International students at Rhodes University
International students at Rhodes University
Rhodes > Internationalisation > Latest News

International students reflect after memorable semester at Rhodes University

Date Released: Tue, 11 June 2024 11:15 +0200

By Orla Quinlan, Director of Global Engagement

As the semester ends, we bid farewell to our semester-abroad students from Boston College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS), and Pädagogische Hochschule Bern (PH Bern).

Leon Schneuwly from PH Bern shared his favourite aspect of Rhodes University: "I loved the residence experience. In Switzerland, we live at home and commute to campus for classes. This was a whole new experience for me." He celebrated with a farewell braai alongside the friends he made in his residence.

Marissa Mastracco (HWS), who joined the women’s soccer team and travelled throughout the Eastern Cape, remarked, "Getting involved with sports was a great way to meet people and explore the country." She enjoyed her time here and introduced her Rhodes University soccer coach, Bantu Maboza (Rex), to Brian Gordon, her soccer coach at home. As a result, Gordon sent four boxes of new practice kits, which were distributed to the Rhodes University women’s team, a high school team, and a junior team from the local community.

The high school team, part of an Edusport project involving Siyabonga Dumiso, Assistant Sport Officer at Rhodes University, formed a strong team called Maru FC. Two events at the Rhodes University soccer clubhouse marked the handover of kits before Marissa's departure: one for the Rhodes University women’s team and one for the high school team. Dr Pakiso Tondi, Director of Student Services and Development (DSSD), emphasised the importance of balancing sports with education, advising, "Sport is wonderful, but have a backup plan for when you can no longer play! Always focus on your education first."

"Community engagement and service-learning were highlights," said Georgina Lee from Boston College. As a fellow of the Mac Gillycuddy-Logue Centre at Boston College, she is part of a select group dedicated to global stewardship, service learning, and community giving. Georgina has previously engaged in service learning in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and locally in the US.

Jaheim Jackson from Hobart and William Smith found the people at Rhodes University very welcoming and inclusive, sharing, "I found it easy to join in games of football or basketball."

Having taken a course on South African history at his home university, Jaheim gained invaluable insights from his South African experience that he couldn’t have obtained from books or documentaries.

He emphasised the importance of travel, stating, "Travel helps you become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Sometimes, we lean towards stereotypes and biases until we engage with people who have different perspectives. It’s also important to address stereotypes that people here might have about our countries. I found race relations to be very different from what I imagined. Students from different groups here are much more integrated on campus than in the US. I felt at home here."

The students appreciated participating in the "Iintetho Zobomi" course, meaning "conversations about life," led by Professor Pedro Tabensky in the Allan Gray Centre for Leadership Ethics (AGCLE). "So much of what we learned was because we were physically here, experiencing organic interactions," added Georgina.

Since reopening the Exchange and Study Abroad programmes in 2022, the Global Engagement Division has hosted students from Hobart and William Smith Colleges (US), Boston College (US), Pädagogische Hochschule Bern (Switzerland), Ircom (France), Munster (Germany), Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy), University of Leicester (UK), Pädagogische Hochschule Zurich (Switzerland), and University of Kassel (Germany). Additionally, Rhodes University students have studied abroad at Leicester University, Pädagogische Hochschule Zurich (Switzerland), and Pädagogische Hochschule Bern (Switzerland).

Source:Global Engagement Division