Meet our alumni


Read and hear what our students have to say about the LSE-UCT July School

The opportunity to study in Cape Town was amazing. In the future I might like to go back to Cape Town to study a Masters!
Nona Buckley-Irvine, London School of Economics, England

Joël Tshibangu 16.9"My fellow students were astonishingly sociable and genial. They all came from all around the world (Africa, Asia, Middle-East, Europe and North America). People from different cultures, different social and professional backgrounds – some were students, others working or on a world-trip. They came with their own stories, their own experiences. Either in the classroom or during our outings in the city, I have laughed a lot and have learned a lot alongside them. We have shared unforgettable moments." Joël Tshibangu, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Read more from Joël

What was the best part of your course, and how do you think you will use what you learned?

The structure of the course ‘Challenge for African Economic Development’ is what I consider to be the best part of the course: morning classes and two afternoon academic excursions in the Cape Town area which allowed us to see a different aspect of the city. The learning never stopped.

During the two weeks, we studied and gained deep theoretical knowledge of some of the challenges that Africa faces – youth unemployment, education, demography, governanc. We thought about practicable solutions available to tackle these issues and identified real economic opportunities.

Another good part was the possibility to engage in class with the lecturers and the students and discuss and exchange our own points of views. We developed a sense to see things differently and think outside the box. I will keep thinking this way and share with my relatives and anyone what I have learned.

What did you think about life in Cape Town?

The Mother City is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Cape Town citizens are friendly and welcoming. There are plenty of places to visit with astonishing views, many restaurants to go to and local foods to try. The life-night is vibrant too. Whether you are a nature-lover or a towns(wo)man, you will always find something new to do.

The living cost is not that expensive. I was staying at a friend’s place in the city centre not far from Long Street (one of the most popular avenue in Cape Town). Therefore, my main way of transport to UCT was via private taxi. You can account approximately R60 one way. It is necessary that before the voyage you organise your own budget, account for your spending (transport, food, leisure etc.), spend accordingly and somehow (try to) stick to that – I know, it is difficult. LOL

What did you think about your fellow students?

Astonishingly sociable and genial. They all came from all around the world (Africa, Asia, Middle-East, Europe and North America). People from different cultures, different social and professional backgrounds – some were students, others working or on a world-trip. They came with their own stories, their own experiences. Either in the classroom or during our outings in the city, I have laughed a lot and have learned a lot alongside them. We have shared unforgettable moments.

We have forged bounds. I have made lifelong friends. We are still all in touch with each other via Facebook and WhatsApp groups. If one day I happen to go to Beirut, Tokyo, Washington DC, Barcelona, Frankfurt or Paris, I know who call.

What was your overall highlight?

In general, everything was well-organised. Whether from London or in Cape Town, the LSE-UCT July School’s staff did a great job. There was almost no miscommunication. Everything went smoothly.

The academic staff were great. We were taught by renowned, recognised professionals who knew their subjects. My main lecturer was professor Mark Ellyne.

What are your top tips for potential students?

The LSE-UCT July School was two-weeks long. It really felt short. Between the learning and the exploration of the city, you will not notice how fast the time flies. Unless you stay in Cape Town for a longer period, it will not be possible to see and do everything. My advice to potential students is to have some ideas of activities you want to do, places that you really want to see.

Not everyone in the program took it for university credentials. Therefore, another difficulty was the trade-off that arose often when deciding between whether exploring the city with my classmates or staying home and prepare for the different assessments to achieve good marks. I did pretty well in class. I think the key is time-management. Know when to study and when to ‘play’.

Sumona Bose 16.9"The best part of my course was the content itself and the teaching crew who were remarkable! I will use a lot of what I learnt in this course when I go further in my life with any field because the course did not just restrict itself to International Relations, we learnt Economics, Bargaining, Developmental theories, culture and of course learning about Africa inside Africa is a different experience altogether." Sumona Bose, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Read more from Sumona

What was the best part of your course, and how do you think you will use what you learned? 

I took Africa and Global Transformation, which was very useful and highly informative given that I am studying towards an International Relations Degree. This course taught me many of the practical skills needed when entering into the world of International Relations, such as negotiating, group building, debating and of course research work in a short span of time. The best part of my course was the content itself and the teaching crew who were remarkable! I will use a lot of what I learnt in this course when I go further in my life with any field because the course did not just restrict itself to International Relations, we learnt Economics, Bargaining, Developmental theories, culture and of course learning about Africa inside Africa is a different experience altogether.

What did you think about your fellow students?

I loved everyone I met and I am in contact with them and will be in touch with them for as long as I can be. They were astounding people, and I loved meeting everyone from different parts of the world yet we connected on a human level. We all became such a close-knit group of friends in a small time. Definitely the people made me love my course even more.

What did you think about life in Cape Town?

Cape Town is truly one of the most beautiful cities, I have been living here for 3 years, and every time I wake up, I fall in love again. I also loved that my colleagues loved Cape Town and cherished its beauty. Life here always offers you something different everyday, and exploring different parts of the city for a traveller like me is always amazing! Be it Robben Island, Table Mountain or even walking in the city in the evening, Cape Town will take your breath away. Campus itself is an artistic playground, when our background is devil’s peak and on the other side is the city.

What was your overall highlight? 

The highlight was just hanging around with my new friends, I have never met such people that I will grow to love so much. Whether it was having our farewell dinner or the wine tasting, my highlight would definitely be with them as a whole!! We had so much fun!

What are your top tips for potential students?

I would recommend potential students to read their course reader and come prepared in class. They should not be afraid to be outspoken in debates and voice their opinions, debating is a great life skill in general and saying what you think will get you way ahead than you think. Also, if you can, take notes for your own reference later. Notes will help you summarise for the exam and the essay. This is an actually intense course, so with fun I would say make the most of it! 

Julian Slotman 16.9"I learned so much during my two weeks in Cape Town! Not only did I learn a lot about African economic development, through exciting classroom discussions and the inspiring field trips, but I also learned that it is possible to become close friends in only two weeks. I miss them already!" Julian Slotman, United Nations, Cameroon