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Beneficiary of the week: Lebogang Charlotte Themba

Lebogang Charlotte Themba is the first graduate of the NYDA/Turkish Scholarship which she received in 2010 to further her studies in Biology at the Abant Izzet Baysal University. She is one of the ten (10) candidates that were selected to participate in the Scholarship. Lebogang hails from a close-knit family of six (6) which is based in Tembisa, Gauteng. The 24-year-old spent five (5) and half years in Turkey while studying.

The Scholarship programme was established as a result of a partnership between the NYDA, Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), and government of Turkey.  
The journey was not always smooth for Lebogang, given the fact that this opportunity was her first experience of being away from her family. She had to face the reality of standing on her own in a foreign country and had to deal with all the challenges that came with having complete freedom. As if all that was not enough, language difference became a barrier to communication and imposed a challenge to her process of socialisation.
However, compulsory learning of the Turkish language during the first year was covered by the programme to help her and other participants in getting familiar with the Turkish environment. This enabled Lebogang decode and encode the Turkish language and thus expanded her prospects. This also allowed her to travel to various parts of the country and engage with people with ease.
She established a sense of sisterhood with her other peers from various countries, which became a source of motivation and company as they were all separated from their families. Their common objective was to graduate, return to their families and also share the knowledge they acquired in Turkey with others.
With all the years spent in Turkey, a positive attitude and the willingness to learn; she became fluent in Turkish. Lebogang has also successfully graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Biology. She has also had an opportunity to work with the Department of Biochemistry at the Abant Izzet Baysal University for the period of (four) 4 months as an intern after completing her studies.
She is currently looking for opportunities that will equip her with extensive experience in the field. Opening her own laboratory and having her own natural hair products are some of Lebogang’s future aspirations.