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The First Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in African Studies

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Laura Mahler

I learned to love the African continent during my voluntary service in Namibia, the country where my ancestors once immigrated to before returning to Germany many years later. After finishing high school in Augsburg where I grew up followed by my one-year stay in Namibia I successfully finished my Bachelor’s Degree in European Studies. Designed as an interdisciplinary study program I had the possibility to put the focus on several subjects, namely Geography, French Romance studies and Digital Humanities. Having a constant interest in Africa, its cultures, its nature and its development, I have always tried to combine the content of my university courses with my personal interest in the African continent. As part of my Bachelor studies and as my own cultural background, Europe of course represents an important point of interest to me. Nevertheless, it was part of my studies to not only concentrate on Europe but to see the continent’s role in relation to different parts of the world.

The cooperation between African and European countries represents an important and interesting topic to me. Though, recognizing a lack of communication about Africa in Germany I hope that EIMAS can transform my general interest in the continent into solid knowledge in order to contribute to a differentiated communication about it. Besides, I think that learning foreign languages is an important issue in intercultural study programs such as EIMAS since knowledge about culture and successful communication is highly connected with language skills. During my studies I took the opportunities to learn English, French, Spanish, Czech, Portuguese and a little bit of isiXhosa and I’m looking forward to make good use of the language courses offered at the three involved universities of EIMAS.

One topic which accompanied me throughout the most part of my studies and my everyday life is sustainability both in an ecological and a social meaning. Recent challenges such as climate change, resource depletion and consequent migration patterns affect the African continent to a high degree. However, it is my personal opinion that Africa has great potential to solve these problems and to change things sustainably. Therefore, nature protection and sustainable development including both the consideration of people’s traditions and sustainable management of natural resources will play an important role in the continent’s development. In this context, cooperation between African and European countries with the common aim of sustainable development is the field I’m eager to work on during EIMAS and in my future professional life.


Contact: LauraMahler@gmx.de

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