Long Service Award for Carol Ojwang
Ms Carol Ojwang, the manager of the African Partnership and Study Programmes, recently received a Long Service Award at UCT. The award acknowledged her 15 years of excellent service to UCT, especially her service to the International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO). She found the award quite remarkable, iterating that is it good and affirming to be acknowledged for your good work in front of your peers and colleagues.
Ms Carol Ojwang joined IAPO fifteen years ago as programme coordinator for the USHEPIA Programme. She had vacated her position as an International Office Assistant at the University of KwaZulu Natal to make her way to a new and exciting environment in Cape Town. Her recollection of her first day was quite vague but she did remember being warmly welcomed, a welcome which urged a sense of belonging and purpose. She knew going forward that it would entail a lot of hard and challenging work, a challenge which she embraced whole heartedly.
IAPO is a dynamic environment; it requires a special type of personality to excel in such an environment. “I would not say that there has been one great challenge in my time here, but rather there has been a number of equally challenging moments”. Early in her career at IAPO she was expected to co-ordinate workshops and present papers at conferences. However, one of the more challenging aspects of her role has been serving as an intermediary between students and the Department of Home Affairs. She notes that immigration policies are often implemented with minimal input and feedback from universities, and therefore immigration processes are not as smooth as they could be.
All journeys are characterised by highlights - key moments which define and add meaning to it. For Carol the most notable highlight was when she was awarded the IEASA Golden Key Award for Excellence in Internationalisation, (2nd Prize) for Most Outstanding International Student Support Service Individual at IEASA’s 9th Annual Conference. She attributes being recognised for the award to her work in IAPO.
She feels that IAPO exposed her to a very unique world. She stated that her experience at IAPO was “life changing”. There are many things one can only learn in this environment. An example of this, was how one develops an understanding of Internationalisation. The international office provided a unique context in which one practically and theoretically develops an understandings of internationalisation. This, encapsulates everything from the administration and experiences of student/staff exchanges, inter-institutional partnerships and also promoting the UCT brand internationally.
Article by: Charlton Esterhuizen