Philosophy honours student selected for notable travel bursary

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Honours student, Jesse Ferguson with Vice-Chancellor, Prof Sizwe Mabizela
Honours student, Jesse Ferguson with Vice-Chancellor, Prof Sizwe Mabizela

Rhodes University Honours in Philosophy student Jesse Ferguson and 17 other South Africans have been chosen for the Abe Bailey travel bursary this year.

The Abe Bailey Travel Bursary gives selected South African university students a chance to broaden their views while encouraging leadership and promoting African unity.

Ferguson will spend a three-week educational tour of England (University of Cambridge and University of Oxford), Scotland (The University of Edinburgh), and a possible stop-over in Addis Ababa to visit the African Union.

“My South African travel companions have all been identified as leaders and community servers, so I am in awe of what this opportunity will bring. The universities we will be visiting are some of the most prestigious in the world – a melting pot of some of the most incredible minds – and really, I am just going there to soak it all up,” Ferguson said.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sizwe Mabizela, congratulated Ferguson and told her: “You will find the opportunity of meeting with other young people from different lived experiences, different backgrounds, extremely enriching, and you, of course, will make your own contribution, informed by your own experiences.”

Academically, Ferguson did her undergraduate degree at Rhodes University (English and Philosophy) and then completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at the University of Cape Town before returning to Rhodes University for her Honours.

“I applied for the Abe Bailey bursary for several reasons. Of course, international travel is an incredible opportunity and privilege, and I haven’t yet been out of South Africa, she said. “But more importantly, I spent last year teaching at a public high school, which was quite formative because I saw how hard teachers work and how difficult it is for learners to have access to safe education in South Africa. As such, an important goal for me to see how education is done elsewhere. I want to try to find strategies for how classrooms can be made safer so that learners can be holistically provided with a sense of safety in classrooms – because it is tough to find joy in learning when safety is an issue.”

Ferguson will fly to Cape Town in November for a 3-day orientation before departing to the United Kingdom.