Maria Okyere Addo, along with four other students from the University of Bergen participated in the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Winter (Summer) School. Here is how she describes this experience:
The winter (summer) school has been a vital learning experience for me. My stay in Durban was truly eventful and very special, right from the airport, where we received a warm welcome from Prof. Mtapuri and other staff members of the University of KwaZalu -Natal. South Africa indeed has the developmental flair to match its beauty.
During the first day of lectures, we were introduced to our colleagues, of whom majority were South Africans, although we had students from Lesotho as well. Our maiden lecture on Introduction to the Political Economy of the Welfare States, gave me the opportunity to critically think and argue out my thoughts, during class deliberations. Personally, I found the diverse views and the blend among students from Bergen and South Africa very interesting, because from this, I gained new and critical insights and a broader understanding of the concept of Political Economy of the Welfare State, Poverty & Sustainable Development. As part of the activities scheduled, we were privileged to have visited notable tourist sites in Durban, including the Nelson Mandela Capture Site and the Howick Water Falls with our classmates.
Overall, my trip to South Africa was an amazing experience. Being an African, it was extremely important for me to see a different type of Africa, an extremely developed and versatile country. With the exposure and experienced gained, as a Ghanaian student resident in Norway, I could critically analyze and argue about core issues from both ends of the globe and to me, this was the crown atop my Summer School experience.
I am grateful to have been a scholarship recipient of the UTFORSK Project, which I believe is an opportunity of a lifetime. All thanks to the main organizers of this program especially the CROP Secretariat, UiB, as well as our lecturers from both UKZN and UiB, most especially Prof. Mtapuri (UKZN) and Prof. Wenche (UiB), who taught us during the summer school, not forgetting the entire PEWS Class, 2018 and my four colleagues from UiB.