Botho Exchange Students in University of Venda, South Africa

On the 20th of July Botho University (BU) sent its first batch of students outside the country to a partner university through the international exchange programme.

Five students from the Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Computing Programme were taken to Thohoyandou, a town in the Limpopo province of South Africa, where the University of Venda (Univen) is located. The exchange will last for one semester, which is roughly five months, and five students studying the same programme at Univen are attending BU during the same period.

The University of Venda is also hosting one of the staff in the Faculty of Computing of Botho University; as a visiting scholar during the same period.

"We want to expose BU students to international teaching and learning experiences," said International Development Officer Boitumelo Letsogo when questioned on what Botho University hopes to achieve through this programme.

"This is currently a global trend as higher education institutions do not train for local markets but for global markets. As such, employers prefer to hire graduates with some international experience and BU would like to position its graduates for the global market."

She added that the exchange is also intended to cultivate intercultural competencies and sensitivity among students, and to tap into the experience of the visiting students, as they bring diverse ideas to the classroom.

The student exchange programme, held in partnership with various universities from across the globe, is advertised to Botho University students. Students who meet the eligibility criteria then apply, and are interviewed by a joint team to judge their suitability for the programme.

Only students who, in the case of Univen, have attained an average of at least 65% in all modules attended prior to the date of application or, in the case of BU, attained a Grade Point Average of at least 2.75 are eligible for the student exchange.

Additional considerations for selection are cultural awareness and adaptability, interpersonal skills, and community engagement. Students are evaluated against these criteria qualitatively in an objective and transparent process.

Although the exchange programme is open for undergraduate and honours students at any year of their studies, the exchange is typically for third, fourth, final year or honours students. The final list of students must be endorsed by both the home and host university prior to the commencement of the exchange.

On the 17th of July BU held a send-off ceremony attended by the five students, their parents, and stakeholders from HRDC, BQA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The event was honoured by the presence of Dr. Patrick Molutsi, Acting CEO of HRDC.