Warwick in Africa

The Holiday Season is all about giving, so this is the ideal time to recognise Warwick’s incredible projects that are making an impact on our students and the wider community. One example is Warwick in Africa… by Ciara Brodie

It is the end of term, and also the end of another hugely successful student telephone fundraising campaign at the University of Warwick. The funds that the telephone fundraising team raised in our Autumn campaign alone equates to 25 scholarships, 100 chemotherapy pumps, 50 Opportunity Fund Awards, 90 Hardship Fund Bursaries or 6000 Warwick in Africa Learners. That means that over 503 shifts, 1500 hours of calling and 43 students, we managed to raise £46,456. That is a 5-year value of £178,407 going towards projects such as scholarships, Warwick Cancer Research Centre and Warwick in Africa.

I have been a part of this team since my first term at university, returning in my second year as a supervisor. We spend our evenings reconnecting alumni with the university and gaining some top-notch advice in the process. I am constantly inspired by the jobs that graduates go on to do, and they have offered me their insights into how that could also be me one day. People are so willing to give advice, and that’s something this job has really taught me. Always ask for advice!

Interestingly, I found out about Warwick in Africa through the campaign. I spent so much time learning and talking about the project, and sensing the enthusiasm from alumni for it, that I talked myself into applying. As such, last summer I spent 6 weeks teaching Maths in the beautiful province of Limpopo in South Africa. Completing this project, as an addition to my overall university experience, has given me an incomparable drive to study and appreciate my education. This experience was nothing short of magic, and I find myself feeling very nostalgic as I am typing this out now. It is very difficult to reduce such an experience in a few words!

I had 3 classes for the entire 6 weeks: 2 grade 9 classes and 1 grade 12 class. There were over 80 students in each of my grade 9 classes, which was terrifying at first. The learners were squeezed onto desks, and I struggled to move around the classroom because it was so jam-packed. During those 6 weeks, though, we shared the best of times. We played games, built structures and did a lot of singing and dancing. My grade 12 class was smaller, but just as amazing. These learners were preparing to graduate from school, and they were pondering their next steps. As such, we spent a lot of time talking about university and exploring available options.

I loved how everyone quickly integrated me into the school community. The teachers allowed me a lot of freedom in terms of how I could best support the learners, and I believe that was where the real magic happened. I study Politics, Philosophy and Economics – hence, I took up a few of the Economics lessons. This is one example of how creative I could be: I brought in some pound coins to illustrate exchange rates to my grade 12 class. This was the first time many students had held a foreign currency, and they loved it!

Fundraising for Warwick in Africa allows this magic to happen, and even supports student volunteers so they can receive intensive teacher training before traveling to either South Africa, Tanzania or Ghana. I’ve come to realise that a lot of the learning actually takes place outside of lectures, seminars and all-nighters in the library. I genuinely learnt a lot about myself during those 6 weeks, and I have returned to university more inspired and driven than ever before to make the most of my education.

I’ve also realised that Warwick does a lot in terms of Philanthropic Pursuits, looking beyond its academic reputation. It is worth noting at this point that the University of Warwick is a registered charity. So, Warwick recognises that it can have a unique role in the local, national and international community, and one of the best things is that the university places its students as a central part of this commitment! Whether that be volunteering with Warwick in Africa, teaching at local schools with the Warwick Welcome Service or engaging in research with the Cancer Research Centre.

If you’ve been thinking about it or if you’ve just learned it from me now, my message is the same: I  really encourage you to apply for Warwick in Africa as the value it will add to your university experience, as it did to mine, will be immeasurable. Applications close on 14 January 2018 so read the role overview as this could be the perfect opportunity for you!

Don’t forget to share this post! #studyblog

Images: Provided by author.

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