03 March 2020

The Office for International Affairs (OIA) at the University of the Free State (UFS) implemented the second iteration of its Umoja Buddy Programme (UBP) in 2020. The UBP is a flagship internationalisation-at-home programme aimed at the smooth academic, social, and cultural integration of first-entering international students at the UFS by pairing them with senior UFS students. It offers local students an international experience on the home campus and develops their international and intercultural competence through direct interaction with international students. The UBP contributes to the achievement of the UFS vision, whereby every student will in future have an international experience during their studies at the UFS.

Internationalisation at home

On 13 February 2020, a welcome function themed Echoes of Sophiatown set the tone for this year’s edition. Chevon Slambee, Chief Officer in the OIA and UFS master’s student, welcomed the students and explained the theme of the day. She said that, “as students, we have a responsibility to be active citizens and contribute to change and social transformation”. Programme coordinator Bulelwa Moikwatlhai introduced the function and framework of the programme and highlighted the importance of internationalisation at home. Also in attendance was the Dean of Students, Pura Mgolombane, who encouraged students in his address to honour their heritage, “so that together, we can be able to appreciate one another”. He emphasised the importance of social justice for academic success. The SRC member for the International Student Council, Simba Matheba, expressed his support for the UBP. The UFS Arts, Culture, and Dialogue office provided entertainment at the event.

Umoja Buddy

International and local students mingling at the 2020 Umoja Buddy Programme Welcome Function.

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