2016 is well under way and the University campus is officially open again. Hoards of students swarm the campus trying to get registered, whilst we at CIEE Gaborone welcome 14 new students to our offices! Keen to start class and dive into the local culture, CIEE Gaborone enjoyed an exhilarating first week! Here's what's in this issue:
Our Spring semester students arrived at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport on Sunday 17, January shortly after mid-day. The new scholars were picked up by our devoted volunteers and were shuttled to Oasis Motel, a few kilometres from the University; whilst the Homestay students were greeted at the airport by their host families and whisked away to their news homes!
Orientation week begun bright and early Monday morning. The dorm students were transported to the University and assisted with dorm move-ins by our ever helpful volunteers. Whilst, simultaneously, the home stay students took part in a workshop geared at coping with home stay life. Once all was settled, the dorm students joined the home stays for a formal introduction to the CIEE Gaborone program led by the Resident Director, Basetsana Maposa.
Orientation week is packed with seminars and workshops; these seminars and workshops assist with the transition process whilst in Botswana. As the country is a very different from a typical American setting which the students are used to, CIEE Staff highlight several issues that might be challenging whilst studying abroad. For the most part, most individuals often face trouble with culture shock and the adjusting, safety and security whilst in Botswana, and also how to navigate throughout campus and the city. Botswana has two national languages, mainly English and Setswana, which are often spoken interchangeably. In light of this, the students are equip with basic survival Setswana so they are not left out of the loop.
As informative as orientation week is meant to be, CIEE makes it a point to bring some fun into learning the learning experience. The students take part in a Significance of dance in Botswana - Culture Dance class, a traditional music lesson at Thapong Arts Center and are introduced to a plethora of traditional local food all week! These activities are an essential part of orientation as they introduce the students to the heart of Botswana, this is because music, dance and food make up a large component of the countries culture. Take a look at scenes from the week:
On Thursday, it was time to experience the city like the locals do! The students took part in an Amazing Race - Combi Safari Challenge. This challenge involves the students ( accompanied by student volunteers) using public transportation to designated cites around the city such as: the Three Chief Monument located in the CBD (a statue which stands tall in the heart of the city to remind locals of the bravery of Botswana's founding fathers) the National Museum (filled with artifacts that tell stories of Botswana's history), the bus rank ( a central meeting point for all the public transport that runs through the city) and many more, whilst taking pictures documenting the experience, all whilst competing for the ultimate prize! CIEE believes this serves an integral part in developing confidence in travelling around the city, to and from internships, volunteer organisations, and anywhere else they may need to go! Check out some video links below :
The end of the day had everyone enjoying a relaxed and definitely refreshing lunch at Capello Masa Center located in the Central Business District; a perfect end to the eventful morning!
On Sunday 24th, the week finally come to an end! The students were well informed on the knows necessary for surviving in Gabs, how to travel around the city, local food and most especially a little Setswana which would take them a long way. The end of the week not only brought down the anxiety levels but definitely instilled more confidence in each student. To celebrate the small milestone crossed, CIEE hosted a formal welcome dinner at Savutti Grill of Gaborone’s Avani Restaurant! Check out some photos of the wonderful night below :
What a splendid evening! We look forward to a wonderful semester, till next time, Sala Sentle (Stay Well)!