Cleophas Wawire, Kenya

Surname: MUHAVINI  
First Name: Cleophas  Wawire
Occupation : Lecturer at The Catholic University of Eastern Africa-CUEA
Diploma :  PhD in  Theoretical, Computational and Modeling Chemistry  
French host university, Town : Grenoble University (Joseph Fourier University)  in Grenoble City.

How would you describe the daily life in France (accommodation, transport, leisure, food etc.)? When you compare it to Kenyan daily life, what would be the main differences in Kenya?
Accommodation was well organized and near the university. Transport is also  easily accessed Trams and buses that move around the entire city. Food is very plentiful and with good variety. Some of it has African origin (Like fish from Lake Victoria). In and around Grenoble city, there is a lot of leisurely places that are secure. Mountains are very near and nice rivers  with panoramic scenes.

What did you miss most while you were studying in France? Of course the  general Kenyan friends and  familiar activities  such as family visits to Parks etc. This is usually not such a big problem for those who are on a 3-month stay programme.

How would you evaluate the quality of the education you received in France? The quality of education is quite high and relevant in addressing problems that currently face many 3rd World nations. My field  (modeling and simulations) is among the  modern ones that are proving very useful  in addressing such issues as global warming, advancement in nanotechnology and software development.  These are fields that Africa so badly needs. 

Has learning French language been difficult? For my case it was not so bad since I had some knowledge of French  Language. Stay in France is supposed to make learning faster especially when total immersion approach is considered. Unfortunately the 3-month period is usually so intense that one may not interact with the French nationals to learn a lot  of French and even accelerate the process. 

Has this experience in France got some positive impact on your personal and professional life? My experience in France is having a very big impact. This follows the networks and friendships we created while in France are still effective up to now.  The new ideas I acquired in France  are an interesting foundation that is facilitating my relevance even in local networks here in Kenya. 

Have you got some time to visit France? If so, what is your best souvenir? Grenoble City has a programme where they usually invite foreign students to visit homes. This is normally arranged between the  (former CROUS) and the neighbours. The welcome is usually very warm and nice.  It is unfortunate I do not have a photo.

Are you still in contact with people (students, professors, friends) you met in France and who do not stay in Kenya? I am still in contact with the students I met in France. In fact we have a project going on between my PhD supervisor, Grenoble University  and  local teams in Kenya. 

 If you had 1 minute to convince one young Kenyan student to go to France, what would you tell him? Studying in France will open up very many opportunities. Their education is quite advanced  and relevant  and most importantly very practical indeed. Studying in France is worth every effort, energy, time and money. 

 If you had to help him to prepare his trip, what recommendations would you say?

The best way is to learn some French language and try to acquire some technological skills. Most places and operations in France are automated. This applies to ticketing process at the Airports.