Programme phases and content

Students are selected on the basis of strict criteria focused on their commitment to learning, academic record, leadership abilities, and student life participation. The elected participants subsequently form part of a ‘cohort of change’ during their undergraduate studies.

The programme is three-fold:

  • the selection/preparatory phase
  • the abroad phase
  • the return-learning phase.

Students are equipped with skills to contemplate, discuss, and engage on issues of diversity, leadership and citizenship in the programme abroad. As a set goal, these students need to acquire and enhance their growth in knowledge and skills, be able to compare what they learn internationally with the situation at the UFS, and ultimately initiate their role as agents of change upon their return.

Programme overview

During September 2010, the first 71 UFS students went overseas for two weeks where they received extensive exposure to the academic, social, cultural, and residential lives of students in the USA. The following year, the group expanded to 150 participants and additional host universities in the USA, Europe, and Asia joined the programme. In 2013, a total of 80 students were selected for the Class of 2013 and travelled along with the Class of 2012 to 17 universities across the USA, Europe, and Asia.

Global Leadership Summit

The first Global Leadership Summit was presented at the UFS in 2012. Staff and a group of 70 Kovsie students assembled with their peers from host partner universities across the globe at the Bloemfontein Campus for the event. This marked the establishment of a three-year cycle for the programme, namely two years ‘outbound’ and the third year ‘inbound’.

Programme benefits

The impact of this programme on human transformation is evident. Exposing students to positive models of social integration facilitates the process of change. It supports the enrichment of the minds of young leaders who have committed themselves to building a truly integrated community during and beyond their university years. The benefits of their involvement in cross-cultural and cross-border experiences have been confirmed by every group of the Leadership for Change participants since 2010.

These students grow into fulfilling several mentoring roles – from guiding first-years during the annual Gateway Orientation Programme to acting as coaches in well-being and academic peer-advising programmes. Several serve on executive committees of student associations, are members of student management committees in residences, and have been elected to the Student Representative Council. Participants of the Leadership for Change Programme are frequently at the forefront in campus-community service programmes and responsible for initiating dialogue and leadership development programmes on campus, in residences, and in student life in general.

The programme continues to expand and benefit hundreds of first-years with more international universities annually joining the list of UFS partners.


“We want to leave footprints behind that will influence and lead others.”

  • Vermont University Cohort, 2011
    "We dream of a world where every individual is inspired to bring what they have to offer in order to be a pioneer of change, so that the next generation may reap a harvest of hope.”

  • College of the Holy Cross Cohort, 2011
    It was a cultural shock, but it was a solid platform to improvise, adapt, and then overcome.”

  • Student, Texas A&M University, 2011
    “My visit was overwhelming! I went there with a specific goal to achieve, but I actually came back with more than I expected. Above all changed perspectives, new friendships and ways of thinking, I learnt more about myself.”

  • Student, University of Massachusetts, 2011
    “A workshop on integration where we were expected to support the side of the argument that we didn’t really agree with, was the most impressive for me. This taught us to look at situations from a neutral perspective.”

  • Student, Binghamton University, 2010
    “I had the time of my life! I’ve seen such a change in myself and I am so thankful for this great opportunity. I experienced things out of my comfort zone and I am now so open-minded about issues that previously prevented me from being all that I could be.”

  • Student, Washington University of Seattle, 2011
General Quotes

“This programme was about being human.”

“I have been changed.”

“We came with our hearts open for change and that space has been filled."

"I've learnt that we learn more when we're within a whole assortment of diverse cultures.”

“The F1 L4C-programme made me what I am today.”

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