From Mbale (Eastern Uganda) to Newport (South Wales): A Case Study
Keywords:curriculum internationalization, higher education employability, community development, field course
The need to equip students with the theoretical knowledge and applied skills is an essential requirement for professional practice; even more in an increasingly competitive job market. The opportunity to travel to Mbale, Eastern Uganda, as part of a field course, identified areas of professional development which were then transferred and extended to students who were not able to make the travel commitment.
As part of the ongoing collaboration between the University of South Wales (USW) and the charity Partnerships Overseas Networking Trust (PONT), the nutrition and geography students took part in a range of community development and research projects. Of particular focus here, the nutrition students designed and delivered a training course aimed at volunteer community health workers on nutrition and food combining. The same approach was taken for students who were not able to travel to Africa. In partnership with the Communities First Health Team of Newport West Cluster, a nutrition course was also developed. The students took part in all the stages of the projects and gained a variety of skills; from developing, planning, implementing and evaluating a ‘real’ project to working with an interpreter.
The increasing competitive and challenging employment market requires the need to equip students with appropriate skills for their working lives and to play a constructive role in a world that is ‘shrinking’. Increased geographical and social mobility supports multicultural living and working and demands certain cultural competencies. Such learning opportunities bring with them challenges along with opportunities from the perspective of the learner. Therefore, the teacher has a role in supporting the student in this process that enhances the potential of the opportunities while making those challenges enjoyable and fun to manage. Furthermore, collaborations, such as those described, benefit everyone providing a ‘win-win’ experience.
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