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On the 25th of July, the University of Fort Hare International Office welcomed two visiting senior academics from the University of Alcala, Madrid-Spain, Dr Jose Lozano, a Film and Music studies scholar and Professor Carmen Santamaria Garcia who is a Linguistics Professor.

The week-long visit to UFH is a result of a European Union-funded mobility programme between the two universities to exchange best practices and opportunities to learn from each other.

So far, two postgraduate students and four staff from UFH visited the University Alcala since the inception of the programme in 2020.

The two academics were welcomed by staff from the International Office, the Registrar’s Office, the Music Department, the English Department, Chief Internal Auditor, and the Eastern Cape Visual Audio Centre (ECVAC).

Prof Santamaria Garcia and Dr Lozano spent the week interacting with staff and students from the English Department and Music Department, respectively, where they both learned and shared best practices to benefit both universities.

Prof Santamaria Garcia said she was looking forward to her stay and her experience at UFH. “Exchange programmes help students to experience different cultures to improve their objectives in life, their aims and their social perspectives. Universities are key in helping people to have social perspectives and as Professors, we are responsible to help human beings.”

For Dr Lozano, the intent is to learn as much as he can from this great African university to share with his students in Spain and also, share as much as possible with our Music Department.

“When I teach, the intent is to learn more from my students than they learn from me. I am looking forward to learning about the diverse cultures at this university and the production of traditional music.”

The HOD for the UFH Music Department, Mr Nduduzo Makathini says there is a lot to learn from the Music Department. “We have the most dynamic Music Department in South Africa. Our students are opening up to a lot of subjects that are beyond the music, for instance, our curriculum is mainly driven by decolonial thoughts. And also, music for us is more than just a tool for entertainment, it has aspects of politics and histories of music.”

The Music Department located at the Miriam Makeba Centre for Performing Arts is also set apart by the fact that students are exposed to professional artists working and recording at the Eastern Cape Visual Audio Centre which is located on the same premises. “This really changes the dynamics of the department and the level of musicianship, knowledge and skills,” said Makathini.

Dr Sithembele Marawu, HOD for the English Department said he was looking forward to the partnerships that might arise from the visit. “I believe when we work together, both universities can have stronger research capacities to benefit staff and broaden the knowledge of our students.”