20 December 2019 Photo Shaari Rai Poken
From Bloemfontein to Bremen: Kweku Gavor represented South Africa well in Germany.

It all started with the Umoja Buddy Programme (UBP). Kweku Gavor was a UBP ambassador when he met exchange students from Germany. Two years later, the roles were reversed. “Helping out students who later have become my really good friends opened up the opportunity for me to study abroad in Germany.” he said.

Kweku spent about four months as part of a pilot Summer Lab Programme at Universität Bremen after being nominated for a scholarship by the German Academic Exchange Service, which his former Umoja buddies helped create. He shared the experience with eight other students from Palestine, Poland, Ukraine, and the US. The focus was on Business Studies, Marketing and Economics.

According to the BCom graduate, studying internationally gave him new insights. “The experience opened my mind and better-equipped me to work in situations in which I need to handle a lot of pressure against the clock.”

The first leg of the programme featured corresponding modules presented in a classroom environment, which were integrated with assignments, presentations, tests and exams. This was supplemented by a language course that involved cultural leadership training. Another crucial part of the Summer Lab Programme was an internship where students were placed with companies and tasked with a problem-solving project. Kweku was placed at Fabular Ai, an artificial intelligence company which designs computer software.

“Going to study abroad is an extremely rare and fantastic opportunity I advise all who can to grab it with both hands,” said Kweku, who also used the opportunity to travel all over Europe.

Internationalisation at home with Umoja

The UBP, which is collaboratively run by the UFS Office for International Affairs and Student Affairs, played a big part in Kweku being given the opportunity to study abroad. However, unlike him, not all students have to the opportunity to engage in undergraduate exchanges.

The UBP is part of the university’s efforts to advance internationalisation at home, as anchored in the UFS Strategic Plan: 2018-2022. With the programme, students are able to receive an international experience on home ground.

The programme aims to connect international and local students through meaningful lifelong friendships and foster their academic, social and cultural integration. It pairs first-entry international students with senior Kovsies who provide a warm, welcoming, friendly face, and a helping hand.

Expression of interest sought

A total of 48 ambassadors were enrolled in 2019. To join the UBP in 2020, contact Sonya Kapfumvuti at KapfumvutiSCR@ufs.ac.za or call her on 051 401 3397.

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