Hello, my name is Anne Schmidt, I’m 23 years old and for one year I’m living and working as a volunteer at the Sebastian Kolowa University College in Lushoto/Magamba.
Before I came to Tanzania I lived and studied in Germany, where I was born. In 2007 I moved to Wuppertal and started my studies at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal in theology, mathematics, German language and literature. In order to be a volunteer in Tanzania for one year I had to take a break in my studying time. My final aim is to become a teacher for special needs children.
In 2009 I decided to apply to the United Evangelical Mission (UEM) to become a volunteer somewhere either in Asia or Africa. In October 2009 fifteen young people, out of about ninety, were chosen as new volunteers and I was lucky to be among them. The UEM has an about twenty five years experience in choosing young volunteers and reserves the decision to which place to send them to. Out of many opportunities in two different continents I was chosen to live in Tanzania and work at Sebastian Kolowa University College (SEKUCo). After now about seven months at this University I can tell that it was a great decision. I’ve already been studying for a while in Germany, but now I have the opportunity to get to know what a Tanzanian University is like. This University is still young and the number of 1300 students and about 50 Staff-members can’t be compared to my university in Germany with about 13.800 students. Nevertheless the idea of getting high qualified and educated society members is the same. Where could I get a better knowledge about what working at a University is like and how this kind of institution is organized?
What are my tasks at the Sebastian Kolowa University College?
I’m adapting to the demands of various national and international lecturers, primarily in the field of Special Needs Education. I have to extend my work ethic and acquire language proficiency in Kiswahili, to improve the benefit to students with visual impairments and all other tasks assigned by the administration and lecturers at the University.
In particular I’m working in the following ways:
- Improving the knowledge of working with visually impaired people, by making computer-lessons to increase their independence in studying at the University. That means I’m teaching fourteen visually impaired students in single computer-lessons of about one hour each a week. One of our final aims is to extend and inspire their knowledge in using the Internet.
- Improving the knowledge of working at the University in the position of a lecturer’s assistant through marking examination scripts and assisting during lectures.
- Providing direct assistance to a blind professor from the USA by supporting communication between the lecturer and the University students. I have been helping the professor with technical support and marking assignments of sighted students as a reader.
· Improving my personal knowledge of the working requirements of a University, by assisting the University-Registrar with administrative work, such as registration of students, examination preparation, collection of certifications and management of documentation.
· Improving my personal knowledge through interaction with various international groups, who visit this private University, Sebastian Kolowa University, by guiding, explaining and showing them around the campus.
Direct tutorial assistance is always provided to all levels of impairment, with joy and resolve.
The challenges as a volunteer at SEKUCo:
As you have noticed, my work at the Sebastian Kolowa University College is quiet various and therefore I’m most of the time not following a specific timetable. Especially in the beginning of my volunteer work I had disoriented times, when I had to figure out where my work or assistance is needed; what people want me to do and what I’m allowed to do. But I’m thoroughly convinced that when to start a new work at a new place and perhaps even in another country, it’s always helpful to start as being an observer and to be patient to adapt oneself in the local system. I understand my position as a volunteer as somebody who offers the work and assistance which he or she is able to. And if you are open enough to get to now other people you can become part of something and you’ll get the support you need, here at SEKUCo and I’m convinced everywhere else, too.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 27 April 2011 15:05)