Meet Miriam

Full name: Dr Miriam Schneider

Age: 43

From: Germany, near Stuttgart

Also lived in: I’ve moved around in Germany and now I live in Tanzania

Job: Researcher at APOPO.

What languages do you speak?

German, English, French, Spanish and Swahili. A tiny bit of Italian.

What did you study?

I studied for a diploma in biology animal physiology and zoology and then biological psychology, including hormones and neuroscience, trying to understand the mechanisms underlying human behaviour. I studied for my PhD in Bremen, and then I did a PostDoc in the German Central Institute of Mental Health aiming to identify the underlying mechanisms for psychiatric disorders. After a while, I was actively searching for jobs in Africa. My husband and I love to travel and we loved Africa so I wanted a change from an academic career and to find something in Africa. I knew about APOPO and I regularly checked the website; they advertised for a researcher in behavioural pharmacology.

What are your hobbies?

Reading, traveling, yoga, relaxing, sleeping, being with animals and eating.

Who has been inspirational in your life?

Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birutė Galdikas, three inspirational primatologists. I used to read about them all the time. My biology teachers, my parents. I respect their persistence through hardship and enduring tough situations to do something they believe in. I used to read a lot about the Dalai Lama.

Is there a quote that inspires you?

If your problem has a solution, why worry? And if your problem doesn’t have a solution, why worry?

What is your favourite colour?

Blue green aquamarine.

What is your favourite animal?

My favourite pet would be a cat but wild animals I love monkeys and I could watch them for hours.

What is your favourite food?

My preferences have changed here, I never knew I would crave things like good cheese and German bread. I love sushi. I love the Indian curries they make here.

Where is your favourite place?

Lake Como, there’s a nice spot above one of the small towns. There’s a castle up there and you can sit up there and see the whole lake.

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