German Exchange Students and Staff visit UKZN
Visiting students and staff from the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany were officially welcomed by the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) recently.
Professor Juergen Kaehler and Mr Christoph Weber, along with their students, Ms Valeska Grob, Ms Ines Feismann and Ms Katerina Arch, have joined the Development Studies Masters courses for this semester.
The School’s Academic Co-ordinator for Development Studies, Dr Mvuselelo Ngcoya, said: ‘This exchange programme has been running for over three years and it’s one of the best I’ve seen. We don’t have a shortage of international scholars coming to Africa to gain expertise on all manner of issues. Where this programme is different is that we make every endeavour to ensure the exchange is equitable.’
Said Feismann: ‘Academically, we hope to get to know other approaches or even theories on development studies. Of course, we are also keen to explore the field of development against a South African background by learning about the country’s specific challenges. This in turn will help us later in our professional lives to understand the problems developing countries face and to help search for solutions for them.’
Grob added: ‘It’s very exciting to be in South Africa and at UKZN and one now gets a new impression of Africa. The campus is beautiful although we’re still finding our way around but everyone has been helpful,’.
The programme included a staff exchange component where lecturer in the School, Mr Mohammed Vawda, previously spent time at the University in Germany teaching a special module.
Vawda believes that exchange programmes are insightful and provide feedback in terms of adapting, changing and improving teaching methods in different contexts. ‘Exchange programmes also provide a basis for strengthening research and academic collaboration between local and international academic institutions.’
Another UKZN Lecturer, Professor Frances Lund, also recently returned from Erlangen-Nürnberg where she taught a special module.
The School is planning to send two students to Germany this year.