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’.