Promoting integration through kickboxing

14 Feb 2023

Germany Scholar Cuichi Nathanael Miess knows what it feels like to belong to an immigrant minority. The LMU student was the first in his family to go to college.

Cuichi Nathanael Miess

Germany Scholar Cuichi Nathanael Miess | © Jan Greune

Cuichi Miess does not have it easy as a student. As the first in his family to study at university, he has to endure the occasional dig from family members. “You students don’t know what real work is,” his sister often claims. Students drink coffee to keep them awake, she gibes, and then when they are fit for sleep, they prefer to go partying. “Sure, we’re flexible in how we use our time,” concedes the 25-year-old. “But that doesn’t exempt us from doing our work conscientiously.”

This is a point of honor for the Germany scholar, precisely because being able to study is not something he takes for granted.His father comes from Ecuador and belongs to the indigenous Kichwa minority. His mother is a Transylvanian Saxon – a German minority in Romania. In the 1980s, she was allowed leave for Germany with her family as a so-called ‘late repatriate.’ After some time at a transit camp in Geretsried in the Bavarian district of Bad Tölz, she found accommodation in Taufkirchen on the outskirts of Munich. His mother always raised him to question things. “That was probably what awakened my political interest,” laughs Cuichi Miess, who was born in Munich. Now he is doing a double master’s degree in political science at LMU and Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona.

Germany Scholarship facilitates volunteering

Deutschlandstipendium (Germany Scholarship)

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The road there was not easy. Naturally, his family supports him. But since his 18th birthday, Cuichi Miess has had to help out with the rent; otherwise his mother would not have been able to keep the family’s apartment. Since he moved out of home, he needs extra money to finance his studies and his subsistence in Munich. Without a part-time job, this would not be possible, even with government ‘BAföG’ student supports. Moreover, he wanted to devote the little spare time he had to voluntary work.

Luckily, the freshly enrolled politics student soon caught wind of the Germany Scholarship.The financial support made it easier for him to clear some hurdles. “It’s also a recognition of the difficult paths the scholarship holders have had to date,” explains Cuichi Miess. Furthermore, it allows them to concentrate more on their studies and on their various volunteering activities.

Cuichi Miess discovered combat sport seven years ago and has since combined his hobby with his desire to help others. “In the end, not only do we benefit from the recognition of the Germany Scholarship, but other people benefit too through the social projects.” Since February 2020, Cuichi Miess has been volunteering as a boxing and kickboxing trainer for SV-DJK Taufkirchen. The club is an official partner in the “Integration through Sport” initiative of the German Olympic Sports Confederation. In Taufkirchen, there are many migrant families, including many recent arrivals from Ukraine. The club has set itself the goal of integrating these newcomers into the community as well as possible. Teenagers and young adults make up the majority of the 25-year-old’s students. “I enjoy teaching them values such as respect, discipline, and perseverance.” And who could embody these virtues better than the young man who practiced them to become the first in his immigrant family to go to university?

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