Travelling students’ Lwandle stop

2019-03-21 06:00
The Semester at Sea students with the local learners and staff of Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum during their visit earlier this week.PHOTOS: MZWANELE MKALIPI

The Semester at Sea students with the local learners and staff of Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum during their visit earlier this week.PHOTOS: MZWANELE MKALIPI

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The Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum welcomes close to 4 500 local and international tourists each year.

It was no different when Semester at Sea students, mainly from the USA, toured the museum, Hostel 33 (a provincial heritage site) and the Lwandle community on Monday 18 March.

The students had been on the road since January, when they left their countries of origin and visited Mexico and Japan before their stop in Mzansi. They will next visit Ghana on their tour.

The Semester at Sea programme takes students on a voyage across the globe. Founded in 1963, it is now managed by the Institute for Shipboard Education in Fort Collins, Colorado in the US. Colorado State University (CSU) is the current academic sponsor of the programme, which is run from a cruise ship.

Recent statistics show the programme has been successfully completed by nearly 63 000 undergraduate students from more than 1 500 colleges and universities since its inception.

For some of the students, this experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the first time they travelled outside their country of origin. What’s more, it provides them with a chance to experience different cultures and to interact with people from other continents.

Associate Professor Lisa Daunhauer of the CSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies described the tour group’s museum visit as “very special”, as it focused on the history of people, an aspect she deals with in her discipline.

“This is one of the richest museums we have been privileged to visit, and this is definitely an enriching experience for the students from various disciplines in the Semester at Sea programme,” she said.

Student Nicole Destefano said the tour of Lwandle, the museum and the hostels was “an eye opener”. “I’m happy to be part of this class, touring other continents to see what it is all about,” the 20-year-old said, adding she was pleasantly surprised by the sunny weather in South Africa.

Masa Soko, the museum’s manager, said its brand is growing through such visits from students. She believes tourists returning to experience the offerings again means they are impressed by their quality.

“They started coming to the museum in 2015, and have been visiting ever since,” she said. “This shows they see value in the museum, not only locally but internationally too,” she said.

The Semester at Sea group were in SA for a few more days before embarking for Ghana, and then home again.

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