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From 15 July to 21 July, Stellenbosch University (SU) is wishing a warm welcome to all new international students, who will spend the second semester of 2019 at the institution. To this end, SU International is presenting a welcome and orientation programme to provide students with an overview of the University and the South African culture. Students are also assisted with registration, settling into their accommodation and other post-arrival arrangements to ensure the smoothest possible start to their Stellenbosch semester.
Mr Robert Kotze, Senior Director: SU International, started the welcome week proceedings by sharing his perspective of studying abroad and the contribution of a global learning experience to students’ personal growth. Excited to welcome an international cohort representing various nationalities, Kotze encouraged the students to approach their semester as not only an academic learning opportunity, but also a cultural and transformative experience. He urged them to venture out of their comfort zones by connecting with fellow international and local students. Stressing the importance of community engagement to develop a better understanding of South Africa, he invited the visitors to “become part of the University, the country and the community”. Angelo Jephtha, coordinator of International Student Life and Success, too highlighted the significance of student interaction and immersion in the local culture.
Among the various activities on the welcome and orientation programme are a welcome dinner and a visit to Cape Town over the weekend to introduce students to SU student life and the beauty of Stellenbosch and surrounds.
The programme seems to have done the trick. Fien Mertens from Belgium said she felt “right at home” and was impressed with the “kind and friendly” Matie Buddies. She and her fellow students are look forward to discovering Stellenbosch and experiencing the remaining activities planned for the week. Jana Thiede from Germany is equally curious to get to know her fellow students, find her way around campus and enjoy some free time before starting her studies. Marie Boenisch, also from Germany, perhaps sums it up best: “My first days in Stellenbosch were very exciting and a bit overwhelming. I was very impressed by how lovely, mindful, caring and helping the South Africans are. I am looking forward to many more friendships and conversations, and to getting out of my comfort zone a bit more each day.”
Author: Marie Proetzsch