Master student Luisa Hoiß spent her semester abroad at the National University in Lesotho:
I am Luisa and I am a student of the master's program Environmental, Process & Energy Engineering at MCI. In August 2021, I went to the southern hemisphere for one semester in "Sustainable Energy" at the National University of Lesotho. The NUL campus is located in Roma, about 30 km east of Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. The road there is full of potholes but is rewarded with a very beautiful view of the surrounding landscape.The courses are held here in a block system to make the program as attractive as possible for working students. This means that one week of lectures is followed by two weeks in which an assignment has to be completed. Exams all take place within a short period of time in December.
The topic of renewables plays a major role especially in developing countries like Lesotho, which makes the study program even more important. In rural areas, most of the population has no access to electricity and yet Lesotho has a lot of potentials to offer in terms of clean energy production. The Energy Research Centre regularly organizes field trips to all energy-related facilities in Lesotho. For example, we were able to visit “Muela hydropower plant” in Butha-Buthe, which is Lesotho's largest and main electricity generator with 72 MW.
In the high-quality lecture weeks, there were also exciting lab sessions, in which we produced biodiesel ourselves, or did streamflow measurements at a nearby dam. What particularly impressed me about the university here was the very strong solidarity among the students both inside and outside the lectures. I have made great friends here.
Lesotho -The Kingdom in the Sky
Lesotho's landscape is characterized by mountains and small plateau-like hills. It is surrounded by South Africa at an elevation from 1.000 m to 3.400 m. Shepherds roam the idyllic mountains and river valleys with sheep, donkeys, cows, and Basotho ponies. Summer is the rainy season, with warm temperatures regularly alternating with heavy thunderstorms and rain. In winter, however, it gets very cold due to the altitude (I was very glad I brought my sleeping bag). In the second picture, you can see me in front of the 192-meter-high Maletsunyane Fall in Semonkong. The place of smoke is insanely peaceful and calming and gives a small impression of the breathtaking nature that exists here.
The Basotho are super friendly and open-minded people and so we were welcomed with more than open arms. People here support and help each other in all situations and love to celebrate together. Of course, not everything is running smoothly in this country, but that also means that it still has many opportunities to exploit. For me, the decision to go to Lesotho for a semester abroad was more than right. The last few months have been incredibly enriching. Besides my studies, I have not only learned a lot about myself but also about the people and their lives here. Lesotho has become a little home for me, which I can only leave again with a heavy heart.
Khotso Pula Nala
(Peace, Rain, Prosperity!)
I send warm regards from Maseru to the MCI in Innsbruck.
The 192-meter-high Maletsunyane Falls in Semonkong is also called the "Place of Smoke. Foto: Hoiß
Master's student Luisa Hoiß spent her semester abroad in Lesotho. Foto: Hoiß