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From home ground to foreign land

From home ground to foreign land

A two-week Summer School in Germany has laid the foundation for great aspirations amongst a group of eight NUST students, who have gone from humble beginnings to participating in a global project that spans four continents.

Under the stewardship of NUST’s Prof Attlee Gamundani, the group embarked on a transformative experience in the heart of Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia, as participants of the Global Intercultural Project Experience (GIPE) project. Selected from various fields of study in Communication, Computer Science, Business Informatics, Software Engineering and Software Development, students were offered an enriching learning experience. They collaborated with individuals from various cultural backgrounds allowing them to participate in a distributed interdisciplinary learning programme. “The project offers numerous opportunities for students to develop a range of skills that can be beneficial for their day-to-day interactions with other individuals,” Prof Gamundani added.

This year the GIPE partner universities collaborated with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Accelerator Labs in Peru, Namibia, and Indonesia to develop working solutions to facilitate the sharing of learnings. The goal of the project is to present students with an actual intercultural experience by collaborating with peers worldwide to solve real-life client problems. Overflowing with gratitude, Kachana Beatrice Ndabeni, a Bachelor of Communication student, professed, “Being part of this international project, fostering collaboration between academics and cross-cultural working groups, is an extraordinary honour. It has been a dynamic and captivating experience that has enriched my learning journey.”

The project stands as a testament to the remarkable collaboration between the four partner institutions (NUST, the Westphalia University of Applied Sciences, Universidad Católica San Pablo, and Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia). From the outset in 2020, the coordinators and lecturers from the partner universities had to contend with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative is also a shining example of the potential of project-based learning coupled with virtual collaboration across multiple time zones and involving participants from numerous cultures. The final project handover to the UNDP looms on the horizon and is slated for 24 July 2023.