Blog of Dr. Nitale M'Balikine KROU


The University of Kara and the Technical University of Applied Sciences of Wildau in Germany have enjoyed very good relations of academic cooperation since 2019. The partnership between the two universities has materialized in the choice of the University of Kara to host the construction of a West African research center on renewable energies within the framework of a project initiated by the “Technique d” chair. 'automation and automatic energy systems' under the supervision of the Vice-Rector, Prof. Dr. Jörg Reiff-Stephan and which will be funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). This cooperation also resulted in the organization of a first German-West African thematic symposium on sustainable and renewable energy systems on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at the University of Kara. This first German-West African conference, co-organized by the two universities, is intended to be a platform for the exchange of scientific and educational expertise on subjects related to renewable energies. It was attended by teacher-researchers and doctoral students from seven West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo) and Germany. As part of this colloquium, doctoral students from the University of Kara who presented the best research projects were awarded, of which I am the first laureate. The laureates are expected to stay in Germany for further research at the Technical University of Applied Sciences in Wildau, Germany (Technische Hochschule Wildau). It is in this context that I make my current stay in Wildau.

First impressions

I am very proud to be in this University and I would like to thank the Rector Prof. Ulrike Tippe, the Vice Rector (Prof. Dr. Jörg Reiff-Stephan), to Mr. Ron van de Sand, Eng. (FB INW: Engineering and Natural Sciences, Deputy Director of iC3 @ Smart Production), to Simon G.J Devos-Chernova (International Business Center - International Office Teacher in Business Administration - Teacher in Business Management), to Carolina (International Office) and all those who are in international relations office for the very warm welcome they gave me. My presence further strengthens this cooperation and allows a cultural mix between Germany and Africa in general and Togo in particular. On the first day, I was met at Berlin Airport by Mr. Ron van de Sand who drove me to my apartment located in Niederlehme about two (02) km from the University. I was amazed at his sympathy for me. He took me to a restaurant for dinner and on the way back he bought everything from the supermarket to get me comfortable in my apartment before I moved in. A week later, he drove me to the University for an official presentation to the Vice-Rector, teachers and other staff. My membership was very easy since those I should work with were very open to me. The climate from the start was similar to that of Togo since I arrived at the end of summer. It was in September that the climatic conditions changed with a temperature ranging between 7-16 ° C; somewhat unusual conditions as in Togo. But, I had to adapt. Three weeks after my arrival, I went to Berlin to discover some places (video).

Food in Wildau

I easily got used to the food because at first I at the food I had brought from Togo and gradually varied from food to local dishes. My favorite dish is Dona Kebab, a dish made of meats, with a sort of salad. However, there are other dishes that I like, having experienced in university restaurants. I have no longer eaten the potato which I make as a mixed meat stew. Fruits, vegetables, juices, drinks in short almost the foods consumed in Togo are available in supermarkets.

Other Things

During my stay in Wildau, I lived in a large apartment near the supermarket, a Bank Automatic Teller machine where I can easily withdraw cash and about 2 km from the campus. To help me with my travels, Prof. Dr. Michel Herzog, Manager of my host laboratory, gave me a bicycle. A good working environment was offered to me in the laboratory. I had to attend a competition on solar boats which saw the participation of several teams including Polish, German etc. 

I paid 320 euros per month, a rent that I expected a little more for the conditions in the country. I lived in the same apartment as my brothers from Togo and Benin. There were other roommates in the apartment, but we rarely saw each other.

People in Wildau

When I arrived in Wildau, I immediately notice that people were looking at me all the time because of my black skin. I guess that's because in Wildau there is little black skin. Often in the supermarkets or in traffic I meet parents with their children. These children look at me with astonishment, perhaps they said to themselves that this human race also exists ? I had become a "tourist spot" where those who have never seen black skin could look. Some faces don't look nice. One day when I was coming back from the Campus, a gentleman in his car arrived at my level stuck his head out and shouted very loudly "NEGRO". However, I also met a young schoolboy who walked past my residence every time who greeted me with a smile even when he was with his friends. Also, the people of the Laboratory were very sympathetic to me especially Mr. Kiril Dimitrov who supervise me in the Laboratory during my stay. I worked with him in the Laboratory and during my stay I never saw him show any dissatisfaction with me, he is always smiling with me with little mess. Thank you very much my friend ! Mr Ron van de Sand was very willing to listen to me and take all my concerns into account. After 3 months I got to know him well and can easily say he is one of the nice man I have ever met. It looks like he's always in a good mood and happy to help me with anything. Thank you very much Ron. Probably the person I have had the most conversation with in the field of Chemistry is Prof. Dr. Herzog Michael and I learned a lot of new things from him. We had conversations about recycling thermoplastics (polyethylene terephthalate, polyurethane, polystyrene) and discovered some very interesting perspectives it has in polymer Chemistry. For that and a lot of other things, I'm very grateful to have met him. Thank you dear Professor. I could thank all the very nice people I met during my stay in Germany all day, but that would make a little book. I would like to thank the Vice-Rector, Prof. Dr. Jörg Reiff-Stephan and all the other teachers and engineers I have met and everyone who made my stay a great experience. Thank you so much !