MUT lays the foundation for international students to succeed

Press Release Statement                                                                             19 February 2020

For immediate release

MUT lays the foundation for international students to succeed

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) has started laying the foundation for international students to adjust to their new institution and to introduce them to local communities, which will be the home for the duration of their studies at the University.

The University’s Department of Marketing and Communications has scheduled a special orientation for 33 international students on 20 February 2020, in a bid to connect them with fellow international students and lecturers; and to introduce international students to the immediate surroundings so they would be comfortable, and can easily assimilate into the local population. These students are from Mozambique, Nigeria, eSwatini, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The special orientation will include a tour to a number of places around Umlazi Township, and the city.

“Being away from home can be an alienating experience, especially for first year students who are away from their countries,” said Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Marketing and Communications. “It is the hope of the university that from this small orientation the students will connect with lecturers who can share advise on succeeding when you are in another country.”

International staff and students are an important part of the MUT community. The orientation programme for international students further strengthens MUT’s position against xenophobia. Last year, the University took a stand against xenophobia and Gender-Based Violence, accompanied by the Vice-Chancellor’s statement affirming the University’s position. This orientation is part of the University’s strategy to provide support to international students.

“My department is responsible for recruiting students from South African schools, as well as those from the rest of our continent. It is not enough for us to get the international students registered, then forget about them. To be in another country can be very daunting, particularly for young students. We want them to feel at home,” said Mkhize.

Mkhize added that her department was going to connect the international students with the staff members from their countries. “This is going to make them even more comfortable. We are going to propose to our international colleagues to allow the international students from their respective countries to spend time with them in their places so that the students would have home comfort of some sort. The international colleagues have agreed to take these students under their wings, and ensure they provide enough support for them to prosper academically,” said Mkhize.

Mkhize also added that she and her department decided to embark on this project in the beginning of the academic year because the first six months of the year are crucial in the transition from basic education to higher education and its accompanying freedoms. It is also a time when students from other countries have to deal with culture shock. This is when support is mostly needed.

Members of the media are encourage to contact Bheki Hlophe (031 819 7195 or should they wish to attend the event or arrange interviews.