Annual Study Center Review CIEE Study Center at the

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					Annual Study Center Review
CIEE Study Center at the University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana

CIEE Program Director: Adam Rubin, Program Director, Africa, Middle East, & Northern,
Central, and Eastern Europe
CIEE Resident Director: Batsirai Chidzodzo
CIEE Academic Consortium Board Program Evaluation: N/A
CIEE Academic Consortium Board Monitor: Kathleen McDermott, Columbia University

Each summer, program directors write a Study Center Review for each CIEE Study
Center program commenting on the previous academic year. The program director
writes the review based on input from the CIEE Academic Consortium Board members,
resident directors, sending institutions, and student evaluations. Each report is made
public on the CIEE website at

Program Goals
The CIEE Study Center at the University of Botswana is designed to offer students from
a wide range of academic disciplines the opportunity to live and study in Botswana,
learning firsthand about the country and its people, while pursuing an intensive
curriculum in classes with local students. Through courses at the university and a variety
of community engagement and field-based research opportunities, participants will
explore Botswana and learn about its important role in the Southern African region.

Student feedback from fall 2007 and spring 2008 suggests that the CIEE Gaborone
program has met or exceeded all of the stated program goals during its inaugural year.

New and Noteworthy

The CIEE Study Center at the University of Botswana in Gaborone, Botswana started in
fall 2007. Based on feedback from the CIEE Resident Director, students, and University
of Botswana officials, the 2007-2008 academic year was an extremely successful first
year for this new program. Students rated most of the program components positively,
and it is clear that they all had a rewarding and enjoyable experience in Gaborone with

CIEE and the University of Botswana worked together cooperatively and collaboratively
during the past year to help ensure that the program went smoothly. The CIEE Resident
Director received outstanding feedback from all of the students and provided them with
solid support both on and off-campus. The CIEE Study Center office is located
conveniently in the center of campus, close to the UB Office of International Education
and Partnerships, academic buildings, the bookstore, and other student services’

All CIEE students enrolled in the CIEE Setswana Language & Culture Practicum, a
University of Botswana Setswana language course, and regular UB area studies
electives. Students generally liked the CIEE Setswana Language & Culture practicum
due to its focus on communication skills and interactive field trips, field research project,
and guest lectures. Feedback on the university courses was quite mixed, but students

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benefited from a wide selection of courses in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and

Setswana Language
All CIEE students enrolled in both a University of Botswana Setswana language course
and the CIEE Setswana Language and Culture Practicum. Most of the students
commented that the university course lacked rigor and focus, while the CIEE course
provided them with a chance to develop basic Setswana communication skills and
interact with various Batswana through guest lectures, field research, and excursions.
CIEE and UB officials discussed the problem, and the university has agreed to make
significant changes to their language program beginning in fall 2008. This includes more
specialized training for the language instructors and development of a better language

The CIEE Setswana Language & Culture Practicum utilized a communicative and
functional approach to language acquisition so that students could begin using their
basic Setswana skills in practical situations such as shopping, cooking, using public
transportation, or meeting friends. As part of the course, each student had to choose a
specific topic of interest and conduct a short research project. Many students opted to
interview Batswana in communities outside of the university.

CIEE is planning to implement various changes to its course in fall 2008. This includes
more intensive Setswana training during the first few weeks of the semester and a week-
long homestay designed to give students more of an integrated experience within the
local community. CIEE is also designing its own language workbook for use in this

Direct Enrollment Courses at the University of Botswana
CIEE students enroll directly in four area studies elective courses at the University of
Botswana. As the sample course list below demonstrates, the University of Botswana
offers a diverse range of courses, many of which focus on Botswana or Southern Africa.
The CIEE Resident Director met with students prior to course registration to discuss their
academic plans and attempted to help each participant select an appropriate mixture of
courses. Student feedback suggests that some of the university courses were rewarding
and taught by very good faculty, while other courses were disorganized and
disappointing. The University has responded well to CIEE feedback on various courses.
As the program develops over the next few years, the CIEE Resident Director will gain a
better understanding of specific UB courses and faculty, thereby allowing him to help
advise students more proactively and effectively during orientation. Many students
commented that the cultural rewards gained by studying at UB helped them to better
appreciate their courses.

Here is a sample list of the university courses taken by students during the 2007-2008
academic year:

Fall 2007:
Africa in World Politics
Botswana Politics
Mfecane and the Settler Scramble for Southern Africa
Parasitology for Health Sciences
Language Instruction 1

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Botswana Language and Culture Practicum
Introduction to Sociological Theory
Industry and Society
Introduction to Statistics
Christianity and the Rise of New Religious Movements in Botswana
HIV/AIDS Prevention & Control in Botswana
Labour Economics
Missionaries in the 19th Century Southern Africa
African Philosophy & Culture

Spring 2008:
Africa and Its Past On Film
African Diaspora in the Caribbean and the Americas
The Roots of Crisis in Modern Central Africa
History of Christianity in Southern Africa
Growth, Policy and Poverty in Africa, Latin America, South and South-East Asia
Language Instruction 1
Botswana Language and Culture Practicum
Popular Culture in Society and the Media
Current Issues in African Media
Demographics Aspects of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
Human Resource Development
Physical Distribution Management
International Administration
Politics of Southern Africa
African Written Poetry
Creative Writing, Theory and Practice
HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control in Botswana
Contemporary Sociological Theories
Politics of Poverty in Southern Africa
Classical Political Thought
Contemporary Africa
Politics of Regionalism
Security Studies
Chiefs, Commoners and the Impact of Colonial Rule in Botswana, Lesotho and
HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control
Beat Reporting


CIEE Orientation
The CIEE Gaborone orientation included a range of practical and cultural activities
designed to help students prepare for their semester in Botswana. Student feedback
suggests that the CIEE orientation included a lot of useful information and enjoyable
activities. In addition to sessions on the University of Botswana and the academic
program, CIEE orientation included health and safety sessions, survival language
training, cross-cultural communication issues, and several short day trips.

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The CIEE Resident Director arranged for students to visit various local sites and
museums during the orientation period. This included day trips and excursions to to the
Tlokweng and Gaborone Kgotlas (traditional meeting houses), Tlamelo Orphanage,
Botswana Parliament and House of Chiefs, Manyana Rock Art site, David Livingstone
Memorial Tree, Bahurutse Cultural Village, Mokolodi Nature Reserve, and Phutadikobo
Museum during the first few weeks of the program. In addition, The University arranged
for all international students to visit a local game reserve and Bahurutse (Cultural

Cultural Activities/Field Trips
CIEE arranged an extensive range of site visits and excursions to help students gain a
better understanding of Botswana’s history, culture, and natural resources. Local
students were invited to participate in some of these activities as a means of increasing
interaction between CIEE and full-time UB students. Here is a list of field trips and
excursions arranged by CIEE during the 2007-2008 academic year:

1. Manyana Rock Art Site (Prehistoric Art from the Stone Age)
2. Bahurutse Cultural Village (Students participated in traditional activities and spent a
    night in huts)
3. Mokolodi Natural Reserve
4. Gaborone Game Reserve
5. Matsieng Footprints (Archaeological Site)
6. Juwaneng Mine (World’s Richest Diamond Mine)
7. Thamaga (Rural village famous for pottery)
8. David Livingstone Memorial Tree and Kolobeng River (Site of David Livingstone
    mission church and house)
9. The Okavango Delta (Multi-day excursion to the world’s largest and most intact
    wetland ecosystem)
10. Moremi Game Reserve
11. Parliament and House of Chiefs

The multi-day excursion to the Okavango Delta was a highlight of the semester for both
fall 2007 and spring 2008 students. The excursion allowed participants to examine the
impact of tourism on the economy of Botswana and on the local environment. Students
enjoyed the opportunity to see scores of elephants, impalas, giraffes, and hippos during
a combination of game drives, mokoro (dugout canoe) rides, and a scenic flight over the

In fall 2007, all of the program participants stayed in the new undergraduate student
housing on the University of Botswana campus. Feedback on these accommodations
was mixed, as students generally found the quality of the residence hall to be high while
expressing dissatisfaction about the lack of student cooking facilities. There is a cafeteria
across from the residence hall. Although this facility serves three meals each day, the
students felt that a wider variety of food would have made the overall experience better.
There were also some concerns about security in the residence hall due to a theft that
occurred during the week-long break during the fall semester. These concerns were
discussed with university officials, and changes were made recently to help provide
additional campus security guards in the area.

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Based on student feedback, CIEE housed all of the spring 2008 students in the UB
Graduate Student Village on campus. Although these facilities are not as new as the
undergraduate housing, students in the graduate village can cook their own meals.
Students generally had positive things to say about this housing arrangement. Several of
the full-time graduate students living in this village did, however, raise concerns about
putting undergraduate study abroad students in housing reserved for graduate students.
CIEE and UB officials are working together to improve this situation for everyone in fall
2008. While CIEE hopes to keep the graduate student village as an option, it may not be
possible beyond fall 2008 due to increased competition for graduate housing among
local students and concerns over the noise levels created by undergraduate students.

Community Engagement and Integration

Students during the fall 2007 and spring 2008 semesters were encouraged to participate
in volunteer projects. During the fall semester, students got involved with the SOS
Children’s Village, a local organization that helps orphaned, destitute, and abandoned
children develop into responsible and independent adults so that they can survive and
succeed in the future. Students had very positive things to say about their experiences
with this organization. In addition to this experience, one student volunteered throughout
the semester at a local community church.

Although the CIEE Resident Director met with students at the beginning of the semester
to talk with interested students about volunteering in spring 2008, most students did not
engage in formal volunteer projects. Students claim that they wanted more support from
the staff to set up the actual projects, while the Resident Director said that he provided
students with a variety of information and encouraged them to be proactive in
establishing their own connections to organizations. This feedback is helpful and will
allow CIEE to structure the volunteer aspects of the Gaborone program more for fall
2008 and beyond. Several of the spring 2008 students participated in an HIV/AIDS
Awareness walk organized by the Department of Nursing Education at UB. They
marched in an attempt to raise awareness and promote the importance of behavioral
changes in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Challenges and Future Directions

The first year of the CIEE Gaborone program went extremely well but also provided staff
with the opportunity to gain insight into various academic and cultural challenges that
need to be addressed in the coming semesters. Several changes are being planned for
the 2008-09 academic year. These include the development of a Setswana Language
workbook for the CIEE Setswana Language & Culture Practicum. Improvements to the
CIEE course, along with increased training for the UB Setswana language instructor,
should lead to better outcomes in both the CIEE course and the regular university
language courses. CIEE will make the first two weeks of the Setswana Language &
Culture Practicum more intensive, providing students with more language training during
orientation so that students can communicate more effectively with classmates and
members of the community earlier in the semester.

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The CIEE Resident Director has spent the past year becoming more familiar with various
university departments, courses, and faculty. As a result, he should be in a better
position to advise CIEE students during upcoming program orientations.

Students rated the overall program highly and were respectful of the fact that this was
the first year of the CIEE Gaborone Study Center. Student feedback on the CIEE
Resident Director and the various non-academic features of the program was extremely
positive. It is clear from both students and university staff that the CIEE Resident
Director provided excellent on-site support for everyone involved with the program.

CIEE staff met with UB officials in spring 2008 to discuss the housing situation and
agreed to work together to improve the situation in the graduate student village for fall
2008. CIEE and UB staff will meet with the Graduate Students’ Association on campus
this summer in an attempt to make the living environment better for everyone. CIEE staff
will address this issue proactively with fall 2008 students in an attempt to make them
more respectful of graduate students and their need for a quiet, clean living and studying

As mentioned above, CIEE staff will work more closely with students on local volunteer
opportunities each semester. The Resident Director hopes to improve student
integration into the community through an improved volunteer program and the
introduction of both a short-term homestay opportunity and a for-credit internship course
(see Future Directions below)

Future Directions
CIEE plans to introduce several new opportunities for students during the 2008-09
academic year. In addition to an enhanced CIEE Setswana Language & Culture
Practicum, CIEE will offer a for-credit internship opportunity for academic year students
in their second semester. Students will work with the Resident Director to identify local
organizations and secure appropriate internships during the first semester.

All CIEE students will participate in a new one-week homestay beginning in fall 2008.
This will allow students to develop stronger ties to the local community and provide them
with a unique opportunity to use their Setswana skills in a family setting.

CIEE and UB staff are working together to improve the housing opportunities for
students on campus. The University may hire a new student staff (RA) to provide
additional support for foreign students living in the graduate student housing.

Overall, there have been very few significant problems during the inaugural year of the
CIEE Gaborone program. CIEE and the University of Botswana have developed a strong
partnership, and there is a productive, ongoing dialogue between CIEE and UB staff.
The changes highlighted above should allow the CIEE program to improve and expand
during the upcoming year, providing a variety of American students with an rewarding,
high quality academic and cultural opportunity in Botswana. CIEE will launch a new
summer program in Gaborone in 2009. The CIEE Gaborone Summer Community Public
Health program will focus on public and environmental health issues impacting
Botswana today.

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