Small town girl with big dreams

14 January 2020 | Education

YANDI DU PLESSIS



Michelle Blaauw is a vibrant 21-year-old BCom accounting student at North-West University in South Africa.

Having started in 2017, she is now approaching her fourth year. She is excited about her final university year, though she will definitely miss the campus experience.

Although being far away from home is tough, Blaauw has no regrets about her decision to study in SA. “You learn so much about life. It opens up a lot of doors for you. I would definitely recommend studying in another country. University taught me that there is a greater and bigger world out there.”

She does, however, acknowledge that she has faced some challenges. Receiving funding for her studies, applying for her study permit and finally meeting the university’s requirements for her course were some of the difficulties she had to overcome. For an international student, the registration process is quite challenging, because they require so much more documentation than a South African student. However, everyone was very eager to lend a hand to the Namibians, she says. “They are very welcoming towards us.”

When asked how she decided what to study, Blaauw jokingly replies: “I ticked the box.”

Choosing a course wasn’t a very difficult decision for her, as she has always had a knack for maths and accounting. She had to complete a language test before she was accepted. Although she says languages have never been one of her strengths, she worked hard and passed.

She says she was surprised at the amount of discipline one learns at university. “The lecturers are always willing to help in any way they can, but at the end of the day, you take full responsibility for your academic performance. I really learnt some self-discipline along the way.”

After she completes her master’s degree this year, she plans to work at SGA, where she has a bursary. She also dreams of seeing the world one day. “I would like to travel and see as much of the world as possible. I want to experience more diversity and culture. Although I love my home country, the world is bigger than Namibia. I am way too young to settle.”

When asked what she loves most about the student experience and Potchefstroom, she says: “The city lights, wine with friends and the fact that the opportunities are endless. Anything is possible and you can accomplish anything you want to.”

Her favourite spot in Potch is the 24-hour Mugg n Bean restaurant, located on the outskirts of town. “There is nothing greater than sipping chai lattes with friends, chatting about every possible subject.”

When asked what her advice to aspiring female students would be, she says: “Spend less time on men who don’t deserve your attention and enjoy every minute of student life. You don’t need unnecessary responsibilities.”

The recipe for her success is hard work and good time management. “I work hard to be successful, because I would like to give my family what they have given me.

Fun facts about Michelle:

· She’s a hopeless romantic and likes to see the best in people.

· Her days mostly consist of blonde moments.

· She likes to eat healthy, but is still a sucker for cheesecake.

· She would rather binge-watch Friends with a glass of wine than go out partying.

· She’s a bit of a neat freak.

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