The Department of Adult and Continuing Education is hosting about 21 students from the University of Agder, Norway, on a student exchange program. The students, most of them first-year students of Development studies will be in Uganda for one-month undertaking field studies in different parts of the country.
As part of their training, the students will live in Luweero with host families for a duration of one week. The students will be expected to learn from the communities and also share ideas on how to develop the different homesteads.
The students will then move to Mbale where they will live and study for another one week. They will be working with different non-profit organizations in the area.
Speaking during the debrief of the students, on January 9, 2023, the Principal Prof. Anthony Muwagga Mugagga welcomed them to Uganda and asked them to ensure they enjoy their stay in Uganda. He, however, cautioned them about ensuring their own safety.
He informed the students that Uganda was a beautiful country with sociable people. Prof. Mugagga encouraged the students to learn the Ugandan culture which will help ease the process of working with the communities in the different parts of the country.
He cautioned them about the cultural differences they may experience but reminded them that it is normal for things to be different because of the different cultures and upbringing the host communities have. “Have an open mind so that you can learn and above all, have fun,” Prof. Mugagga said.
The Head of the Department, Dr. Sanya Rahman, welcomed the students to Uganda and encouraged them to have an open mind so that they can learn and also unlearn certain things they know about Africa. He shared with the students the courses taught at the department and the opportunities available for exchange students.
The students had an opportunity to learn about the culture and norms of Ugandans. Dr. Constance Mudondo shared with the students about Uganda. She informed them that we have over 50 languages spoken by different groups of people. She informed them that greeting is an important aspect of our culture that they must learn to observe.
She cautioned them about the dress code, saying they must be decent at all times, especially in the rural communities where they will be spending most of their stay in Uganda. Dr. Mudondo informed the students that prayer is an important part of our lives and should be respected. “If the family you are living with sits down to pray, please join them as a sign of respect for their values and beliefs,” she said. She cautioned them against smoking in public and ensuring their safety and that of their property.
According to Mr. Joseph Watuleke, the coordinator of the student exchange program this is the sixth field study that students from the University of Agder are undertaking.
Students on January 11, 2023 visited Jangu International, in Mpigi District. Jangu International is an NGO that offers an innovative place where marginalized youth and refugees are empowered to create a future for this and upcoming generations.
Jangu International tackles the failing education of vulnerable groups by providing a “freesponsible” learning space with interactive workshops on personal development and social entrepreneurship.
The students of the University of Agder described the visit as empowering, interesting, and a learning experience for all of them. The students found a group of teenagers that were building houses with bottles, which they said was innovative and a good way to conserve the environment.