Durban Winter School 2018: Helene’s Experience

We ate breakfast outside every morning at the roof top before lecture. ©Helene Karlsen

My time at UKZN Winter school was an interesting one. Being in the class room with local students from South Africa, but also some other African countries, made the experience quite valuable. I was surprised at how political engaged many of the students were, and how vocal they were. Many good speakers in that class. It was interesting to listen to their take on South Africa’s history, and where Africa should move forward.

© Helene Karlsen

There was a lot to do in the course, a lot of reading and writing of summaries to be submitted. However, the professor; Oliver from Zimbabwe had a lot of knowledge on the topics. He even invited us foreigners on a dinner to his house, and picked us up at the mall when we called him terrified of not getting home during the first couple of days of our stay. We were freezing ourselves to death at night, sleeping with all our clothes on. We thought Africa was warm. How wrong were we. The temperatures drop to 12 degrees at night and the houses are not isolated with cold stone walls and only a thin blanket. However, we did have one day at the beach lying in our bikinis. After the winter school was over we traveled to a game lodge and spent some days there seeing animals and lying by the pool. Not bad at all! It was an amazing opportunity from CROP!

Us with some classmates on the way to Mandela Capture site ©Helene Karlsen

I got to know some people in the class that I have kept in touch with during my stay here in South Africa. I was lucky to land an internship at HEARD after the winter school was over. I have been at HEARD for 4 months. HEARD is a research division of UKZN. They focus on health economics, health systems and strengthening, HIV and AIDS, disabilities and women’s menstrual and reproductive rights. HEARD is a small organization with a very friendly environment. I really enjoyed my time at this organization with all this nice and helpful colleagues.

Helene in South Africa ©Helene Karlsen