South African nursing students and faculty members visit CSB and SJU

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January 24, 2013

Four South African students are visiting CSB and SJU through Jan. 27. They include (front row, from left) Angelique Van Eeden and Romanda Pesencie, and (back row, from left) Tamsin Verheij, CSB student Anastasiia Okuneva and Cwayita Jali.

There are a few coats, hats and pairs of gloves missing from Paula Ramaley's family closet.

Don't worry - they'll be returned down the road.

The winter clothing has been temporarily "loaned" to a six-person delegation from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, which is visiting CSB and SJU for a two-week period ending Sunday, Jan. 27.

"So far, they've been good sports about (the cold weather)," said Ramaley, global programs manager for the Center for Global Education at CSB and SJU. "I kind of raided my family's closets."

The delegation consists of NMMU nursing faculty members Nadine Rall and Karin Gerber, and third-year nursing students Angelique Van Eeden, Tamsin Verheij, Romanda Pesencie and Cwayita Jali.

"I'm a winter person," said Rall, a lecturer in the nursing department at NMMU. "There's something magical about the snow, and the whiteness of it. It's like a winter wonderland - unreal, almost. But otherwise, it's lovely. We're enjoying it. It's freezing, we're getting cold, but it's not bad."

CSB/SJU students have been going to NMMU since 1998, when the school was known as Port Elizabeth University. The nursing departments between CSB/SJU and NMMU had a separate semester-long program from 2001-07.

But that changed into the short-term program it is today "because of the demands of the nursing curriculum. It's hard for the students to be away for the entire semester," Ramaley said. Now, CSB/SJU nursing students will be making a visit to South Africa in mid-May.

This is the fifth year the South African students have visited CSB and SJU for a short-term program, although the program is being co-administered this year by the Nursing Department and the Center for Global Education.

While here, the South Africans attend nursing classes, conduct clinicals at area hospitals and experience cultural opportunities in the area - everything "from the MIA (Minneapolis Institute of Art) to the MOA (Mall of America)," Ramaley said.

The exchange helps students from both campuses gain international perspectives. In addition, they see different teaching methods.

"I think this is quite an exceptional experience," Rall said. "The students experience the diversity of not only the students' life, but the amazing things that's happening here. This is a wonderful opportunity for them to see what is happening internationally."

"I think there are two benefits: seeing what is different and getting to embrace things that they can probably bring back and implement in making it better, but also realizing it's not as bad or backwards as you think or sometimes believe when you're in a situation," said Gerber, an associate lecturer. "There are a lot of similarities."

The students plan to spend two weeks at St. Cloud State University before returning home.