Just like any entrepreneur, looking back on what has been achieved since we first sat down and decided to make this work, I cannot help but be impressed and a little bit in shock. Professors Without Borders started off with three people, Caroline, Majeks and myself who decided that we wanted to make the great educational opportunities we received available to all.
Just like in any sport, the winning formula for success is a great team. We have been fortunate once again in recruiting not just the best talent for our summer schools this year, but also that our volunteers have worked so well together.
What you don’t see is the work backstage. The whatsapp groups full of teaching tips and positive encouragements from volunteers in the States, in Sierra Leone, in the UK, in Thailand, in Uganda, in Brussels, from Australia and Hong Kong. Words of support mean everything when you are on the ground trying to figure out how to make every minute count for your students.
Students did they final presentations today, showing off their toned research skills, their confidence in making verbal and visual presentations and demonstrating keen teamwork.
Each course enjoyed presentations from our Summer School students and the classes were packed full.
An eager audience, learning from each other
As the Summer School in Uganda slowly comes to an end, we would like to showcase some of their best work.
Students have been thriving in their team projects and came up with their favourite mottos for life. Our top pics were “appreciate anything you have. You can use it to inspire the world” and “it is the decisions we make that make us who we are”. We’re posting these on Facebook so everyone can share in this wisdom.
Group work: Students preparing to present their resolution in our Model United Nations simulation
Our students in Uganda have been getting political both locally and internationally. Thanks to Ena’s invitation, the local MP Hon Mussana Eric visited African Rural University on Monday. He patiently answered the students’ questions for three hours. A true politician, our professors remarked that “he seems very involved in the community”. The visit led to a lot of debate among our academic community who argued about the merits of corporal punishment for teachers missing class and people skipping work. Fortunately, the discussion in Philippa’s class took place in the green around a table under a tree.
Our professors have enjoyed a full week of teaching and have reported back that their expectations were far exceeded by reality. This is something we often encounter when traveling to a new place; low expectations, stereotypes and subjective experiences are all displaced after a few days of enjoying a different environment.
Our team in Uganda has been had at work adapting their classes to the students in Uganda. ARU is “full of intelligent people” and we have to prove our relevance to the students each day to make it worth their while to come to our classes.
We have been incredibly impressed by African Rural University, the first all-women’s university in Africa and recipient of the Ashoka award in social enterprise. The university offers an innovative and much-needed development program that empowers women thereby having a large knock-on effect on the entire community.
A landing in Uganda full of thrills and hurdles. And our team has been amazing!
After being told our textbooks were being ‘held’ (by whom? where? why?), contacting every person we could think of at the shipping company, in politics, our partners at the university…, we finally managed to retrieve them thanks to the outstanding negotiating tactics of Ena, our lecturer in global politics.