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University
03 September 2019

Student Leaders Visit Shenzhen University

The Dean of Students, Dr Paul Maminza accompanied by three SRC members: President Castro Mashabane, Secretary General Irondina Maile and Treasurer Simon Mashile visited Shenzhen University to establish how the Asian institution runs its student affairs activities.

The UMP delegates spent most of the days locked in meetings and presentations between the Deans and the students of the two universities, with intentions to try and establish opportunities and working relationships between the two institutions.

Dr Maminza says he was in awe at how Shenzhen University set up its campus life. “The institution has huge sporting and cultural facilities, and all 38 000 students of the university stay on campus,” he says, adding that Shenzhen University learners mostly use common spaces for academic discussions and social engagement.

“It is important to note that even with such a high number of students in the residences, there is a zero cases of theft, fighting and gender based violence. The spirit of collegiality is highly promoted at the residences.”

SRC Treasurer Mashile was delighted to be part of the trip to Shenzhen University. He says the visit exposed him to a different world of living. He was also impressed by the high employment rate and that the average age in Shenzhen is 32 years. Even more, that the founder of WeChat, Allen Zhang (Zhang Xiaolong) has his two head quarter buildings facing the Shenzhen University.

 

“China is an amazing place. The people are friendly and welcoming. There is a lot that one can learn from the Chinese life, their way of doing things, systems and unity amongst them. Their mind set is positive and it helps them to achieve lots of things in their lives. It is really good to interact with different people of the world because they change your way of thinking and you can learn a few things from them.”

 

Shenzhen University is popular for putting together a wide range of cultural and social events to help international students engage in the local community. The University’s special annual events include: the International Cultural Festival, volunteer services in local hospitals and schools, and the “Reading Booth”, which offers those who enjoy reading out loud an opportunity to show their talents and share their life stories.

Dr Maminza can attest to this. “The residence life is full of activities for students. Most of these activities are by students and for students. There’s a high level of participation at these activities. The culture of learning and committing to the academic work is visible throughout the campus,” he says.

International students at the University have been active participants in school competitions and performances. They have used what they have learned in the University to win various awards and honours, adding a bright touch to their lives.

According to the UMP team, the visit was a success. “We also had the opportunity to meet with Ms Venetia Mgiba, a former UMP student who is now working in the same city, Shenzhen, China. Ms Mgiba was the SRC Secretary General for two terms in 2015 and 2016,” adds Dr Maminza.

“The SRC members also learnt a lot from the trip on both personal and leadership levels. They were also impressed by the opportunity to engage with Venetia.”

SRC President Castro Mashabane who was inspired by Venetia said: “She is the former secretary of the SRC and is now an English teacher in China, this is excellence at its best, and she has adapted to the place (China) so nicely.”

Mashile hopes such an initiative by UMP will continue and will develop other learners in the future. “I really wish all students could have the same opportunity and all this experience so that they can also be informed.”

In conclusion Dr Maminza says there is a lot that UMP can learn and adopt from the Shengzen University.