A South African in Strasbourg: Looking Back at my Time in CAWEB

Having returned to my home country, I decided to write a short post on the people who have helped me throughout the coursework component of the CAWEB Master’s degree.

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Starting my journey at CAWEB

Studying at the University of Strasbourg was a dream come true for me. Indeed, I’ve always wanted to live in France for a year while doing something useful with my life.

Firstly, I would like to thank Campus France for granting me a bursary and making the practical side of living in Strasbourg that much easier. The French government has invested wholeheartedly in cultural interactions with South Africa, and my stay was a direct result of their generosity.

Secondly, I should thank Dr. Renate de la Paix for allowing me, the first South African in history to pursue the CAWEB Master’s, a coveted place in this prestigious program. Renate places the needs of her students above her own and has consistently upheld a standard of professional excellence.

In the same breath, I should mention Ms. Marie Lanéry and Ms. Valérie Ledermann, who played significant roles in my professional development. Thank you, Marie, for being patient with my broken French, and thank you Valérie for always going the extra mile for the students.

Without friends, we’re nothing

As a foreigner, I often felt alone in the beginning, but thanks to my classmates I quickly found a community to belong to. I would like to thank my friends: Fiona, Célia, Adriana, Florian, and Laura in particular for extending their hospitality toward me. CAWEB students stick together! I look forward to maintaining life-long friendships with these remarkable people.

The support I experienced was not limited to friendship. My classmates made a point of helping me find my feet academically as well. I’d like to thank Pierre, a classmate, and valued friend, for helping me find my way in this regard. He often took time from his busy schedule to help me – what a legend!

Memorable teachers

Besides my mentors and classmates, I would also like to thank a handful of lecturers who made a significant impression during my time in Strasbourg.

First among these is Mr. Gabriel Braun. There is no denying Mr. Braun’s extensive knowledge of programming and web development. His demanding, yet effective, teaching techniques had me coding in HTML and CSS in no-time.

Then, I’d like to thank Mr. Thomas Baguet for teaching me PHP. Mr. Baguet always approaches his work with enthusiasm, which creates a positive atmosphere in class. His relaxed and jocular mood brings out the best in students.

Thirdly, I should mention Mr. Emmanuel Winstein, who was always patient with me, despite the continual stream of questions issuing from my mouth. The same can be said for Mr. Geoffrey Quillet, who single-handedly triggered my continued interest in WordPress.

Lastly, I would like to thank Mr. Guillaume Lacreuse, who showed me the definition of professionalism.

These are the people who made my year in Strasbourg worth remembering. I now have a full-time job in Cape Town, and I can contribute my hiring directly to these precious months spent in Alsace.

I love Alsace, I love tarte flambée, and I love CAWEB.

Article written by Willem Beckmann, CAWEB Master’s.