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2 posts from February 2016

02/24/2016

Spring 2016 Issue I : Orientation Week!


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Spring '16

DUMELANG (HELLO!)

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:

Hello Botswana
In and Around Gabs
Dining in Style

Hello Botswana

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:

 

 

 

In and Around Gabs

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 :



https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4cihbl-S55fM04wbzQ5Q3NCVzQ/view?pref=2&pli=1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTLI8kP_DS8

https://vimeo.com/153364592

 

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!

Dining in Style

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 :

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Student Volunteer Brenda Samman and Nina Walsh looking wonderful at the Welcome Dinner

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Vivian Nguyen and Program Assistant Tanya Phiri at the Welcome Dinner

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What a splendid evening! We look forward to a wonderful semester, till next time, Sala Sentle (Stay Well)!

02/23/2016

Fall 2015 Issue III - Final Newsletter


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Fall 15

DUMELANG (HELLO!)

We finally reached the end of our Fall Semester and looking back it’s been an amazing couple of months. It’s often hard to say goodbye to our peers and friends, and even more challenging to let go of new cultures and places we just began to call home! Here’s a recap of the semester highlights:

Orientation Week
Investing in Others
Discovering Botswana
Goodbye's the Saddest Word

Orientation Week

On Sunday, July 26th 2015, a number of students flew in to Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, Botswana from all ends of America. They were picked up by our student volunteers and were shuttled to a nearby hotel where they spent their first night in Africa.

The next morning was the beginning of a long week! Upon arrival at the University, the students where equip with relevant coping strategies in hope of facilitating a smooth transition into their new environment. This includes how to navigate the University campus, safety and security in and around the city and campus, briefs on how to live in local dorms and home stays, registration and many more. Similarly, they were introduced to Tswana culture as best they could be by  into a series of interesting activities which included a Significance of Dance in Botswana, Culture and Dance Class, a Traditional Music lesson at Thapong Arts Centre, survival Sestwana lessons and a wonderful week indulging in some traditional Tswana food! Check out some scenes from Orientation below:



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Fall '15 Orientation Seminar

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Student Volunteers facilitate campus tour at the University of Botswana

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Traditional lunch at Botswana Craft

Once the essential information had been decimated, it was nice for the students to get out and explore the city.  In  an exhilarating Amazing Race – Combi Safari throughout Gaborone, the students were taken on public transportation to specific locations within the city by way of combis (small mini-buses), which allowed the students to see Gaborone for the beauty she is, just as the locals do. The Amazing Race - Combi Safari Challenge helps instill a sense of independence and confidence in using the public transportation system whilst racing for the ultimate prize. It turned out to be a great day as everyone was glad to be out and about after the long week! Check out some photos from the Amazing Race – Combi Safari:

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Aziza, Morgan and Amy at the Gaborone bus rank during the Amazing Race

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Aziza, Morgan, and student volunteer Rati in front of the Three Chief Monument during the Amazing Race

At the end of the week the students and staff enjoyed a wonderful welcome dinner at Avani Restaurant. It was a splendid evening; an absolute treat after the hectic week!

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Fall 15 Welcome Dinner!

Investing in Others

CIEE Gaborone makes it a point to offer a helping hand and serve those less fortunate within the community. This fall, we had the opportunity to spend the day with a number of young children from the Naledi community at Naledi Education Centre, in Gaborone, Botswana.

Naledi Education Centre is a community based organisation that was founded in conjunction with the Naledi Clinic and Church. The education centre was one of the 1st in the area, providing student facilities to young members in and around the community; although Naledi Education Centre has been operational for several years now they are still open to assistance from outside members.

The volunteer day was completely planned and organised by CIEE students. They chose an organisation based on their personal interests and one they felt required the most help and support. The aim of the volunteer day is to allow the students to get engaged with the community and allow them to acquire a well-rounded view of Batswana, in that they are provided the opportunity to meet individuals from various backgrounds. The students did a tremendous job helping out, check out some pictures below:



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Sarah after a football game with the boys of Naledi Educational Centre 

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Julia helping the paint the benches

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Luisure getting hotdogs ready for brunch

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Johny helped everyone get cleaned up and ready for brunch

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Steve did an amazing job helping the kids create artistic works

 

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The jumping castle was a hit!

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Discovering Botswana

Throughout the semester, CIEE organised a number of excursion around the county. Apart from community public health site visits to institutions such as Princess Marina and Baylor Children’s Clinic, The students are privileged to visit other key areas within the host country such as   Bahurutse Cultural village where they enjoyed traditional song, dance and food.

The weekend of October 16-17 made Orapa, a small mining town located in the central district of Botswana, the destination of choice. We headed to the infamous Orapa Diamond Mine! The students were privileged to go on a mine tour where they had the opportunity to see the large open pit mine, the monster trucks and learnt about the mine and its enourmous contribution to Botswana’s economy. What an amazing opportunity.

The next stopover was a large village north of the capital city rich in history and significance in Botswana’s Independence, Serowe. Serowe’s rich history can be explored at the small Khama III Memorial Museum, located near the centre of the village behind Serowe Hill! The Khama III Memorial Museum outlines the history of the Khama family, one of the most important dynasties in Southern Africa.

The next stop was Khama Rhino Sanctuary; a community based wildlife project, established in 1992 to assist in saving the vanishing rhinoceros, restore an area formerly teeming with wildlife to its previous natural state and provide economic benefits to the local Botswana community through tourism and the sustainable use of natural resources.  The students spent the night and enjoyed a wonderful dinner and night game drive where they were lucky enough to see a plethora of nocturnal animals native to Botswana.

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Rhino's at during the night game drive 

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Beautiful impala during the night game drive

Before the end of the year, CIEE has a spectacular end of semester `trip to Kasane, which is the northern region of Botswana. The students flew to a wonderful resort where they were welcomed by the wonderful the great staff! They enjoyed a boat ride over the Chobe River and enjoyed a plethora of water animals in the region, a relaxing start to the well-deserved vacation.

The next couple of days were full of sights, the students and CIEE staff were whisked to the Chobe National Park where they camped the next two night! They had the pleasure of viewing the entire big five and several other majestic animals botswana had to offer. As Botswana had just been named the number 1 location to visit in 2016, the experience was that much more fulfilling!

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Breathtaking boat ride along the Chobe River

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Camp site in Chobe National Park

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One of the many game drives in Chobe National Park

Whilst in Kasane, CIEE Gaborone staff and students had the opportunity to visit the great Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe! What a splendor , definitely the highlight of the trip!

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Fall 2015  at the great Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe

 

Goodbye's the Saddest Word

After 4 months in Gaborone, it was finally time to say goodbye! When the semester was all said and done, looking back on the friendships cultivated, the memories made, the lesson Botswana instilled, all those who took the brave step to join our team,  gained and left with more than they came with! So as we choose to not say goodbye, till next time, Sala Sentle (Stay Well)!

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