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Andile Christian Dladla, 30 years, old, is a Theology student from Durban. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from St Joseph’s Theological Institute in Pietermaritzburg and a Canonical degree in Theology from St Cyprian Theological School in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Andile is currently pursuing a Master’s degree (academic year 2017/18) in Philosophy at the Catholic University of Lyon.

Andile is particularly excited about the opportunity to tap into the cultural richness of France:  “My experience in Cameroon and coming into contact with the French language gave rise to my wish to pursue my studies in France. I have always admired French philosophers such as Simone de Beauvoir, and many others. It is of no secret that France has produced great philosophers throughout its history. This will be my first time in France and I am looking forward to it; I know it will be a fruitful experience.”

Andile is delighted to attend the Catholic University of Lyon, citing its rich history; he also looks forward to exploring the city of Lyon, which, he keenly points out, “is the cultural centre of Europe.”
He continues, “I look forward to my time in France, not only for my studies but also to benefit from the French culture and education system with the hope of giving back to my fellow South Africans here at home. I will also be able to deepen my French language skills that I have already learnt in Cameroon. As a religious, a student and a South African I am truly grateful to the French government for this amazing opportunity.”

Mattew Mayne


Matthew Mayne is a PhD student in Geology, specialising in Metamorphic Petrology, at Stellenbosch University. This month, he will be heading to l’Université Jean Monnet in Saint-Etienne as part of a joint PhD program.

We recently caught up with Matthew to find out more about his upcoming research trip to Saint-Etienne. Matthew was first drawn to the opportunity to go to France when he was looking for funding opportunities to pursue his BSc Honours degree at Stellenbosch University. This led to his encounter with his South African supervisor (Prof. Gary Stevens), who presented him with a project in collaboration with his current co-supervisor Prof. Jean-François Moyen: the project would “merge [his] passion for mathematics and programming with a geological application,” Matthew enthuses, adding that it “proved to be an enormous success and followed on to my MSc and now my joint enrolment in a PhD program.” 

Matthew considers himself extremely lucky to have found a working group that is challenging but supportive and pushes me to my limits.”

While this dedicated young doctorate student is humbled by the opportunities awarded to him, he is no stranger to travelling abroad for his studies, having spent time in Southern Africa, the UK, France and other European countries to attend conferences, workshops, field trips and perform field work.

Matthew is particularly excited about the opportunity to work with his co-supervisor (Prof. Moyen) and attending the Goldschmidt 2017 conference in Paris.  He hopes to complete his PhD program successfully after which he would like to find a job as a researcher or begin a post-doctoral position.


Ncamisile Khanyile is a French Embassy scholarship holder 2016-2018 and a France Alumni member. She will complete her studies in Engineering in applied mechanics at the School of Centrales Nantes in France this year. Here is what she has to say about her stay in France.

Je m'appelle Ncamisile Khanyile et je viens de KwesakaMthethwa, un village pas très loin de Richards Bay, KZN. J'ai obtenu une diplôme en ingénierie mécanique (honours) par l'université de Pretoria dans 2013. Depuis, J'ai travaillé chez Transnet Engineering pendant 2+ ans avant de déménager en France a 2016. Maintenant, je suis étudiante en Master de Mécanique Numérique à l'Ecole Centrale de Nantes.

This is probably all the French I know at the moment, how to introduce myself. Not perfect. Slow but surely learning:)

2. What made you pursue your studies in France? / What drew you to France?

I think it was because they offered my speciality. Not many universities in the world have this option. And with how much they have advanced in the field, I wanted to learn from them. Ofcorse the French rich culture drew me in as well. We all a little bit in our lives dream of living or visiting France. It is spectacular.

3. Have you been abroad / to France before? How does your life differ from that of SA?

This was my first time abroad. I think the major difference (at least at my host city) is the less splashy way of living. People bike, use public transport (makes sense because of easy access to it), they recycle and reuse (it’s normal to bring your own shopping bags – be it at the supermarket, marché or clothing store). Most people who drive luxury cars (BMW, Mercedes, etc) are the taxi drivers. Another major difference is the seasonal eating

4. Is there a particular reason you chose the city you are currently living in / the university you are currently studying at?

I chose Ecole Centrale de Nantes because they offer Computational Mechanics and the studies are in English. Of corse I also looked at their ranking amongst other Grande Ecoles in France.

5. What are the things that stand out for you in France? What experiences have you had that makes your trip exciting and worthwhile?

I think the highlight was spending winter holidays with a friend’s family down South in Saint-Raphael. Besides the French Reviere being one of the most beautiful places in France, I think it was getting the chance to immense myself in the French culture that made it awesome. Everyday I was learning something new about the French, and this experience made me appreciate the French cuisine, their traditions and culture. I even ate l’escargots (snails).

6. Is there any advice / tips you would give to students wishing to study in France?

I’m an academic at heart, so my studies always come first. So, my advice to someone wishing to study here is to not forget their reason for coming here, they must learn to prioritise their studies. In my Uni, the classes are insanely difficult, and the workload can easily overwhelm you. But in saying this, I think it is also important to take some down time, make friends, take time to travel (perhaps my regret to date

is I have not travelled enough, since arrival I have not been outside France). Life is a balancing act.

Also for our African brothers and sisters, the climate here is no friend to our hair (I wish I had known this before coming this side). Invest in some proper deep hair moisturising products.

7. Career-wise, what would you like this experience to hold for you upon your return from France?

I hope that this experience opens more opportunities for me, be it in academia or industry.


Meet Mercy Nqandeka, Masters in Climate Change


“My name is Mercy Nqandeka and I am from Elliotdale (Xhora), Eastern Cape. 
I went to University of Fort Hare where I did a BSc degree in Crop and Soil Science, and BSc Honours and Master’s degrees in Soil Science. During my postgraduate studies I worked with Prof Isaiah Wakindiki (Honours) and Dr Johan van Tol (Master’s), who have added a great value to my academic life.

I have been in France since June 28th.  I have enrolled in M2 programme in Agriculture, Climate Change and Transitions (ACT). The programme gives an opportunity for students to study in two different European countries.  I have already done M1 in Climate Change and Food Security (CCAFS) at the National University of Ireland.

I received the scholarship through F'SAGRI from the University of Fort Hare. Thanks to Dr Catherine Constant, Dr Laurence Mioche and Prof. Voster Muchenge, who introduced the scholarship to me and tirelessly helped me throughout the application process.

I have had a smooth preparation for my journey to France, special thanks to Narine and Jannike (Campus France officers). My arrival was also seamless, thanks to Gisele Andre who picked me from the airport and made sure that I had a residence.

I did a two-week French course and I'm now having my farm internship at St Chanion (where I'm learning about organic farming and learning French at the same time). It wouldn't be a success without help of Didier Pillot, Sophie Jean and Olga Collin.

I am planning to continue with my studies and obtain a PhD (preferably a collaboration between a South African university and a French university).” 


Mercy and her friend Avuyile Xabadiya have recently written a review paper on the heating issue of land reform that has been selected and published by HuffPost. Read more about it: