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German course on Mondays, lab work for the rest of the week, a trip to Amsterdam and a meeting with friends from Italy at the weekend, tickets to a BVB match and, of course, lots of “family time”. Such was Almutaz ballah R. Al Gharbawi’s full week. The Jordanian came to our university in September on a scholarship. He chose the time of year for his stay very carefully. “I wanted to come here in the middle of the semester, meets lots of people and do a good job. It really was the right decision!”
Almutaz ballah R. Al Gharbawi, known as Mutaz, assisted our mechanical engineers for three months, thanks to a Middle East scholarship provided by North Rhine-Westphalia.

His new home for three months: Steinfurt, where he worked at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, in the lab run by Professor Stefan aus der Wiesche. This team explores how turbines can be driven efficiently using alternatives to steam. Examples include vapours from what is known as organic liquids, which evaporate at lower temperatures than water. But it’s also possible using waste heat from large machines. “My task was to use a professional software program to produce computer simulations of these processes, and to analyse them,” explained the Jordanian, known to everyone simply as Mutaz. “It was a useful contribution, considering his short stay here,” said Professor aus der Wiesche. “Next year, we want to present our results together at a major symposium in Athens. That’s something truly exceptional!”

During his stay in Steinfurt, Mutaz did a lot of laptop work at Professor Dr.-Ing. Stefan aus der Wiesche’s lab.
During his stay in Steinfurt, Mutaz did a lot of laptop work at Professor Dr.-Ing. Stefan aus der Wiesche’s lab.

At the symposium, Mutaz will meet up with the entire lab team again: Karsten Haßelmann, Felix Reinker and Robert Wagner. The trio helped him wherever possible – not only in the lab, either. “I really wanted to experience Germany’s biggest football stadium, I enjoy a good match. Karsten kindly organised me a ticket for a BVB match!” Mutaz was out and about most weekends. Mainly with his “family”: he soon became very fond of his five flatmates from Columbia, Tunisia, Yemen, Spain and Germany. “In the evenings, we cooked together or watched films. Whenever it suited us, and when we felt like it. We also went on bike rides, and travelled to Rotterdam. And our living room often became the party room …”

Verification of simulations for the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) under real-life conditions: made possible in this wind tunnel, used mainly by Felix (pictured on the left). There are only three test benches of this kind in Europe – in Delft, Milan and Steinfurt.
Verification of simulations for the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) under real-life conditions: made possible in this wind tunnel, used mainly by Felix (pictured on the left). There are only three test benches of this kind in Europe – in Delft, Milan and Steinfurt.
On the way to Rotterdam: Mutaz with his “family” – and friends. (Photo: private)
On the way to Rotterdam: Mutaz with his “family” – and friends. (Photo: private)

Mutaz therefore had some difficulty in leaving Steinfurt. His friends organised a trip to the theme park Phantasialand, the lab team said their goodbyes at the Christmas market. “I’m so grateful for all the wonderful, warm-hearted support I received here!” said the 26-year-old. One of his favourite examples: Mohamad Hanano, dedicated student and former tutor from our International Office, who picked him up from the train station in Steinfurt when he arrived, and showed him his room – and made sure he had towels, bed linen and some groceries. Mutaz was also very grateful for Nadine Pantel who works in the international office for all the help she provided. “All of the people here are very friendly and helpful. I really like Germany – this country would be my first choice for doing a doctorate!”

By Theresa Gerks

North Rhine-Westphalia’s Middle East scholarship programme enabled Mutaz to come to us in Steinfurt for three months. Scholarship holders are reimbursed for their travel expenses and accommodation, and also receive a small stipend. Our International Office finds them a room, and reserves a place for them on a language course. Many of the scholarship holders also enjoy taking part in our FHiRST activities for international students, which enables them to get to know other people.


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