After having the opportunity to pause and do some personal reflection, to think about what I have learnt from my time in Oslo, I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to have been on this Kyambogo University staff exchange programme. I feel honoured to have had the chance to be a part of an exchange through Fk Norway, where I worked at Oslo and Akershus University our amazing host with the Internationalisation team, under the faculty of Education and International studies. My role was to work with the team to prepare students in Oslo that were considering taking practise abroad for a semester.
Here are a few reflection notes from my journal these past weeks:
- Work With And Respect Others my work and the essence of the FK exchange was to learn how things are done differently in another place and see how best to let those experiences shape our work back home. This is what I love most about the program- that we’re challenged to make a difference in our home countries. I was excited to live and work in a new environment the first 3 months, but started to realise that change can be uncomfortable! Work dynamics in Oslo were completely different from what I was used to in Kampala. My takeaway from this was that you can’t learn everything in a short period, so make the most of it by having a plan and pre-set goals.
- Passionate About Your Work have an excitement for the work that you do and your shiny personality to go with it. I feel this goes a long way. You can’t be liked by everyone, but you should try genuinely to like people and have a likeable personality. Speaking to students about Uganda as a prospective destination required some pitching, so who better to speak about her love for everything beautiful about Uganda right? I learned that there is a whole bunch of planning that goes into preparing students to go and spend a few months abroad. I LOVE helping others, which I feel helped me find my passion in this field in International education and facilitating the learning process of students on exchange.
While in Norway I got to learn from an amazing team how to prepare 22 Norwegian students that were taking exchange in Uganda. I learned that there are several procedures in making the academic part of an exchange succeed. That having the right connections and networks with people with the same interests is very important. That despite some personal failures and challenges, if we find the lesson in every situation and let it shape us for the better we come out better people.
- Personal professional development happens over a lifetime. It’s easy to look at others and think about how great they are at their work, or admire them how much experience they have. This for me was a major shock in the beginning between Uganda and Norway. In the last months, however, I kept hearing my boss stress that Everything takes time. We are making great progress in Uganda and I learned to appreciate that.
My first information meeting with some Norwegian students to describe Uganda and our University was a lesson, which both helped me up my public speaking skills reflect on how better to engage with them. I have come to face and work on my weaknesses as well as been credited for my strengths in many ways. Seeing the progress, I’ve made makes this all worth it. Being allowed to grow in this position is truly a blessing. My next goal is to read more about this area as I am interested in taking my masters in this field.
- Immerse Yourself In A New Culture And Learn Something New. After going hiking, trying skiing in Lillehammer and spending a wonderful Christmas with my friends, I learned about some Norwegian culture. One thing I noticed about Norwegians, especially in the area we lived was that they are always on the move. Norwegians are hard workers who value their vacation time. And so I tried this by saving and going to Spain…solo! The weekend I got to spend in Barcelona was most epic! It was purely chance that I got to see as much as I did and I discovered a side of me I never knew about. My thirst to explore a new place and find cool architecture came to life. I am extremely fascinated by design which I never knew I appreciated until seeing buildings in Barcelona. I had originally planned the visit to go to a partner University, to learn about how they handle international students, but this was not possible. I did however come to get a feel of what a lot of the students that come to Uganda enjoy, when they try and explore more and get to know the people better. In Barcelona, people were so helpful in the trains and the city was buzzing with life. There was so much to see and appreciate about this place. This trip challenged me to think of ways to create more tours for our students…
- GO OUT AND VOLUNTEER and do good work. Taking these opportunities could lead to others if you do a great job or you could learn so much more. Either way it’s a win-win. There are several opportunities like FK Norway and I recommend you to look into it.
- Have a mentor this is very crucial and something I need to work on since I have some amazing leaders in my life I need to connect with. I feel that sharing some of the lessons with my mentor will help me find a proper place to land and guide my next steps.
Are you interested in studying or working abroad? Have you heard of FK Norway or any other interesting program? What was your experience? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
Have a great day,