Botswana, Week 1: Intro, Facts and Excursions!

Hello, everyone. My name is Igor Martic, and I am junior (class of 2013) studying International Economics at the University of Richmond (UR). Currently, I am acting as a Foreign Correspondent for UR while representing the student exchange program at University of Botswana (UB), Africa. Welcome to my blog! Feel free to contact me at any time via e-mail: Igor.Martic@Richmond.edu. Enjoy, and I encourage my readers to leave comments. Thanks! Now, for an introduction to UB…

Here is a video I recorded while flying into the Gaborone, Botswana airport:

Next, I’ll answer some basic questions you might have about University of Botswana.

How many people attend University of Botswana (UB)?

Botswana, a country with a population of a little over two million, has a very limited amount of space in its one University, UB. There are approximately 15,484 (1,445 postgraduate) students and 2,658 faculty and staff.

What does University of Botswana (UB) have to offer?

UB provides many options and locations for its students. With four campus locations nationwide, this University has grown to become internationally renowned for its academics. UB offers seven areas of study: Business, Education, Social Sciences, Science, Engineering, Humanities, and Medicine.

When are the important dates for University of Botswana?

UB was established in 1982 as a public university in Gaborone, Botswana. Semester 2 (referred to as spring semester in the States) begins around January 9 of the new year and ends May 6. Exam week ends May 10, final grades are due May 24, and grades are finalized May 26.

The UB course catalog:

http://www.ub.bw/documents/UB_UnderGrad_Academic_Cal_2010_2011.pdf

Where is University of Botswana?

UB has 4 locations: 2 in Gaborone, 1 in Francistown, and 1 in Maun. The main campus, and the one I attend primarily, is located in Gaborone, Botswana, Africa.

Why was University of Botswana established?

UB was established for the purpose of educating the citizens of Botswana. With an economy that depends on primarily one resource as its main source of income (diamonds), Botswana understands that a limited resource also brings limited opportunities. UB exists to create a better social, private, and professional life for everyone across the Botswana lands. An educated and innovative society will bring intelligent and creative new ways of life and business to a nation that relies heavily on a depleting natural commodity.

How do I get more information about University of Botswana?

UB is an amazing academic institution. Please stay tuned to my blog for more personal information about this anything-but-ordinary study abroad experience. Also, please contact your advisor, international education office, or http://www.ub.bw for statistics, facts, and ways of applying to study here with the great citizens of Botswana and the “internationals” like me!

Finally, I’ll discuss some of the excursions I’ve had so far and will enjoy over the coming weeks.

After being in Botswana for a little under a week, I’ve had a quick, but simultaneously slow, transition into the culture, environment, and atmosphere of this new life.

To become more acquainted with our new home for this semester, the local students and the school have set up excursions for us to attend. This includes visiting the local village, a hike into the Gorge, local village dancing and an overnight stay, learning African pottery techniques, a game drive, and viewing one of the oldest living African trees and rock paintings in the world.

For our first excursion, we packed into a UB bus and headed out to the Kanye Village in Botswana, Africa. The trip lasted a brief 2 hours, but was well worth it! When we arrived, we were told that all males had to change into long pants and a collared shirt, and the females were required to cover their legs and shoulders. This was to respect the local customs of the tribe.

They had us seated in their local “courthouse.” A local directed the males to sit in the front of the females in traditional, hand-made chairs. He was very well-spoken and groomed, educated, and made everyone feel like he was their grandfather with a cheek-to-cheek smile and open arms. Surprisingly, he spoke my language, Serbo-Croatian, with almost perfect grammar and a slight African accent.

Group discussion

Side wall of village

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