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Participation in Women for Africa program


January 28, 2020

Roaa Kheder is original from Khartoum, capital of Sudan. It has been two weeks since her country has also been locked up by pandemic but she is confined in Santander, studying the Master's Degree in Particle Physics and Cosmos (UC-UIMP). She is one of the beneficiaries of 'Learn Africa' scholarship, promoted by Women for Africa Foundation and financed by the Institute of Physics of Cantabria as well as Vice-Rector's Office for Internationalisation and Cooperation of Universidad de Cantabria.

She found out about this scholarship program through a Facebook advertisement and she states that applying was so easy she filled in the form using her mobile phone. After finishing her degree in General Physics in 2014 and studying a Master's Degree, she thought it would be interesting to have the opportunity of a Master's Degree in Particle Physics and Cosmos in order to deepen her high energy studies.

She is one of the beneficiaries of the 'Learn Africa' scholarship program in which Universidad de Cantabria participates together with 36 other national universities, as well as Moroccan and Portuguese universities. The general aim of this initiative is to promote the transfer of knowledge of African university students and researchers so that, once they have completed their training, they can become the leaders of progress in their own societies.

As Roaa explains, at first she found it difficult to deal with all paperwork and visa, since this is her first time out of Sudan. She arrived in Spain in October last year to study a full nine-month course in Santander. Now classes are over and she is focused on her research project, which will be completed in June. Unfortunately, given these circumstances, she will not be able this time to know other cities in our country.

"Studying in Sudan is very different from studying here," says Roaa. Sudan's unstable economic and political situation means education is not as good as it should be, and in many cases they lack the basics. "I benefit a lot from studying in Spain and it is a positive experience for me", she acknowledges, clarifying that when she gets back to Khartoum, she will try to look for possibilities to continue her scientific career with a PhD. There are no research centers in Sudan and her options there are limited to teaching at university.


Women for Africa Foundation

'Learn Africa' is a Women for Africa Foundation initiative to provide scholarships to African students and researchers at Spanish universities. This program is articulated through collaboration agreements signed with Spanish universities that host young beneficiaries. These scholarships cover registration, travel, medical insurance and accommodation costs and their terms depend on programs offered by each university.

Women for Africa (MxA) scholarship program was launched in 2013 to ease access to postgraduate studies at Spanish universities for African students, encouraging exchange of experiences among students and promoting better mutual understanding. Since the beginning of the program, 99 African women have benefited from a scholarship.

The Women for Africa Foundation has had several collaborations with Universidad de Cantabria, but Roaa has been the first student for Master's studies. This has been possible, among other things, due to the interest, effort and collaboration of Vice-Rector's Office of Internationalisation and Cooperation of Universidad de Cantabria (personified in the Vice-Rector, Teresa Susinos) and the Institute of Physics of Cantabria (in particular of its previous director, Professor Teresa Rodrigo, recently passed away).

  • Joint Centre with the combined effort of Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and University of Cantabria (UC)

    Instituto de Física de Cantabria
    Edificio Juan Jordá
    Avenida de los Castros, s/n
    E-39005 Santander
    Cantabria, Spain

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