of primary education or have reached the age of 16. Primary and secondary education are free. This makes education possible for every child.
Every child starts in class 1-3 in kindergarten. From here, the official language of Namibia is learned, namely English. It continues with primary school in grades 4-7. After this, compulsory education ends and it is possible to go to secondary school. These are divided into lower secondary education (classes 8-10) and higher secondary education (classes 11-13). After high school, the transition can be made to study at a university.
To maintain literacy, classes are taught in English. Here, a lot of pressure is placed on subjects such as mathematics, health education, language and religion, while subjects such as physics and chemistry can still be taken at secondary school.
Universities in Namibia
If you want to study in Namibia, there are 3 universities all over the country, the main offices of which are located in the capital Windhoek. The largest university in the country is the University of Namibia. Despite the young age of this public university, approximately 30.000 (2021) students are enrolled from more than 41 countries. These students are spread over 8 faculties with a total of 12 campuses spread across the country. The largest campus is located in the south of the city of Windhoek.
The other public university is the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), also formerly known as Polytechnic of Namibia. This university has 6 faculties that accommodate a total of approximately 12.000 (2019) students from 32 different countries. The campus is located in the center of the city of Windhoek. This is also the university where I study for my Civil Engineering study, I will tell you more about this in my story.
The last university in Namibia is a private university called, International University of Management. This university has several campuses across the country where a total of 9.000 students study.
All 3 universities have many collaborations with foreign universities and are therefore open to international collaborations. Due to the former colonization of Germany, there are many large collaborations with German colleges and universities.
In Namibia payment is made with the Namibian Dollar which is one to one equal to the South African Rand.
Due to the subtropical desert climate and the great water shortage, few agricultural products can be grown. Most supermarkets therefore import from South Africa. As a result, the prices for fresh products can be compared with Dutch prices. Namibia is known as a country where a lot of meat is produced and eaten. Think of chicken, beef and pork, but don't forget the game such as springbok, oryx, zebra, etc. Due to the low transport costs, this is a lot more affordable compared to the Dutch level. In general, the costs in the supermarket are comparable to a Dutch supermarket.
Rental prices in Namibia are comparable to Dutch prices. You often have a swimming pool in the garden for this. Remember that in most homes there is no central heating and especially in winter, indoors can get very cold. It can quickly become warm indoors in the summer. I myself live on campus in a high-rise apartment, Poly Heights, see photo below.
The tuition fees as we know them in the Netherlands are not known here. Here you are the first to pay registration costs and then pay separately for each course you follow for your study programme. The prices of these differ greatly and depend on the number of contact hours per week. In general, the prices are less high than in the Netherlands. For many residents of Namibia, these prices are very high and it is still a privilege to study.
What is it like to study in Namibia? The capital Windhoek is not the first city that comes to mind when it comes to bustling city life. Nevertheless, there are many bars and clubs in the center to have a nice evening with friends.
It feels like you are in Germany but you are really in Windhoek at Joe's Beerhouse. In addition to delicious food, you can also take a seat at the cozy bar and drink half liters of Namibian beer. The beer in Namibia is brewed according to the "deutsche Reinheitsgebot" and is therefore of good quality and the same taste as our eastern neighbours. Because it is brewed in Namibia itself, the prices are the same as water or cola. Joe's Beerhouse is located north of the center but is known by every resident of Windhoek and many tourists.
Brewers Market or as it used to be called the Warehouse theater is the most famous place for live music. After work, many Namibians gather here to usher in the evening. It is located in the center of the capital Windhoek and is easily accessible for a pleasant evening out.
Andy's Pub & Bar
Located just outside the center of Windhoek in the Klein Windhoek area you will find this very cozy pub. There are also options to eat in this pub. The menu is in both German and English with many German classics on the menu. The drink menu is full of different beers, wines and cocktails. Why this one is on the list because here you can get a good price, tasty and a lot to drink in a bar with a cozy atmosphere.
The Social Club
For a dance evening you should definitely come here after. It is a typical club for long evenings with friends. It is mainly open on weekends and evenings. For a small fee you get entrance to the African music and vibe that hangs in this industrial area, just outside the center, where The Social Club is located.
Studying in Namibia: My story
At the beginning of March 2021, I was faced with the choice to study for 2 semesters in Namibia at the Namibia University of Science and Technology. A few days earlier I had completed my Bachelor's degree in Architecture at the Fachhochschule in Aachen (Germany).
For many years, the Fachhochschule in Aachen has collaborated with the Namibia University of Science and Technology by means of a Double Degree. A Double Degree means that you will receive a Bachelor's degree at your home university and a Bachelor's degree at your exchange university for the same education. You only need to study for 2 semesters (1 year) extra. The Namibia University of Science and Technology is largely newly built and is planned to build more in the coming years.
In 2016 I was on holiday in Namibia for the first time and since then I have caught the African virus. When I was given this choice, I wanted to go and make this special experience an unforgettable one. 2 weeks after the choice I was on a plane bound for Windhoek to stay here until the end of the year. It was in the middle of the corona pandemic which brought a few extra challenges. Once I arrived I realized that the corona pandemic is less big here than in The Netherlands and was therefore very happy to have freedoms again that were no longer possible in the Netherlands.
The first semester had started and we live on campus. We had normal lessons in half of the subjects. For the first time in a year I was allowed to take normal classes in classrooms with other students and professors. The other half of the courses were online because they were students with large numbers and it was not possible to divide them into classrooms. In my spare time I already made several trips throughout the country to get to know the country even better. This way I had a fairly normal student life again and I can enjoy the time that we have ahead of me for the time being, here in beautiful Namibia.