Travel diaries: When in Egypt

Travel diaries: When in Egypt

If Egypt is on your travel bucket list and you have time and some money, now might be the right moment in years to visit the country which is a treasure trove of historical sites and natural vistas. From the beauty of Red Sea, the oases of the desert and the wonders along the Nile, you can never get enough of Egypt but you must always try. In this blog, we barely scratch the surface exploring one of the greatest African countries.


Many travellers to Egypt believe that the sights offered by the ancient city of Luxor are probably the best in the entire country. While equal number of visitors would disagree with this statement, Luxor indeed has the charm and history to take you back to the days when Pharaohs ruled the deserts of Egypt and everything in between them.

Karnak Temple in all its glory. Source: Author

Located on the east bank of the Nile is the magnificent Luxor Temple – a complex from 1400 BC dedicated for crowing the kings of Egypt (both in person and in absence). While the site is definitely captivating in broad daylight, the light show after sunset adds more mystery to the temple, leaving visitors enthralled. Equally jaw dropping is the Karnak Temple which is believed to be second most visited site in Egypt. The vast complex comprises many temples, chapels and pylons, built incrementally over a period of several years.

Luxor Temple at night. Source: Author

On the west bank is the Temple of Hatshepsut, believed to be the only temple dedicated to a woman pharaoh. A mortuary in essence, this temple is part of the Theban Necropolis and includes Mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II and Temple of Thutmose III. Speaking of the necropolis, at the heart of it is the Valley of the Kings – a valley with tombs cut out in rocks for the pharaohs and their many noble. With its 63 tombs and chambers, the valley was the main burial site for the Egyptian New Kingdom which lasted from 16 BC to 11 BC.


Travelling in Egypt can be quite hectic; the bustling crowd, traffic on the roads and dense built environment. Hurghada provides you the perfect escape from all of this. Located on the serene Red Sea coast, Hurghada is everything a relaxing dream is made of – crystal clear waters, friendly people and peace of mind which comes with a small town.

Red Sea and the humble skyline of Hurghada. Source: Author

Start your exploration by going to the El Dahar Square and take a walk through its traditional souks; buy something or not or just enjoy the atmosphere. As a city centre, this is also the right place to explore different packages for the many sports activities Hurghada offers and is famous for. From scuba diving to ‘submarine’ trips into the Red Sea, you will find plenty of options to enjoy the sandy beaches and the colourful coral reefs.

The beautiful underwater life. Source: Author

If – unfortunately – Hurghada is the only city you will visit in Egypt, take some time out to visit Mini Egypt, an outdoor educational park which takes you through miniature models of Egypt’s most famous landmarks. For some indoor fun, head to Hurghada Grand Aquarium to be spellbound by hundreds of sea animals from various species.


Known for its Nubian lifestyle, Aswan is the southernmost tourist city of Egypt along the Nile. In ancient times, Nubia was a region spreading from Aswan in Egypt to Khartoum in Sudan and was host of an empire separate from the Egyptian one. The modern city has many sites to visit and several wonders to enjoy; Nubian Museum to get heads up on the history of this great region, Elephantine island for its archaeological attractions and El Nabatat Island for its exotic trees and plants from all over the world.   

Calm Nile and peaceful Aswan. Source: Author

But no visitor to Aswan should leave the place without going to the Abu Simbel temples. These larger than life rock temples are dedicated to Ramesses II and his queen Nefertari and are located close to the border of Sudan. The larger temple dedicated to the king is known for its alignment with the sun in such a way that every year on October 22 and February 22, the rays enter the sanctuary and light up the sculptures on the back wall of the temple. A visit to the temple requires some planning because cheap, government-supported trips take place only twice a day and private visits could be very expensive. However, it is not difficult.

Abu Simbel – the temple that moved! Source: Author


A brilliant contrast to Cairo in terms of its size and views, Alexandria takes your breath away with its pristine Mediterranean waters and unique history. Believed to be founded by Alexander the Great, the city was home to one of the ancient wonders of the world – the Lighthouse of Alexandria. No sign of this great naval marvel remains today and the site now hosts the Citadel of Qaitbay, a 15th-century defensive fortress of the Mamluk dynasty which ruled Egypt until the arrival of the Ottomans. With its vast grounds and views of the sea, the citadel is a nice stop for some peaceful time among the crowds.

The other side of Mediterranean. Source: Author

Another brilliant attraction not to be missed is the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. To rekindle its ancient status as the capital of knowledge and learning, the city built the library in remembrance of the ancient Great Library of Alexandria. Visited with equal enthusiasm by both locals and tourists, the library is a cultural centre and training school.


Cairo, the ever-expanding capital of Egypt, is the country’s biggest city with its 20-million strong population. The layers of history that make Cairo are so many that even a lifetime is not enough to uncover everything – something true for the entire Egypt but most notable with Cairo.

If Cairo is your final stop in your Egypt tour, then head to the Egyptian Museum where all that you have seen so far in the country will start to make sense. With over 100,000 pieces of antiquity from all over Egypt, the museum is overflowing with history spanning over 5,000 years. If too overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of its collection, walk to the Tahrir Square and find a peaceful spot in the midst of the crazy roundabout – a magic only Cairo can offer.    

Don’t leave Egypt until you have seen the Great Pyramids of Giza. Source: Author

Despite being notorious among locals for its high prices, one must visit Khan El Khalili bazaar for its winding streets and all that a heart desires in Egypt. The bazaar is also a great option for trying famous Egyptian food and the Al-Hussain Mosque nearby can give a nice peek into the everyday life of practicing Muslims. Another such wonderful street experience is offered by Muizz Street, which is one of the oldest streets in Cairo and has the highest number of medieval architectural treasures in the Islamic world.

Things to keep in mind

The places and experiences mentioned above are by no means exhaustive and every visitor should do their own research to make sure they see sites of their interest. No blog can ever compress a country as diverse as Egypt in just few hundred words, neither can a visitor see all of it. But as we make these humble attempts, here are few things visitors to Egypt keep in mind:

  • Students get 50% discount on almost all the historical sites across Egypt. The country is already cheap and further discounts add cherry on the top.
  • The trains between major cities are usually always booked; so if you are on a spontaneous plan across Egypt, either book a day or two ahead or be open to last minute changes in your plan. The train tickets can also be booked online and foreigners are usually advised to do so as there’s reportedly a limit to the number of tickets foreigners can book at the station.
  • If train is not an option, there are private bus services running between cities which are cheap and of good quality. The most reliable one is GoBus, with professional service and affordable prices. If using other services, be very careful because some buses go through every small village along the route and take double the time as compared to trains.
  • Most importantly, tip – often called bakhshish  – is very common all over Egypt. The interesting thing is that you might not even realise when and why you end up paying it. Locals often offer help and in the end, ask for tip for their unsolicited assistance.
  • And, as all visitors are told, Egypt likes to haggle. The chances of a huge discount may be lower for foreigners but no item is worth the price mentioned the first time – usually. So try your best and get what you want, at a price which will make both you and the shopkeeper happy.
Working part-time whilst studying: money versus experience

Working part-time whilst studying: money versus experience

Source: pixabay

Approximately 68 % of students have one (or more) part-time jobs. But students wishing to work alongside their studies face a dilemma: what is more important? Earning money, or practical experience? So, not the right field, but well paid? Or career-relevant but badly paid? In other words: what is more important to you? What you earn? Or what you learn?

Generally, working students are highly appreciated, whether within the university as scientific assistants, or in the various sectors outside the university. Everything from temporary work that can be carried out independently without just a short briefing, to positions of responsibility, which are a win-win situation for both the company and the students.

Source: pixabay

Depending on where you study and the local infrastructure, it might be a good idea to consider you own personal reasons for working whilst studying and what your aims are. Is it only the financial aspects that are important? Or do you want more? Such as career-relevant experience and the chance to make some useful connections?

Why is this question important? Because your answer will help you to decide what kind of job you are looking for. Not all part-time jobs are the same. Even though working whilst studying is always a challenge, the kind of job you choose can make a big difference when you start your career.

And of course, there is the issue of whether you can afford to earn less if you choose to only apply for career-relevant jobs. And this is because jobs in certain sectors are simply badly paid.

Part-time work offers an alternative to student life

If you already have enough to do with studying and you don’t want to spend what little free time you have with a job that is related to your field of study, you could choose a job in an entirely different field that doesn’t require too much extra mental energy. For example, physical work can offer an alternative to hours of pouring over books or sitting in front of the computer.

Source: pixabay

The advantages are obvious: instead of doubling your workload, this type of part-time work serves one purpose, filling your pockets! This type of job is flexible, and you can earn well without too much effort. Though, of course whether something is a lot of effort depends on your perspective. For some, this just means work that’s not intellectually demanding, but for others it means exactly the opposite.

Here’s a cliché for you:  a job in a restaurant can be physically tough, but is usually not difficult. At the same time, it is well-known that extra tips (and these aren’t taxed) can amount to a good source of income.

Career-relevant part-time work that is

Another strategy is already named in the title. Choosing your ideal part-time job is about more than money. You want to work in a field that is related to your studies. The key phrase here is “study program relevant”.

Exactly what this means to you depends on what subject you are studying. For example:

Source: pixabay

So, if you are studying architecture, it might be a good idea to work part-time in an architectural office rather than in retail. And if you are studying medicine, then working in a hospital would have more in common with what you are learning at university than a job in a restaurant. The same applies for prospective attorneys, who might benefit more from a job in a law firm than from one in a different sector. For trainee teachers it might be a good idea to offer tuition or to work in a school.

The biggest advantage of career-relevant part-time work is that you can make connections that might be useful later in your career. But how? Because high-quality work, interest and commitment stay in people’s minds and this could well give you an important advantage when it comes to applying for jobs later, because those selecting the appropriate candidate for the job already know you, and know that you can work to a high standard.

If you wish to pursue an academic career, or a job in research, it’s definitely a good idea to look for a job at the university, or to draw the attention of your lecturers by contributing and working well. Most jobs available at university are often given to students who are known to the lecturers, many positions aren’t advertised, they are simply given to a suitable candidate. After all, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that is important!

Simplifying decision-making

So, you have weighed up the for and against arguments, but you’re still not sure what kind of part-time job you should look for? Fear is a poor basis for making decisions, so it might be a good idea to consider not only all the rational arguments, but also to listen to your gut instinct.

These questions might help you to decide:

      • How stress-resistant am I really? Can I cope with a demanding study program and a demanding part-time job?
      • How flexibly can I plan my semester and how much flexibility does a part-time job demand? Can I do both?
      • Is it possible to reduce the number hours I work during times of stress? (so, examination periods for example), without my employer making me feel bad about it and accusing me of a lack of commitment?
      • What alternatives are available to me? Do I need to take this particular job (for example for transport reasons, or due to working in a highly competitive field) – or can I look for alternative jobs? If you are free to look for alternatives this can help to ease the pressure.
      • What is more important for me? A steady income that makes it possible for me to finance my studies – or practical experience that might make it easier for me to find a job after uni? If the latter is the case then it might even be worth studying for a couple of semesters longer, if possible, if you then have a better chance of being able to find career-relevant part-time work.
      • Will the internships that I have to complete as part of my study program be enough, or would a career-relevant part-time job help me to find my dream job in the future?

Source: pixabay

And if none of the above helps you to decide, why don’t you just try it out? It is often more helpful to try out something new than just to think about it. Sometimes it takes a while until you know for sure what your maximum workload is in a semester – and this can also vary from one semester to the next. So, if you don’t manage it in one semester, that doesn’t mean that you won’t manage it in the next.

Are you looking for a job?

If you are currently looking for a job, make sure you check out Stellenwerk Stuttgart. This is where you can find jobs aimed at students and graduates, and internship placements. Some of these job advertisements also come directly from the Universität Stuttgart.

Good look with your job search!





*Geldbaum (Crassula ovata)


Brave students who pushed boundaries and changed the world

Brave students who pushed boundaries and changed the world

As majority of our history lessons are filled with stories of brave men only, we rarely find out about others who played equally important roles in making this world a better place. Many of such stories are of students, who by their simple act of bravery, left a mark on the world forever. In this blog, we pay tribute to these students; to honour them and to take inspiration from them.

Malala Yousafzai

Youngest Nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani student who was shot by terrorists in her hometown Swat for wanting to go to school and advocating for girls’ education.

Copyright: Malala Yousafzai

Born on July 12 in 1997, Malala lived and studied in Swat in a school founded by her father. A popular tourist spot, Swat later fell under the control of terrorists who drastically changed the fabric of the peaceful society. Crimes were brutally punished in the streets and girls’ schools were bombed; in these challenging times, Malala began blogging for the BBC about life under terrorists. Her activism made her a target and she was shot in the head on her way back home from school.

Malala miraculously survived and continued her struggle for children’s education and in 2014, at the age of 17, was awarded the Nobel prize along with Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. She is the second Pakistani, after famed physicist Mohammad Abdus Salam, to have won the international prize.

Linda Brown

An activist for racial equality in education, Linda Brown was a citizen of United States who was at the centre of the landmark court decision which declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional.  

An African-American living in Kansas, Linda wanted to enroll at Sumner School in Topeka in 1950 and when her admission application was denied based on her skin colour, her parents along with other parents filed a class action lawsuit against the school.

A third grade student at the start of the legal case, Linda did not get to attend the school since she was junior high student by the time the verdict was announced. As an adult, Linda attended Washburn and Kansas State universities and then returned to Topeka to raise a family and work for desegregation in the area’s school system. On March 25 in 2018, she passed away at the age of 76.

Parkland students

In United States, where incidents of mass shooting are on the rise, Parkland students are activists calling for gun reforms to bring an end to this madness. Often known as Never Again MSD, the student movement grew in response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in which 17 students were killed in February 2018.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, including Emma Gonzalez (C), stand together on stage with other young victims of gun violence at the conclusion of the March for Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Survivors of the shooting, Parkland students have staged country-wide protests, called for tighter regulations to prevent gun violence and harshly criticised lawmakers who receive donations from the powerful National Rifle Association. One of their stated goals is to impact 2018 elections in which all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be contested.

With former US president Barack Obama as their admirer and supporter, Parkland students and their activism have been credited for changes in favour of gun reforms such as the new Florida gun control law introduced just a month after the deadly shooting.

Tiananmen student activists

In the summer of 1989, peaceful demonstrators – mainly students – descended on Tiananmen Square in Beijing to call for radical political and economic reforms. The Chinese government, however, responded with force and killed scores of protesters; due to lack of official data, the number of civilian deaths is estimated somewhere between 180 and 10,454.

In the 1980s, with China undergoing economic development and social changes, there were serious concerns among the public regarding increasing inflation, shift to market economy and restrictive political participation. There were calls for introducing democratic norms, accountability and freedom of speech both for individuals as well as the press.

What started as a gathering to mourn the death of a liberal national leader in Beijing soon spread to other cities including people from all walks of life; at the time of its height, there were protests taking place in at least 400 cities. For the rest of the world, the Tiananmen Square protests were immortalised by the photo of a lone man standing in front a tank stationed to suppress the demonstration.

Alex Chow and Lester Shum

In the wake of Chinese government’s attempt to make changes in Hong Kong’s electoral system in 2014, students from across the region gathered in the streets to protest what they saw as restrictive representation.

Student leaders Lester Shum, Nathan Law and Alex Chow hug as they arrive at the High Court. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

As secretary-general and deputy secretary-general of Hong Kong Federation of Students, Alex Chow and Lester Shum were at the forefront of the demonstrations, gathering outside government headquarters, occupying major city intersection and blocking important roads. From being arrested during sit-ins to holding televised talks with government representatives, Alex and Lester made peaceful efforts to bring political reform and protect autonomy and freedom of Hong Kong.

Their movement swelled in a matter of days, with over 100,000 people protesting at one point in time. While this pro-democracy agitation – which lasted for around three months – ended in little gains for the protestors, what it did was help galvanise the young segment of the society which was earlier uninterested in any political role.

White Rose movement

A student-led campaign against the atrocities of the Nazi regime, White Rose was a non-violent resistance group at the University of Munich. Its main tactic was to distribute pamphlets and draw graffiti in public spaces to encourage people to speak up against the system of tyranny they were living in.

While the group was supported by several others, the core leadership was made up of siblings Hans Scholl and Sophie Scholl, Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf, Christoph Probst, and Kurt Huber, a professor of philosophy and musicology.

White Rose wrote, printed and distributed six pamphlets in total which they initially distributed only in Munich but later managed to send to many cities in southern Germany with the help of secret couriers. Their courageous activities only lasted for eight months when most of them were arrested and sent to the gallows.  

Teboho MacDonald Mashinini

In the Apartheid era of South Africa, when the government introduced Afrikaan as a medium of instruction in schools, students from Soweto neighbourhood of Johannesburg rose in protest against what they saw as a discriminatory move.

Image SAhistory

With Afrikaan seen as the language of the oppressor, the decree was rejected vehemently by the students. Around 20,000 black students marched to protest the change; Teboho MacDonald Mashinini, primary leader of the movement, led students of one of the affected schools.In response to the protest, police unleashed violence on unarmed students directly shooting at them as well as setting their dogs on them. Government statistics put the number of students killed to 23, however, these figures are highly contested and estimates range from 176 to 700 people.

Known as the leader of the uprising, Teboho fled South Africa to London and then different countries in Africa. He died in mysterious circumstances in 1990 with his body repatriated to South Africa for burial.

Places to visit near Stuttgart if you want to escape city life

Places to visit near Stuttgart if you want to escape city life

Copyright: maartjevancaspel /

The hustle and bustle of a city life can be overwhelming at times and we often yearn to escape the urban realm and move to quieter, calmer and more scenic spaces. If you live in Stuttgart and have this feeling, this blog will help you decide which places to visit to take a little break from the city.

Schloss Solitude

Built between the years 1764 to 1775, Schloss Solitude is a small palace located on the edge of Stuttgart with brilliant views of the surrounding areas. Designed in the late Rococo and early Neoclassical styles, Schloss Solitude and its vast green space make a popular spot for hearty picnics, romantic rendezvous and photography sessions.

A hunting lodge and summer residence for Duke Carl Eugen von Württemberg, the palace was envisioned to have endless gardens, a game park and woodland. The palace is connected to Ludwigsburg Residential Palace through Solitude Allee which is an avenue that stretches in a straight line for over 13 kilometres from the north gate of Solitude to Ludwigsburg.

Today, a part of the estate houses Akademie Schloss Solitude – an institution that supports young artists, and Fritz Graevenitz Museum, displaying works by the native Stuttgart sculptor.


Located just 15 minutes away from Stuttgart, the city of Ludwigsburg is a place to visit for its beautiful palace, Christmas market and world famous pumpkin festival.

With its 452 rooms and elaborate decor, Ludwigsburg Palace screams Versailles left, right and centre. The marble-embellished hunting pavilion, Baroque chapel and 30 hectares of garden made the palace one of the largest in Germany of its period.

Photo on Unsplash.

The city is also known for being home to the largest pumpkin festival in the world, with around  400,000 pumpkins of different shapes and sizes on display at the back of the palace. Hundreds of locals as well as foreigners flock to the town for pumpkin art, shopping and eating.

If you are visiting the city during Christmas time, you are in for a treat with its magnificent Christmas market. The hard-to-resist smell of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and gingerbread will welcome you to the market and the charming lights display will keep you glued to the place.


Situated on the banks of River Neckar, Esslingen is only 14 kilometers away from Stuttgart. Founded more than 1,200 years ago, the city boasts hundreds of historic buildings, winding cobbled lanes and several museums.

One of the most famous landmarks of the city is the Esslingen Burg –  a castle built by the citizens as a town fortification and was never used by a member of the nobility. Today, the place provides sweeping views of the city and makes a great spot to just sit back and relax.

Of its numerous museums, the Stadtmuseum in Gelben Haus, JF Schreiber Museum and Museum St Dionys will take you down memory lane with its stories of glorious past. On the other hand, the city has a handful of galleries as well which display contemporary art.

With its several hundred years of history, the city is bound to have many myths and legends. And if you are interested, there are many ghost tours which you can enjoy if you have a heart for murders, executions and witchcraft.


Tübingen is where the past and present meet in the most beautiful ways; while on one hand, the city has its charming marketplace with stunning old structures such as its Rathaus, on the other hand, it is a cosmopolitan city of young students.

Copyright: .marqs /

Just 30 kilometres away from Stuttgart, Tübingen can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. A boat ride down River Neckar for a peaceful getaway; a walk through the old town to marvel at the architecture of a bygone era or a visit to Alter Botanischer Garten to admire the tulips and tropical plants.

The Cistercian Monastery of Tübingen is also very popular among visitors as it is one of the oldest monasteries in entire Europe. Its stunning building and calm courtyard make up not just a historic site but also a residence for more than 90 monks.

Württemberg Hill

If you are a fan of viewpoints, there’s another spot you would enjoy – the chapel on Württemberg Hill. A monument of eternal love, the chapel was built on the orders of King Wilhelm I in the memory of his beloved wife Katharina, who died at a young age. Constructed between 1820 and 1824, the chapel overlooks the Neckar Valley and is situated on the site of the former family residence of the dukes of Württemberg which was also the queen’s favourite place.

Inspired by Pantheon in Rome, the chapel is a burial place for not just Queen Katharina but King Wilhelm himself and their daughter Marie Friederike Charlotte.

End your trip to the chapel by taking a walk through the lush vineyards that surround the area; smell of fresh grapes and sight of green climbing plants will keep you enthralled as long as you stroll through the area.


It would be a shame if you live in Stuttgart (or anywhere in Baden-Württemberg) and don’t visit the Black Forest. And so for this very reason, you should head to Tribery – a little town tucked in the Black Forest with everything a German postcard is made of: lederhosen and dirndls, traditional German food and dense forests.

Photo on Unsplash.

Home to Germany’s highest waterfall – the Triberger Wasserfälle, Triberg is a treat for anyone wanting to hike or just sit and stare into nothingness. This is also the place where you must try the world famous Black Forest cake (yes, this is where the cake gets its name from); soaked in cherry water and laden with fluffy cream, the cake is any dessert-loving person’s dream come true.

The forest is also known for its cuckoo clocks and you can explore a collection of them from last few centuries at the Triberg Black Forest Museum. If interested to buy them as souvenirs, you can head to many shops that sell them in this quaint town.


Famous people who studied at University of Stuttgart

Famous people who studied at University of Stuttgart

Bildnachweis: estherm /

If you study or are planning to study at the University of Stuttgart and want to find out why this is a brilliant institution to be associated with, here’s a list of its past students who made a name for themselves and their university around the world. Get inspired!

Gottlieb Daimler

Probably the most famous alumnus of University of Stuttgart to this date, Gottlieb Daimler was the inventor of motor engine – an invention which revolutionised mobility in ways never imagined before. Born in Schorndorf in 1834, Daimler took technical drawing classes and worked as a gunmaker before he acquired technical knowledge which led to his great invention. He gained practical experience in mechanical engineering in France and attended university in Stuttgart from 1857 to 1859.

Gottlieb Daimler

During his tenure as a workshop inspector at the engineering factory of Bruderhaus Reutlingen (an institution for the socially disadvantaged), Daimler met Wilhelm Maybach who will go on to become his business partner and friend for years to come.

With relevant work experience in France, England and Germany, Daimler bought a villa in Cannstatt in 1882 and set up a workshop in its garden to work on his idea of building a motor engine which could move people on earth, water and air.

Wilhelm Maybach

As introduced above, Wilhelm Maybach was a lifelong business partner of Daimler who shared the same goal as his friend of creating small, high-speed engines to be fitted in locomotion device. Internationally known as the King of Designers in the 1890s, Maybach was born in Heilbronn in 1846 and trained at Bruderhaus Reutlingen for technical skills.

In 1882, Maybach followed Daimler to Cannstatt to work on the idea of a lightweight, high-speed internal combustion engine. A year later, he developed the first experimental horizontal engine and then the Grandfather Clock engine with a vertical cylinder. With the ambition to work beyond simple coaches, Maybach developed steel-wheeled car with gear wheel transmission – a design which was introduced to the world at the 1889 World Fair in Paris, making Maybach partly responsible for developing French motor industry.

Maybach was appointed as chief engineer when Daimler founded Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in 1890. Despite on and off association with the company, Maybach developed the tubular radiator, the honeycomb radiator and the first four-cylinder automotive engine. His design for the first Mercedes caused a stir at the Nice Week, changing radically how cars were made.

Due to his world famous achievements, Maybach was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Stuttgart in 1916.

Ulf Merbold

Ulf Merbold. Er war als einziger Deutscher dreimal im All.

Born in Greiz in 1941, Merbold was the second German native to fly into space (second to Sigmund Jähn). He was also the first European Space Agency astronaut to go into space aboard a US flight in 1983 and to Russian space station Mir in 1994.

Merbold received a diploma in Physics from the Stuttgart University in 1968 and a doctorate in Sciences 1976. He then went on to join the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart to study solid state physics and low temperature physics.

For his outstanding work, Merbold has been granted with numerous awards such as the First Class Order of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Order of Merit of the States of Baden-Württemberg and Nordrhein-Westfalen and the Haley Space Flight Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Horst Störmer

A Nobel laureate for his achievements in the field of physics, Horst Störmer was born in Frankfurt in 1949. Coming from the family of carpenters, farmers and blacksmiths, Störmer struggled with English and German in school but excelled in science subjects. At the university level, he dabbled with design and architecture before moving completely to physics and mathematics education.

Störmer received his PhD from the University of Stuttgart in 1977 for his thesis on the properties of electron hole droplets in high magnetic fields. After finishing his PhD in two years, Störmer moved to United States to work for Bell Labs –  the research arm of American Telephone and Telegraph and the mecca of solid state research. This is where his research work on discovery of a new form of quantum fluid, in collaboration with Daniel Tsui and Robert Laughlin, brought him the Nobel Prize in Physics.

With a passion for teaching, Störmer left Bell Labs after 20 years of service and became the professor of physics and applied physics at Columbia University in New York City.

Gustav Bauernfeind

One of the most notable painters of the Eastern world, Gustav Bauernfeind was born in 1848 in Sulz am Neckar but soon moved to Stuttgart most likely to escape his father’s political past.

Bauernfeind completed his architecture studies between 1864 and 1869 at the University of Stuttgart and soon began his career as an architect. However, he wasn’t fully satisfied with the jobs and projects he undertook and then in 1881, he finally took his first journey to the East.

The work of Bauernfeind is a beautiful amalgamation of elements f

rom Jewish, Muslim and Christian cultures, making the painter famous among art lovers of the Middle East but also Europe and America and achieving sales in seven-digit range. However, during his lifetime, Bauernfeind struggled with selling his art and was often plagued with self-doubt. He was quickly forgotten after his death and only became known to the world when a citizen of the town of Sulz am Neckar, Hugo Schmid, rediscovered his art in the 70s and wrote a biography.    

Achilles Papapetrou

Born in 1907, Greek physicist Achilles Papapetrou was a leading researcher in the field of general relativity for more 50 years. He is known for the Mathisson–Papapetrou–Dixon equations, the Majumdar–Papapetrou solution, and the Weyl−Lewis−Papapetrou coordinates of gravity theory.

After studying mechanical and electrical engineering in Athens between 1925 and 1930, Papapetrou moved to Germany for his doctorate studies at the University of Stuttgart in 1934. Later, Papapetrou went back to Athens to teach electrical engineering and took part in Greek resistance to German occupation. He then worked as a researcher in Dublin and Manchester before moving to East Berlin where he trained young physicists and conducted research on gravitational shock waves and equations of motion.

In addition to his groundbreaking research work and training of the young generation of scientists, Papapetrou wrote over a hundred articles and two highly regarded textbooks, one on special relativity in German and one on general relativity in English.

Rolf-Dieter Heuer

Foto: CERN/Maximilien Brice –

German physicist Rolf-Dieter Heuer headed CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics near Geneva, as its director-general from 2009 to 2015. He studied physics at the University of Stuttgart and worked as a staff member at CERN from 1984 to 1998. For most part, he worked on the construction and operation of large particle detector systems for studying electron-positron collisions.

Heuer left CERN in 1998 and started teaching at the University of Hamburg, where he worked on preparations for experiments for possible future electron-positron linear collider. In 2009, he returned to CERN as its director general.

Heuer has been awarded with honourary degrees by several universities such as University of Birmingham and University of Liverpool. He was also awarded with German Order of Merit and  UNESCO Niels Bohr Medal as well as appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honour.

Martin Jetter

Joining IBM in 1986 as application engineer in an industrial branch office, today Martin Jetter is Senior Vice President of IBM Global Technology Services. Jetter studied mechanical engineering with special focus on field automation at the University of Stuttgart.

Jetter held several position at IBM before becoming the senior vice president such as General Manager and President of IBM Japan, Vice President of Corporate Strategy at IBM Corporation as well General Manager of IBM Germany.



Ready, steady, cook: Around the world in 12 recipes

Ready, steady, cook: Around the world in 12 recipes

As a student, one is always looking for the nearly impossible combination of good food that is easy to make and light on pocket. But miracles do happen. Below is a list of mouth-watering meals from around the world which you can easily cook in your student dorm to enjoy the taste of globalisation.

Photo on Unsplash.

Ratatouille – France

Sauté chopped onions, garlic, and bell peppers in olive oil; add salt, pepper, chopped tomatoes and basil and cook until it all turns into a smooth paste. Slice eggplants, zucchinis and tomatoes and layer them alternatively on top of the tomato paste in a baking pan. Bake for one hour and eat while hot.   

Pulao – Pakistan/India

Marinate chicken in yogurt, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric and ginger-garlic paste for one hour. Sauté cumin seeds, star anise, cinnamon stick, green and black cardamom and bay leaf in a pot; then add fried onions and marinated chicken. Mix a little and add soaked basmati rice. Add water and cook until the rice and chicken are cooked.  

Pizza – Italy

Use readymade dough or make your own (mix flour, salt, yeast and  water into dough and leave it overnight) for the crust. Mix tomato paste, parmesan cheese, seasonings of your preference and a splash of maple syrup to make the first layer on top of your crust. Add any topping you like – from sliced mushrooms, sausages to bell peppers – and finish it off with cheese. Bake it for 10 minutes and enjoy your heart out.

Shepherd’s pie – British

Sauté chopped onions and carrots in olive oil. Add minced meat, tomato puree, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme and Worcester sauce and cook until the meat is tender. Transfer this into a baking pan and put a layer of mashed potatoes on top. Bake for 10-15 minutes till the top is slightly golden and crispy.

Chicken Fajita – Mexico

Season chicken breasts with chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Put them in a slow cooker (or a non-stick pan) along with sliced bell peppers, onions, chopped garlic, tomatoes and lemon juice and let them cook on slow heat for 3 hours. Take the chicken out and shred the meat; mix it back with the vegetables and then wrap in tortillas.

Chicken corn soup – China

Photo on Unsplash.

Boil chicken (preferably parts with bones) for a few hours to make stock. Take chicken out and remove the meat; throw the bones and add the meat to the stock. Lightly blend canned corn and add to the stock along with salt and pepper. Thicken the soup with cornstarch and add beaten egg while constantly mixing the soup. Sprinkle with chopped spring onions and enjoy.  

Hummus – Middle East

Mix chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and seasonings in a blender. While blending, slowly add olive oil and water until hummus is creamy and smooth. Garnish with chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy it with flatbread or fresh vegetables.   

Kumpir – Turkey

Find the biggest potato and bake it for an hour. Cut it into half, scoop out the inside and mix it with salt and parmesan cheese. Stuff it back into the potato skin and top it with assortments of your choice – peas, olives, sausages or corn.

Beef Goulash – Hungary

Sauté cubed beef in a pan until they turn nice golden brown. Move the meat to another dish and sauté chopped onions and green bell peppers in the pan. Add the beef again and mix everything with salt, paprika, tomatoes and oregano. Cook for two hours until the meat is tender and the gravy is thick. Eat it with boiled rice or baked potatoes.

Tortilla de Patatas – Spain

Deep fry thinly sliced onions till they are slightly caramalised and potatoes until they are fully cooked. Break eggs in a bowl and add the fried onions, potatoes and salt to it. Mix (not whisk) everything together slowly and leave it for 5-10 minutes. Put the mixture in a pan on low heat and cook until the side turns light brown. Turn it and cook the other side the same way.

Photo on Unsplash.

Poutine – Canada

Fry or bake potatoes to make french fries. Season them with salt and pepper when hot. Make gravy by cooking stock of your choice with butter and flour for thickening. Put fries in a pan, add cheese curd (or mozzarella cheese) and drizzle the gravy on top.

Jollof Rice – Nigeria (and many West African countries)

Blend tomatoes, red bell peppers, scotch bonnet peppers (if available) and onions into a paste. In a separate pan, fry chopped onions and tomato puree until it is cooked nicely. Add the tomato-pepper paste to the pan as well as bay leaves, dried thyme, salt and chicken stock cubes. Cook for 15 minutes and then add rice (washed several times to get rid of the starch). Add water, cover and cook until the rice are fully cooked.



Aside from your major, what university life really teaches you

Aside from your major, what university life really teaches you

For many, going to a university is their first step into adulthood. And while we learn the fine details of quantum physics, Da Vinci’s art and trickle-down theory in the classrooms, university life teaches us more than the courses we register for; lessons of friendship, compromise and hardwork. Below, we take a look at what university life really teaches us.


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Three assignments, one paper and five hangout plans with friends; university life is all about making and honouring commitments, and when you are pressed for time  – which is usually the case – you have to make choices and prioritize according to your needs and wishes. It might be tough at the beginning but after the first semester, you will master the art of managing your time efficiently and doing what matters the most first.      

Living with others

Growing up in your hometown, studying with the people you know and having the same circle of friends since childhood are the comforts you leave behind when you move to a university for higher education. And as overwhelming as it may seem in the first few months, you soon learn to live with new people – new classmates, new locals and new roommates; you learn to invite new people into your life and live with them.

Grocery shopping

At home, the only thing you had to worry about was getting to the dinner table when the food was ready. You didn’t know (or care) how and when the vegetables, bread and meat arrived in your kitchen. And even if you had a little idea of the concept of grocery shopping, you didn’t know the extent of it; butter or margarine, paper towel or napkins, liquid soap or bar? Well, all of that changes when you start your university life; from knowing the price of 1kg potatoes to the right amount of toilet papers, you learn it all.   

Paying bills

The economic system we live in, everything comes with a price tag and while living with your family you take basic necessities for granted, as an independent university student you soon realise that you have to pay for the water that runs in your tap and the electricity that powers your laptop. More importantly, you learn that you have to be punctual with the bills or else you could be making that really important phone call and realise that the connection has been suspended because of unpaid dues.

Managing money

It is true that no amount of money will ever be enough for humans to say that have as much as they want. But shortage of money is genuine and heartbreaking when you are a student; do you pay the rent or buy the textbook you need for the upcoming exam or you sit and regret why you went out three nights straight. After a few hiccups, you soon learn how to use your money wisely to live, study and graduate.

Socialising and making friends

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It is easy to drown yourself in studies and get stuck in the classroom-dorm-library routine but to live a healthy life, you have to have a social circle. Meeting strangers and making friends as an adult can be a daunting task but with a little effort and some trial and error, you teach yourself to attract good company and build healthy relationships.

Inventing recipes

You may be craving your mom’s famous pasta for dinner but you don’t have the time and ingredients to create that masterpiece. So you make do; you mix what you have in the pantry with a pinch of memories of home and a slice of mama’s love. Wallah! You have got yourself your own recipe which tastes great, is economical and easy to make. Your university life will be filled with such landmark events.

DIY skills

Necessity is the mother of invention and so when you finish your ice cream tub, you immediately know you will make a few holes at the bottom and use the container to plant your avocado seeds in it. Pickle jar as a toothbrush holder, bags made out of newspapers and Amazon boxes for storage under the bed – you learn to recycle and build your own stuff when you live independently on a tight budget.

House chores

One of the major realisations when you step into the adult life is that the dishes don’t do themselves and the garbage doesn’t get to the dumpster by magic. From doing laundry, cleaning your room to cooking three meals a day, university life teaches you how to run a household while you also study and work.


Photo on Unsplash.

Your parents and friends may tolerate (or even accept) your struggle with time but your professors and classmates won’t. Being on time for the 8:30am class, meeting for group assignments on the weekend and sending birthday wishes before it is late are steps towards becoming a more punctual person with each passing semester.





Out of the ‘Classroom’ ways to learn German

Out of the ‘Classroom’ ways to learn German

There usually are three kinds of people. Those who plan everything beforehand and pretty much hold on to the plans. Those who do not, whatsoever and leave it to the ‘gods’. And those who transit between the two cases. While I plan a lot of things, although not to the ‘German detail’, there are quite a few things I just do not. Or rather, let the time decide on my behalf. As it turns out, it works sometimes and for obvious reasons, sometimes, it doesn’t. I did not think twice before applying to an international master’s program in Germany. I did it, got admitted and then the question eventually arrived. Although quite late, it more or less punched right on the face. How are you planning to survive Germany without German? The brave me said: we’ll make it through, stop panicking. While the sensible and objective me reminded me of the seriousness of the situation and also reminded of the task in question was to learn a language. Of all, German.

Although my course was in English, there is no challenging the fact that in order for one to keep afloat, knowing the local language is indispensable. The blank stares do not work for too long you see? Or, at some point, you have to let go off your dictionary application to check for the allergic ingredients in your groceries.

There is no overseeing the boon the classroom German lessons have been. Nevertheless, as a student, it’s quite often the case that you can’t afford either of the two things: Money and time. And, sometimes, to make things worse, both. When we face a situation of the sorts, we have two options. 1. Whine about things you lack and daydream of how the world would turn around had you had all these things and 2. Make things happen. No matter what. In my opinion, true intention and perseverance is all it takes for you to get anywhere you want. Let’s stall the philosophy and cut to the chase right away.

Internet and intention

I’m of the opinion that if you have got internet and the intention to learn something, there is nothing stopping you from doing so. There literally are a thousand ways to get you home. Online courses are a big-time favorite of mine. These days, with the ever-expanding internet, there are handsome choices available. If you are looking for a structured online course, websites like lingoda offer a great deal. There are courses depending on your level and also, you can get a valid certificate after completion. Although the certified courses are as expensive as the intensive courses, the selling point is the flexibility. Not to forget, the free courses offered on Deutsche Welle are of great quality and structured and interesting as well. So, all that you pay is your time.

Of course, YouTube also has some nice lessons from various teachers who do a great job. My favorite is “learn Deutsch mit Anja”. Although they are quite helpful, the problem lies in them not being structured. You may have to figure out a way to get through them. I tried following the specific playlists according to the level and also at times when I had a particular grammar issue, they helped. Also, with Netflix eating up our leisure time, changing the subtitles or the audio to German turns out to be a win-win. Who doesn’t like win-wins?

The mobile applications such as Duolingo, Babbel, Memrise, and others (that, I have no idea of) help in improving our vocabulary. As they can be accessed anytime and keep reminding us to keep learning, our vocab skyrockets if we bend to the notifications we receive. A productive distraction is not such a bad thing. Isn’t it?


Neither can you sit for straight hours in a classroom nor in front of a computer browsing lessons. You have to get out to the real world to learn how the real world interacts. My experience after living for more than 2 years now is that the people here are really friendly and welcoming. The only barrier, in my opinion, is to get out of the comfort zone in the beginning. Being an Indian, it was pretty difficult for the first few months as there was absolutely no way I could get out of my ‘Indian group’ as there were million mutual things to do and to relate to. But, it takes conscious efforts to get out of the group and hang out with the local people. The best way to do it is to find an activity or sports group and then swiftly slide into it.  Stuttgart being a city filled with expats, some groups regularly have a ‘’Sprachcafe” where you meet up with an intention to practice speaking with others.


If you are planning a long-term stay in Germany. Then, it is imperative to know the language with the culture. So, the only way to do that is to immerse. Let go off your virtual interaction bubble you have created for yourself. There are several ways and levels at which you can begin. The easiest and the fun way are the parties. You can easily sneak into one of those house parties that are not so rare to find. In the beginning, especially if you are new to German, you will not understand anything, but just go with the flow and you will slowly start understanding when coupled with some effort with vocabulary

Another classic way of immersing is by staying with a German family. Although I have not experienced this myself, I have seen a few of my friends do it and have found a significant success. You not only learn the local way of living, if you are lucky, you are also bound to find a home away from home. If living with a family sounds offbeat to you, a Wohngemeinschaft or as it is usually called, a WG, might have interesting propositions to you.

Although a lot of the above-mentioned ways might sound routine meddling, if learning German is what you want and your intentions are concrete, these tips will be of help. But, without love for the language, you can’t go as far as you otherwise would. If there are any other tips that have worked for you, don’t forget to leave them on the comments below. Of what help is knowledge when it doesn’t help another? Right?



The good, the bad and the ugly side of living in a student dorm

The good, the bad and the ugly side of living in a student dorm

If you are moving into a student dormitory and you have no clue what goes down there, this blog may give you some idea of the interesting world of shared living. While most of us have the experience of living with other people thanks to our family homes, living with strangers, that too from different backgrounds, is a different ballgame altogether. Here, I share with you the best, the not so great and some downright painful things about living in student dorms.


While travelling to a new country means you will be meeting people from different cultures, living in a dorm ensures you interact with them and learn how big and beautiful this world is. This can be an interesting experience of learning and appreciating things we have in common.



It is easier to get stuck in the bubble of your university friends and that’s where good relations with your flatmates can really pay off. Cooking and spending time with them allow you to interact with people who are not studying the same subject as you and most likely have more diverse background than your class.

Learning German

There would be at least one (most likely more than one) flatmate who speaks German. This presents you with a great opportunity to practise your language skills from the comfort of your home, quite literally. The routine talk in your dorm would ensure you know enough to hold a conversation in the streets.

Splitting cost

The best part about living in the dorm is that your get to split the bills for TV fee, kitchen supplies and other communal expenses. Who doesn’t want to pay only one-fifth of the total cost of the  toilet papers.

Shared material

If you are lucky to have decent human beings as flatmates who believe in sharing, moving into a dorm means you don’t have to buy a whole new set of kitchenware because there are already five frying pans and 23 spoons waiting to be used.

Different hygiene standards

Hair in the shower, overflowing trash cans and toilet seat tragedies are small (disgusting) battles you have to fight everyday. We all are brought up in different social context and this means we all have a slightly different understanding of cleanliness.

Stalemate situation

In apartments, where flatmates don’t get along very well, there are situations where people try to teach each other a lesson by not doing their assigned tasks because one of them is irresponsible. Leaving the dishes uncleaned, letting the garbage pile and not purchasing the shared supplies only intensify the crisis.

Smell of the food

While some of us have our mouth watering when we smell Indian curry or Nigerian fried fish, those not accustomed to diverse cuisines find it difficult to cope with the strong aromas. So, adjusting to the cooking of your flatmates could be a task in its own.

Taste in music

Pop music may be very popular but not everyone likes it; same is the case with heavy metal. But if your flatmate decides to blare their One Direction anthem through their room, there’s really not much you can do rather than singing along.

The WhatsApp group

Unlike old times, today you are connected with your flatmates even when you are not in the dorm. Thanks to smartphone apps, someone will confront you about not cleaning the toilets properly right away – with a text and a photo.

Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

Passive aggression

Long messages in group chats, post-it notes on the fridge and unclean dishes in the sink are typical passive aggressive moves that will be part of the dorm life drama.  

Doing laundry

In some dorms, the washing machines and dryers are located far away from the rooms, making it impossible to do laundry when needed. So you either own 13 pairs of socks or you keep wearing the two until the stink is unbearable.

Radiator-window combo

As simple as it may appear, not everyone understands the concept of keeping the windows shut when the radiator is on. This means there will be several occasions when your apartment would freeze you to the bone.


Photo by pan xiaozhen on Unsplash

In your already crowded dorm, you will meet many strangers in the first few weeks of moving in. Don’t worry; they are the partners of your flatmates and virtually live here. So get on with it and be friends with them because you will be seeing them often.  

Putz plan

Keeping the apartment clean is everyone’s responsibility and you usually have a meticulously designed cleaning schedule but there’s always one person who refuses to clean the kitchen because they don’t cook that often or someone who is lazy and only does their tasks five days later.



KSat: A Student’s way to ‘the beyond’

KSat: A Student’s way to ‘the beyond’

Let’s admit this. Space has been amongst the greatest myths of our times. From a generation which thought the constellations to be gods to having evolved to realize them to be just one of those celestial objects, we have come a far way. This journey of space exploration keeps getting interesting every day and as far as what lies beyond is concerned, there are numerous stories and endless prophecies. We are an explorative species. As humans, we have always wanted to explore and find out what lies beyond the boundary someone else has already marked. This explorative nature fuelled continental expeditions in the past and currently, over the past few decades, has got us reaching to space and understanding the nature outside our planet. We have gone so far that we are on the brink of being an interplanetary species. It is an exciting time to be alive and to be discovering the beyond.

The University of Stuttgart has been quite been on the top of the game as far as research in the aerospace arena is concerned. The students of the Institute for space systems have a group which conducts experiments and sends them right to space! You read it right! This group of students, named KSat e.V. with the tagline small satellite student society at the University of Stuttgart, launch their successful experiments into the intercosmic space. They sure sound interesting, don’t they? Let’s get straight to knowing more about them.

The way it all started

Participating in a competition by the European Space Agency, a student group from the University of Stuttgart built the propulsion system for one of the projects which got launched and turned out to be fairly successful. With the success backing them, the project team founded KSat. With just around 10 members to start with, the group now has around 60 active members who contribute to the projects taken up by the team. When I interviewed Maximilian Von Armin, who is the ‘Pressesprecher’ (Press officer) of KSat, he quoted the mission of the group something like this,

“Space is not far away. It is accessible even to the students”

With an astounding objective of giving the students an opportunity to create their own experiments and fly them to the outer space or space-like environments, this group has slowly yet firmly making an impact in scripting a student’s way into space. There is no better boost to a student’s confidence than to see his work serving the intended purpose and thereby, contributing to this awe-inspiring field of science.

So, what exactly do they do?

Fascinating stuff. Period. Their website boasts a wide range of projects that the team has formerly been a part of and of course the current projects as well. The members usually come up with an idea, and pitch the concept in one of the competitions by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and if it catches their attention, they lend their support and the team gets on with the project. The DLR gives them the launch opportunities, expert assistance and also turns out to be the major source of money as well. With Thales Alenia as their other major partner, The team gets some monetary support and also opportunities to test their projects in exposed environments.

With a major focus on ‘space’ related competitions happening across Europe, their success in the previous endeavors has kept them going. With 3 successful missions and 4 launched missions in the sack of the 9 planned missions, the platform this group provides for an aspiring student is amazing. In order for the freshmen to get hold of what is happening, they conduct a competition solely for them. The aim being to create an experiment that fits inside a small soft-drink tin, which is then dropped from an airplane, the newcomers get to test their experiments on the flight. While the competition encourages innovation, it sure draws the greenhorn to the team.

The way into space

Well, normally, I would have titled this section ‘Awards and Rewards’. A minor shift from the routine as my interaction with Maximilian revealed that what they deem to be a reward is making it to space. That is quite a big offset from the norm especially for a mundane species like me. As he puts it,

“Our real reward is to earn room in the suitcase of an astronaut who goes to the International Space Station”

Succinctly so, their mission ROACH which will be launched in March 2018 is a robot which autonomously detects and repairs small damages on the spacecraft made by space debris or micro-meteorites. Another mission set to be launched in May 2018 is PAPELL. This experiment aims at pumping the ferrofluids (The fluids which develop magnetic properties in magnetic fields) without using any mechanical parts but just the nature of the liquid to transport them by manipulating the magnets.

As geeky as they sound, a slight shift in perception may lead you to note that they are the coolest form of geeks. As they prosper, their doors certainly are open to anyone who would like to be a part of the team. If you would like to know more about them and their activities, the first thing to do is to check out their website and their Facebook page. If the screen space doesn’t do enough to satiate your curiosity, reach out to them through an email or attend one of their meetings. Well, needless to mention the cool things you get to be a part of, what is also possible is publishing articles in scientific journals.

With a hope of having introduced this incredible group to you guys and expecting a few of you to find your way to the group, it’s now time to wrap. Space is not far from students. Don’t forget.