German environment and marine enthusiast joins University of Seychelles as the first international student
Already familiar with life in Seychelles, German Lara Kalisch is receiving financial support from her family to study environmental science at University level in the Indian Ocean island nation. (Salifa Magan, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - A little over two weeks ago a young German woman, Lara Kalisch, disembarked at the Seychelles International airport at Pointe Larue, on the eastern coast of the main island of Mahé where she was welcomed by representatives of the University of Seychelles, UniSey.
Albeit this was not the first time Kalisch had made her way to the Indian Ocean island archipelago of 115 islands with a population of around 93,000 people; the purpose of her visit is quite different this time.
The 21-year-old who hails from Heidelburg, in the South of Germany, is in fact the first international student to enroll at Seychelles’ first and only university, where she will be studying for three years to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science.
|21-year-old Lara Kalisch has a passion for the environment and the sea. (Unisey) Photo License: CC-BY|
Before taking this step, Kalisch had spent six months, from January to July last year working as a volunteer with Global Vision International, GVI, a not-for-profit organisation that runs conservation and community development programmes in numerous locations around the world, including Seychelles.
Having a great love and passion for the environment and the sea, she spent the first 3 months doing marine conservation work around the protected marine national park of Cap Ternay. She also spent the next 3 months doing a dive master internship at Blue Sea divers, a diving centre at Beau Vallon, in the north of Mahé.
“When I was here last year for six months with GVI …I really liked Seychelles and then I decided that I want to do my degree in either marine biology or environmental science,” Kalisch told SNA in an interview.
“So I was looking at universities abroad like in England, Scotland, Canada, and I was like - I actually really like living in Seychelles...maybe they [Seychelles] have a university who knows and it actually turned out that Seychelles has a university and offered a degree I wanted to study.”
|Lara Kalisch pictured at the airport after she was met on arrival by staff of the university of Seychelles. (Unisey) Photo License: CC-BY|
According to Kalisch, the cost of studying in Seychelles would be much cheaper, in comparison to other universities she was considering.
An only child, the young environment and marine enthusiast is receiving the support of her family to fund her three-year studies in Seychelles.
“I just want to be able to work outdoors and do research after my degree and don't sit in the office the whole day.”
Upon obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Kalisch wishes to work in Seychelles for a year or two, although she would like to also pursue her studies further, for a Master’s degree at one point.
“My biggest dream is going to work on Aldabra one day,” she confided in SNA.
Located in the westernmost part of the Indian Ocean archipelago, some 1,100 kilometres from the main island of Mahé, Aldabra, one of the world’s largest raised coral atoll is renowned for its pristine beauty. The UNESCO world heritage site is home to a population of endemic giant Aldabra tortoises that is far greater than the 90,000-strong human population of the Seychelles, as well as a wide variety of birdlife, marine life and exotic species.
|The young German woman spent six months volunteering with Global Vision International and doing a dive master internship at Blue Sea divers, prior to developing an interest in studying in Seychelles. (Lara Kalisch) Photo License: CC-BY|
At the moment, Kalisch is residing in an apartment at Bougainville, located on the southern coast of Mahé while she is receiving the help of UniSey staff to look for other options to choose from.
Established in September 2009, the University of Seychelles offers degree and post graduate studies, with degrees also awarded by partner institutions such as the University of London, L’Université de La Réunion, and L’Université de Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne.
The new academic year, to which Kalisch will also be admitted is expected to kickstart next Wednesday September 16, when new students will be going through the induction programme.
It was in January this year, that UniSey announced it is planning to open its door to international students. In an interview with SNA, UniSey said it was ready to take on new challenges adding that the inclusion of international students would help create a more diverse and vibrant university culture.
Although it has not disclosed the exact number, UniSey informed SNA that the international recruitment campaign is still ongoing and that other international students will be enrolling on various courses for the 2015/2016 academic year.
“UniSey’s marketing effort is mainly through international recruitment fairs, website, social networking sites, international agents, Google ads and other e-magazines,” Diana Benoit, the marketing coordinator at UniSey, told SNA in an emailed statement.
According to an international students’ information brochure released at the beginning of the year, courses would range from around $6,700 to $12,000 per year and living costs for 40 weeks estimated at around $9,000, including accommodation, meals, transport, books and stationery.