The Cape Peninsula University Of Technology (CPUT) is offering various opportunities for local students and staff members to further their studies in Europe and United States of America. However most of the South African citizens who qualify to pursue such opportunities do not grab them with both hands. People always try to find excuses to justify their actions. But sometimes all they need is to take a leap of faith. Others need some guidance and a push in the right direction in trying to convince them to go ahead and submit their applications.
Matome Mokoena International Relations Officer who is in charge of Study Abroad Programme in CPUT stated that, “Several challenges such as the complicated online applications procedures, can act as and hindrance factor towards indecisive applicants. Furthermore, people who do not read communiqué regarding these programmes, miss out on being informed; while some other people rely on word-of-mouth or via the grapevine to learn about these programmes.”
Over the past five years CPUT has managed to send more than sixty students abroad on exchange and scholarship programmes. Since the introduction of the Erasmus Mundus programmes a couple of years ago the number of staff members going to further their studies abroad has increased. However the number of applicants is still significantly low from CPUT staff members. This number can be improved with the constant communication with HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT in identifying suitable candidates who qualify to apply for these programmes.
Several methods have been adopted by the Office of International Affairs to try and reach out into the CPUT community at large to share information of all the scholarship opportunities available. Such opportunities include:
· SAVUSA (South Africa-VU University Amsterdam-Strategic Alliances)
· EUROSA (Europe and South Africa Partnership Scholarship Programme)
· EMA2SA (Erasmus Mundus Action 2 for South Africa)
· Community College Initiative Programme
· Fulbright scholarship
· Humphrey Fellowship
· Faculty Exchange Programmes
SAVUSA’s main benefit is that it pays for a staff member’s replacement while they go and do their full masters or PHD programme in the Netherlands. Both EUROSA and EMA2SA programmes are Erasmus Mundus funded programmes by the European Union. CCIP, Fulbright scholarship and the Humphrey Fellowship programme are fund by the American government. Bell,D
According to Sharon Rapetswa who is a CCIP alumni has been totally transformed by this programme. She is now a co-founder of the New Dawn Foundation, which is funded by the American government and she is currently working in collaboration with Thabo Mbheki Foundation. One of the new recipients of the CCIP was introduced to the programme by having a conversation with Ms Rapetswa.
More innovative ways of sharing information needs to be implemented. People should be given the information to travel oversees to see new things and stop focusing on the emotional burden that comes with being away from their loved ones. Travelling enables people to develop a global perspective in life and grow their network. Awareness programmes should be implemented to show people to importance of studying abroad, as these channels your way of thinking and adopting the whole new learning culture. People believe when they see proof that such opportunities can transform their lives. The alumni should be invited to come and give testimonials as part of the awareness programme.
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