A Month of Cultural Exchange and Academic Enrichment

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From the 4th – 29 April 2024, the School of Applied Human Sciences, Social work Discipline hosted six PhD students from Midlands State University (Zimbabwe), Fachhochschule Dortmund University (Germany) and University of Johannesburg (South Africa) as part of the UKZN DAAD Exchange Programme. This month-long programme is part of the DAAD-funded internationalisation project that is led by Dr Maud Mthembu, a senior lecturer from UKZN. The project aims to build international and regional networks within the social work profession that advance research and social work practice on critical global issues including human rights, social injustice and the role that can be played by the profession to achieve sustainable development goals. The visit to the Apartheid Museum allowed students to understand the SA history of apartheid.

During their stay, the students participated in academic and community activities including being hosted by Dr Ela Gandhi from the Mahatma Gandhi Institute. They visited local schools in Inanda and gained valuable insights into the life and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and the significance of these sites in the struggle against apartheid.

One of the programme’s highlights was the 3-day PhD research workshop attended by international and local PhD students. Academics such as Prof Mtapuri, Prof Hlongwane and Prof Masuku from Developmental Studies and Public Health facilitated the research sessions. The programme was also joined by Prof Tanusha Raniga from the University of Johannesburg, who serves as the SARCHI Chair.

The students presented their research and received valuable feedback and insights from their professors and peers.

As the six students returned to their home countries, they carried with them memories of their time at UKZN, newfound knowledge, and a broader perspective on the world. The UKZN DAAD Exchange Programme is a testament to the power of international collaboration and cultural exchange in shaping the next generation of global leaders and scholars.