Interview with Daniel Umereweneza
Name: Daniel Umereweneza
Bachelor: Rwanda - University of Rwanda (former Université Nationale du Rwanda )
Master: China - Xiamen University
Studies: PhD - 5 years
Why did you choose to study chemistry?
Curiosity was my driving force to study science. In my childhood I was always asking questions. For example: Why was wood burning and not metal? Why not both? Why does salt dissolve in water but not sand? In high school I was studying physics, mathematics and chemistry. I found that chemistry answered more of my questions so after high school I decided to study chemistry.
How come you chose to study at Uppsala University?
I was not only thinking of studying at Uppsala University, but in Sweden in general. This was because in all of my basic science courses there were concepts originating from Sweden; Celsius, Ångström and Arrhenius. I was ambitious to come to Sweden to see where these concepts came from. I also wanted to experience the country where the Nobel prize comes from. Because Uppsala university is one of the oldest universities still in activity in Sweden, I was also attracted by the long history of the university. Luckily I contacted my supervisor and I was accepted as a PhD student, and that is how I ended up here in Uppsala.
Is studying here similar or different from where you studied before? How?
It’s different. It’s more modern and up to date facilities here. It gives more reliable data for publications, it’s easier to publish when you have data from up to date equipment.
What do you like most about being a PhD-student at Uppsala University?
I like the interactions with the professors, that they are available at any time. Also the equipment is available any time. When you need assistance the professors are around and you will be easily assisted.
Because you are currently doing your PhD - can you tell us a little bit about your research?
I’m working with medicinal plants from Rwanda. Plants have been used for a long time as a source of medicine, and people can combine different plants to cure diseases but they don’t know which one actually helps. My project works with the isolation and characterization of active principles to see which components of the plants are active.
What do you want to do when you have finished your PhD?
I have been teaching at University of Rwanda for more than 8 years. After I have done my PhD a lot of opportunities will appear, so I will make use of those opportunities at University of Rwanda. My plan is to have a research group, mentor young scientists and help the community to have a better life from the research that I’m doing.
THREE QUICK QUESTIONS
First impression of Sweden?
I came in winter and when it turned to spring and I saw the big contrast between winter and spring. In winter everything is white, everyone is covered and it’s so cold. But in spring you have the flowers, the leafs - there’s no more snow and everything turns green. You feel happier in spring!
Best experience in Sweden (or Uppsala) so far?
I find Swedish people so friendly and helpful. When you need assistance, they can even leave what they are doing to help you.
What is your dream-job?
Teaching. Especially at the university - because you also have the opportunity to do research and interact with people internationally. I have my dream job.