Close this search box.


A journey of discovery and growth

We are excited to welcome Siyabonga Luvuno Jele (Siya) and Uwais Adroos from the University of the Western Cape to artiso! In cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences (HNU), as part of their Erasmus program, they have been with us since mid-June and will be here until October 2024, working on their honors thesis on ‘AI Driven Requirement-Engineering’. Eager to hear their perspectives and stories firsthand, we sat down with Siya and Uwais to uncover their unique journey from South Africa to Germany.

Could you briefly introduce yourselves and tell us a bit about your backgrounds?

Uwais Adroos

I’m 22 years old, born and raised in Gauteng, South Africa. Gauteng is the smallest of South Africa’s nine provinces, and its name is a Sesotho word that means “place of gold.” Despite its small size, Gauteng is the economic center of South Africa, with main industries including financial services, transportation, manufacturing, and mining. I come from a family of six and am the eldest sibling. Growing up, I watched my father participate in sports, which made me competitive and look up to him as a role model. I’m a sports fanatic, love animals, and enjoy gaming. I’m fluent in English and Afrikaans and am known for loving challenges.

Siyabonga Luvuno Jele (Siya)

I’m 21 years old and grew up in Kimberly. I’m the youngest in my family with one older sister. My family is very close-knit, and I value the small circle of people I can trust. My parents have been excellent examples for me, both being independent and showing me how to lead. I enjoy sports, especially soccer and going to the gym. Despite being serious-minded, I am a friendly person who values trust in relationships. I like dogs, sports, technology, German cars, and spending time with my family. I dislike cats, hot weather, and peanuts. A fun fact about me is that I love cooking with an air fryer. At this point in my life, I am searching for purpose, which I find through my family. I love exploring new avenues, value life experiences, and am a hard-working problem solver. I speak English and Afrikaans.

What motivated you to do a semester abroad in Germany?

Uwais: Traveling is the best way to learn in life, meet new people, and experience different cultures. It’s a great way to grow and mature.

Siya: It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I wanted to see different lifestyles and gain as much experience as possible. This is my first time working in a company, and I believe it will open many doors for me.

What are your first impressions of Germany, artiso, and the University of Applied Sciences – HNU?

Uweis: Germany is a beautiful country, but the people are more reserved than I expected. It’s a whole new world compared to South Africa, with many people outdoors. artiso blew my mind with how developed and friendly they are. The agile working environment, especially with Scrum and Sprints, is impressive. HNU is small but well-maintained, very open to the public, and has excellent facilities. The library is great, and the people are welcoming.

Siya: Germany has more greenery and natural landscapes than I expected. It’s surprising how well-maintained everything is, with a strong focus on recycling and green spaces. Ulm is peaceful and calm, with a lot of people biking. artiso has been a cultural shock in a positive way, especially regarding the trust they place in us. As long as you do your work, they trust you. It feels like a small family where everyone knows each other. The working environment is peaceful, and I enjoy the flexibility they offer. Everyone is very friendly, easy to talk to, and often quite funny. The facilities are excellent, with great rooms and I love the standing desks. The company makes us feel at home. HNU may be small, but I really like the Founders Space, where you can present and implement your ideas—it’s an opportunity that can truly change your life. The facilities are top-notch, with good access, and the Mensa is great. People here are very accommodating and always willing to help. I love the international atmosphere, with many exchange groups and events. 

What do you study at the University of the Western Cape?

We are studying at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, where we are currently doing our Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Information Systems. We previously graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce. The undergraduate degree provided us with a broad understanding of business principles like economics, finance, and management. Now, in our postgraduate studies, we are diving deeper into the technological side of business, focusing on the design, implementation and management of information systems. This program is helping us develop skills in data analysis, project management, and IT strategy. Additionally, we’ve also learned some programming languages like JavaScript, Python, SQL, and PLSQL. These studies are giving us a unique blend of business knowledge and technical skills, preparing me to use technology to improve business operations and drive innovation.

What is the topic of your honors thesis, and why did you choose it?

For our honors thesis, we chose the topic “An Investigation of AI-based Support Solutions for Product Owners to Improve the Quality of Product Backlog Items (PBIs).”  This research is incredibly relevant as it addresses the growing need for efficient project management in the rapidly evolving IT landscape. By focusing on AI-based solutions, the study aims to provide practical tools for Product Owners to enhance the clarity, prioritization, and overall quality of PBIs. At artiso, we’re actively involved in researching how AI solutions can be applied in real-world settings, attending meetings, and working hands-on to integrate these innovations into project management processes. Although we are just at the beginning of our practical work, the next three months promise significant developments. We are excited about the potential impact of our findings and look forward to presenting our results, which we believe will contribute valuable insights and advancements in the field of project management and IT.

What experiences are you hoping to gain from your time in Germany?

Uwais: I want to learn as much as possible, make connections with people worldwide, and create lasting memories.

Siya: I aim to gain real-world experience, make meaningful connections, and better understand how to add value in a professional setting. 

What aspects of German culture are you particularly looking forward to exploring during your free time in Germany?

Uwais: I’m excited about experiencing traditional dances and perhaps purchasing a “Lederhose”. Additionally, I’m eager to explore historical buildings, churches, and libraries, which offer a glimpse into Germany’s rich cultural heritage.

Siya: I’m looking forward to engaging in sports activities, especially football, and enjoying hiking in the Alps. Experiencing the Autobahn is also on my list. Moreover, I’m keen to visit museums, churches, and castles to delve deeper into Germany’s Christian heritage and cultural landmarks.

What are your goals for your professional future?

Uwais: My biggest dream is to someday own my own tech company. I also want to give back and help my siblings and supporting their futures.

Siya: I aim to secure my future, be independent, and get my own apartment. Professionally, I love working in agile teams and want to stay in the tech field, which is always evolving. I also want to do some creative work and provide for my family.

How do you think this international experience will help you achieve them?

Siya: This experience exposes us to new people and industries. HNU is very practice-oriented, helping us work with different teams and improve our communication skills. We can take what we learn here and teach it back home.

Uwais: We’re learning new things that aren’t developed in South Africa. This knowledge, along with the global connections we make, will be invaluable for our future careers.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of your studies?

Siya: I love cars, sports, and music, including R’n’B, Gospel, Instrumental, Afrobeats, and Jazz. I also enjoy drawing art when I have time to.

Uwais: I enjoy music (everything except rap) – amapiano, R’n’B, Pop, and Circum-Jazz. I also love sports, traveling, and exploring scenic places. 

Is there a motto or guiding principle that inspires you?

Siya: The motto that currently guides me is: Jn 8:12. My interpretation of the scripture is that you must “See the light. Follow the light. Become like the light.”

Uwais: “Be the kindest and most positive person you can be. It’s easier to turn a positive person negative than a negative person positive.”