Visiting students learn about mother nature in the Mother City
On 4 January 2019, IAPO’s Global Short-Term Academic Programme welcomed 11 students from Queens College at the City University of New York. The programme, Humans and Nature, was led by Dr Angela van Doorn who is a research assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science at American University. The programme promoted learning both inside and outside the classroom through practical means.
The students interacted with Cape Town’s environment by visiting natural parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Students heard in-depth lectures about the history, politics and contemporary culture of South Africa, which were given by UCT Associate Professor Rajendran Govender; the goal was to provide them with context to their learning environment. Visits to historical monuments in and around the city – such as a Robben Island, the Iziko Natural History Museum, the Slave Lodge, and the District Six Museum – all contributed to a broader picture of the Cape.
The landscape of the city formed part of the learning experience as students toured Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Gardens and Cape Point. The diverse programme allowed students to reflect on the interactions between humans and their environment. Meeting people in the city and at two townships – Khayelitsha and Langa – was a high point.
“The people really made the trip” said one of the students. Another student commented, “I learned a lot about myself and the people I met.”