The ACM Botswana: University Immersion in Southern Africa program is designed to offer students first-hand experience of African society and culture in the heart of Southern Africa through independent research and direct enrollment in an African university staffed by leading faculty from around the continent.
The program has four overall learning goals:
- To develop broad understanding of an African society and inter-cultural literacy through cultural immersion both within and beyond the University;
- To deepen knowledge of African development, environmental, and cultural issues through direct enrollment at the University of Botswana;
- To develop the ability to design and conduct mentored, place-based independent research;
- To develop a working knowledge of the Setswana language to facilitate and enrich engagement with the Botswanan people.
When students complete the program, they should have an understanding not only of the issues facing many African countries today, and especially those in Southern Africa, but also of the possible solutions that can be implemented. In addition, students should have the ability to define, conduct, and write up a significant independent project as well as a command of Setswana sufficient to allow for basic conversations and interactions.
Photo courtesy of Kim Lanegran.
In addition to learning in the lecture-style of teaching prevalent in much of the rest of the world, the program provides students with discussion-based course instruction common at small liberal arts colleges in the U.S. Students enroll in three courses: a Setswana language course taught long-time instructors of Setswana who use a variety of methods to teach language and culture, a course taught by the ACM faculty director in his/her area of expertise, and an elective course at the University of Botswana. An independent study project (ISP), supervised by the ACM faculty director, acts at the fourth course, providing students the opportunity for further investigation of Botswana society and culture on topics of their choice. Students also volunteer with community organizations in Gaborone, and these opportunities are often related to their independent study projects. Field excursions to the Kalahari Desert and Okavango Delta, the Jwaneng diamond mine, and Johannesburg, South Africa, augment the academic program, introducing students to two facets of Botswana’s strong economy, diamonds and tourism, and providing opportunities for comparing Botswana with its southern neighbor, South Africa. As registered students at the University of Botswana housed in UB residence halls, program participants live and share classes with fellow undergraduates.
University of Botswana
A tribute to the nation’s foresight and commitment to higher education, the University of Botswana is one of the most modern on the African continent. It is equipped with curricular and extra-curricular facilities that can rival and surpass those of many American universities.
Particularly impressive is the UB Library, which has numerous computer stations, reliable Internet access and substantial study facilities, including a modern auditorium and a learning resource centre with many electronic databases. It holds 350,000 books and over 9,000 full text journals. The University also has strong classroom and dormitory facilities.
All students who complete an ACM off-campus study program receive a grade report which lists their courses, credits, and grades. Most colleges accept this grade report as an official academic document. If a college requires an official academic transcript, ACM can arrange to have a transcript issued through Beloit College for a $350 processing fee. To request an official transcript, students must make a formal request through ACM.