Janske Nel, South Africa

 

Meet Janske Nel. She hails from Bredasdorp, South Africa. She received her Master of Science in Nanoscience from the University of the Western Cape.

 

She is currently at the University of Angers on the Erasmus Mundus NanoFar scholarship doing a three year PhD (two years in France and one year in Belgium). Her PhD involves cancer research, pharmacology and nanotechnology.

 

 “I learned of the NanoFar program via extensive, and increasingly desperate, Googling! After I attended a conference overseas for the first time, I wanted to see the world of research on an international level.”

 

When asked about her first impression of France, this is what she had to say:

 

O, the food! The wonderful, wonderful food! My kingdom for the pain au chocolat! France is the epitome of business blended with pleasure - everyone works hard, efficiently and with passion... right up until lunch time. Lunch time in France is an experience. As a student, and researcher, I am used to taking lunch in the office, furtively gobbling up my sandwich at my desk and quickly returning to my studies. In France, there is none of that! Food is an affair, a pleasure, a time to enjoy and savour. The French philosophy of enjoying life in work and in leisure, suits me perfectly!”

 

And when it comes to learning the language of love ?

 

 The French classes are certainly a challenge - learning a new language is not for the faint of heart! I will be attending an Autumn school, for all new NanoFar students, for the next few days. I expect the classes to be fascinating and a teensy bit intimidating!”

 

Luckily she is working in a very international lab “with students from around the world where, luckily, the English language in common. My supervisor is French, however, but is an absolute star in making an effort to speak English!”

 

We all know that there is no place like home but we also asked her if she was enjoying her time in France…

“Very much! Of course, the pang of homesickness strikes occasionally. Mostly on Friday’s, late afternoon, when my South African heart knows I should be sitting beside a braai with something cold in my hand. But, I need only to open my window and look upon the beautiful Maine River to know that very soon I’ll be calling France my favourite place.”

 

NB: Students may start applying for the French Embassy and SafeThink Scholarship program from the 23rd of November 2015.

For more information, click here.