The University of Pretoria Faculty of Law hosted a special welcome function for its international exchange students, who are registered students at the University for the duration of the second semester. This international group is one of first to join us since lockdown was lifted.
UP Law welcomed 7 students from University of Pretoria partner universities in The Netherlands, Germany and Sweden respectively.
The students received a warm welcome from the Deputy Dean of UP Law, Professor Charles Maimela. He confirmed the Faculty’s commitment to include international components in its modules. He said that: “The international context is important to ensure that the University does not operate in a silo, but that we are inclusive in our approach and in our service to humanity.” He further reiterated the importance of law in society, reminding the international students that law is a social science and should therefore make a difference in the lives of the people which it serves.
The Dean of UP Law, Professor Elsabe Schoeman, extended a hearty welcome: “You are our guests of honour tonight and it is a pleasure to welcome you to our beautiful country and beautiful Pretoria”. Following the welcome, the Dean shared anecdotes of her academic travels across South Africa, New Zealand and Germany to reiterate the importance of academic exchanges. She further stated that exchanges were not a luxury, on the contrary, they play a crucial role in building experiences and networks.
Prof Schoeman gave the students a brief description of South African law describing it as “a mixed system of law”, and invited them to explore the various campuses the university has to offer, particularly Future Africa, where “we do research focusing on solutions by Africans for Africa, and we also export those solutions to the rest of the world”.
Professor Anton van der Linde, Chair of the International Exchange Committee, thanked the students for choosing the University of Pretoria as their exchange host. He said: “I just want to say thank you for choosing the UP Law, of all the places you could have chosen in South Africa, thanks for choosing us and I trust that your choice was based on our reputation as the best law faculty in Africa.” Dr Clireesh Joshua, another member of the Committee added: “It’s really nice to put faces to students.”
When asked about their student experiences, one student from Erasmus University in Rotterdam said: “I think it’s very nice, we’re getting used to all the security, that was a bit of a shock coming from Europe but for us it has been a really nice experience”
Another student from Tilburg University in the Netherlands states “I found it really nice, actually I think from all my courses, I’m learning a lot about how South Africa functions and I really like that, because I feel the teachers are also very amazing. And the people I have met are amazing, super warm, welcoming and supportive.”
“The country in general is just wonderful, I had the pleasure of already visiting the Drakensburg and Saldanha Bay; we’ve been to Johannesburg last weekend, it’s wonderful, amazing”, said a student from The Friedrich Schiller University in Jena.
Mr Smart Makhubela of the International Cooperation Division (ICD) concluded by stating that: “As part of the international student cohort at UP you matter, not only do you bring vibrancy to campus life, you bring a different academic experience. You’ve got your own unique skill set, fresh outlook, you also contribute to the local economy.”
UP Law welcomes the international exchange cohort, we wish them well in their studies, as well as in their exploration of our beautiful country.