UFH Staff and Students make their mark at Windesheim University’s International Week in the Netherlands

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In a bid to enhance academic exchange and foster global partnerships, a delegation comprising staff and students from the University of Fort Hare (UFH) recently returned from Zwolle, Netherlands, where they participated in Windesheim University’s International Week.

Centered around the theme of Vitality Health and Well-being, the delegation’s participation is one of the direct benefits of an ongoing partnership between the two esteemed institutions, anchored on teaching, learning, and research collaborations.

Within this project, staff members from both institutions actively engage in networking events, connecting with lecturers, students, researchers, and other stakeholders across different disciplines and fields of study.

Among the UFH staff participants were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research Partnerships & Innovation, Dr Nthabi Taole-Mjimba; the Director of the Fort Hare Institute of Technology (FHIT), Professor Meyer Edson; the Deputy Dean of Teaching Learning and Community Engagement (Faculty of Social Science and Humanities), Prof Ulene Schiller; Acting Deputy Dean (Faculty of Health Sciences) Dr Hlengiwe Gwebu; and Dr Connie Bitso, Director of UFH Libraries.

Representing various faculties and departments, including Health Sciences and Social Work, the UFH student participants showcased their prowess and shared their research that resonated with the overarching theme during the event. The students are Thandolwethu Cwayi, Sibulele Moni, Siwaphiwe Zizo Ami Hlengani, Abigail Star Boshof, Zuko Ntlebi, and Janet Lunga.

One of the highlights of the event was a keynote presentation titled “Embracing Ubuntu: Unleashing Healing and Vitality in our World” delivered by Prof Schiller and Dr Gwebu. This insightful discourse delved into the essence of Ubuntu philosophy and its implications for promoting holistic wellness and societal health.

One of the students, Ms Hlengani, also delivered a separate presentation tailored for SLP (Speech-Language Pathology) students, enriching the academic discourse with specialized insights from UFH’s diverse student body.

Reflecting on their experiences, UFH students expressed gratitude for the opportunity to engage with peers from different cultural backgrounds.

“This academic trip was more than just a journey; it was an exploration of the unknown and a testament to the power of education to transcend borders. As I reflect on this experience, I am filled with gratitude to the University of Fort Hare for making the trip a success, for the opportunities that have come my way, and for the lessons learned along the journey,” said Mr Moni.

“Being in new surroundings, both in the Netherlands and among the international group, changed my assumptions and prejudices. I got to understand the differences and similarities between first-world and third-world countries,” said Ms Hlengani.

Based on the students’ reflections, it is evident that such interactions not only broadened their perspectives but also provided invaluable real-life experiences, enhancing their understanding of their respective fields.