Saying goodbye to a group of students is always sad and bidding the Summer students of 2017 farewell was no exception. Fortunately, the departure of one group means the opportunity to meet a fresh group of new students for the semester! Our first week was exciting as we got to share our culture and city with our new friends. Here’s what’s in this issue:
Welcome to Botswana!
Welcome to Botswana!
On July 31st we welcomed yet another all girl group to Gaborone, Botswana, which would be their home for the next four months! Homestay students were met by their families at the airport and got their homestay experience going instantly while dorm students were welcomed by our lovely student volunteers who helped them settle into their rooms. Despite the confusion of late arrivals and evening trips to the airport, everyone arrived safe and sound and in time for Day 2 of Orientation Week.
The students started the second day of Orientation with workshops on how to deal with their Homestay families headed by our Resident Director, namely Basetsana Maposa, who gave informative perspectives on the different expectations and norms of living with a Tswana family. Dorm students had a similar workshop on navigating dorm life in the University of Botswana led by Lebogang Gubago; a former on-campus student and CIEE staff member.
In achieving the purpose of Orientation week, most mornings were filled with informative presentations on various issues of relevance to the students including (but not limited to) Safety and Security, Culture Shock and Adjustment, Community Service involvement, a Bystander Intervention as well as a student volunteer led campus tour. The students also got a chance to learn a few basics of our native language, Setswana, to help them get acquainted and navigate the city.
After early mornings filled with an overload of information, we usually like to get the students active in the afternoons with different and exciting cultural activities.
Food is an integral part of our culture, and as such, the Gaborone Study Centre is intent on exposing the students to traditional food during their first week in the country. Botswana Craft is a local store that sells handcrafted artwork, also has a Gallery, a Courtyard Restaurant, and is a popular venue for hosting live music shows. The students therefore get a chance to taste traditional food, as well as have the opportunity to look at and purchase local handcrafted artwork. Have a look:
Like any other African community, dance is at the centre of our cultural norms. While traditional dance is not something the students are likely to be exposed to in the city, the Gaborone study Centre goes above and beyond to ensure the students get a chance to experience an afternoon of traditional fun!
On the 3rd of August, the students got the opportunity to handcraft their very own bracelets and necklaces using beads with the help of Thabang Molefhe; a local Afro-fusion dancer who also specialises in making traditional arts and crafts. Handcrafted arts and crafts for sale are a popular way in which people make a living and as such can be found all over the city.
After a week of informative presentations and sight-seeing, a student volunteer led Amazing Race is used to expose the students to locals through fun activities and interactive challenges. The students get a chance to use public transport for the first time and get an introduction on how the system works with the help of student volunteers. As they ride through the city, they get to see various hot spots and tourist attractions until they reach the finish line after which they will be required to submit a creative video highlighting their experiences in hopes of winning the prize! Take a look at their experiences:
A candlelit dinner at one of the oldest hotels in the city is where we end off Orientation Week. Savuti Grill of Avani Hotel is a delightful buffet which caters to anyone's desires. Their menu comprises of a variety of meats, stir-fry, salads, desserts and many more. Students and staff get a chance to relax after a long first week over a good meal and great conversation.
The dinner ended relatively early as the students had an early morning sunrise hike up Kgale Hill to get a view of the city they would call home for the remainder of the year. Have a look:
After a hectic first week, we look forward to the exciting semester ahead! Until next time, sala sentle (stay well)!