Today was the first week of school, but not really…. at the University of Botswana, students still register during the first week of class and sometimes the professors don’t hold lectures during this time. I was also told that there is a concept called “Africa time” which means that everything starts 20 to 30 minutes late and that it usually doesn’t apply to class, though my first week seems to have proven this statement wrong. Two of my professors did not show up on the first day of class and most of the others were about 10 minutes late. My longest class lasted about 30 minutes.
The class structure is completely different. In the course outline you are given (equivalent to a syllabus) there are no dates for tests or assignments and most of the time you are not even told what assignments you will have to do. This can be very frustrating because I have been living in a very different environment at Hope College where I know what is expected, how and when to do it. At the University of Botswana, you have to roll with the punches. I had difficultly finding out what I needed to take to my biology lab; I was sent to four different offices and received no answer. I was proud that I did not become that frustrated, but I have realized these obstacles have led me to start taking things a bit too lackadaisical. I need to remind myself that this is actual school and it matters for my future, and this is not just a vacation.
During the first week when I didn’t have any lectures I had some time to explore Gaborone. I visited the Botanical Gardens (we saw prairie dogs!) with some friends as well as visited some nice restaurants. On Saturday we climbed Kgale Hill which was astoundingly beautiful (also shown below).
It was a tough climb, and my whole group was constantly looking at the ground to make sure they did not fall, but the locals were just running right up the hill. When we got to the top, there was an exercise class! Batswana are amazing when I think of them climbing this hill and then do push-ups and sit-ups at the top!
I hope to have more adventures to share, and will talk more about the local people in my next post!