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I Chose UWC 2018: Gert Van Lill Building His BioTech Future​

Author: Nicklaus Kruger & Khanyisile Brukwe

Biotech freshman Gert van Lill  learned a lot during Orientation - such as that the buildings have weird names, that it’s a great place to make friends, and that here he can learn to make a difference.

I Chose UWC 2018​: Gert Van Lill Building His BioTech Future​

Gert van Lill is one of many fresh faces at the University of the Western Cape in 2018 - and he’s looking forward to giving his BSc Biotechnology studies his all.

“Biotechnology isn’t just an interesting field, it’s an important one as well,” he says. “I want to help people live longer, and help cure (currently) incurable diseases.”

Gert was born and bred in Villiersdorp, in the Western Cape, but he and his younger sister stay in Bellville.

He went to DF Malan High School, decided to do a diploma at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and finally made his way to the University of the Western Cape.

“I was doing a diploma at CPUT in Cape Town last year and enjoyed the work a lot, but I had to travel with the train every day - and I lost a lot of time because of delays,” he explains. “More importantly, I really want to go into research eventually - and having a degree is better for that than a diploma...especially a degree from UWC.”

UWC’s Department of Biotechnology has an international reputation for operating at the cutting edge of biotechnology, using biological knowledge and techniques to develop products or services  to modify the genetic materials of living cells so that they will produce new substances or perform new functions.

“I'm looking forward to working hard, giving it my all and attaining the results that I worked so hard to achieve,” Gert says. “I'm hoping to be one of the top students in my class - maybe get a bursary; or be selected as an exchange student to do my second year overseas.”

His biotech aspirations don’t end with undergrad.

“I really want to do my honours when I'm done with my degree,” he notes.”In fact, in ten years I hope to be done with my PhD, and a professor at a university - passing along what I know while performing research of my own.”

For the moment, he’s not thinking much beyond his studies.

“I'm probably not going to join any clubs, at least not right away, because I want to rather focus on my studies,” he says. “I have joined the gym, though...don’t know if that counts.”

It’s been a learning experience so far.

“Orientation was a little boring and scary the first day...I was actually thinking of not coming on the second day,” he says. “But that second day was amazing - and the other days were even better. I made a lot of new friends already - and Orientation helped a lot.”

A few things he’s already learned, just from a few days at UWC: “Don’t judge a book by its cover. The buildings have weird names. And UWC is way better than CPUT.”

Well, when he’s right, he’s right...​​​​

New to UWC? Happy to be here? Want the world to know? Why not share your story with us at ia@uwc.ac.za? ​​

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