Dear Speech and Language Therapy students,
let us tell you something about our stay abroad.
Already during the “Wil weg dag” in our first year, we set our goal to spend a semester abroad in South Africa. 5 months ago, the day was finally there: we started our big journey to Grabouw, South Africa.
In the context of the Minor “International Sustainable Development Cooperation” we got the possibility to come here and work at the Bizweni Centre for Disabled Children in Somerset West, close to Cape Town.
The Bizweni Centre for Disabled Children is a facility for 50 children with mental and physical disabilities, varying from high to low functioning and from 2 to 18 years old. The main language spoken at Bizweni is English, although for most of the children this isn’t their mother tongue.
The Centre is divided into four different classes and each of us was assigned to one specific class by our supervisor Chelsea Hach. We spent a good amount of our time in the classes, helping with structuring the classes and implementing activity schedules. The rest of the time we gave individual and group therapy. Above that, we conducted a research on alternative communication systems. This was very interesting for us, since alternative communication systems have never been a big part in our study before. We got to know three different systems, which we trained to use with the children as well as with the staff. Through this task we were faced with some challenges but in the end it was fulfilling for us to see how much the children benefit from the systems and how much they enjoy communicating effectively with others. We will never forget their smiles J
Over the time, we were able to gain a lot of experiences in working with disabled children, alternative communication systems and in a very different cultural context. We greatly value the chance we got to experience all this.
Next to all the work we still had time to enjoy the beautiful country of South Africa. The region we lived in is stunning, with the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. Obviously, we spent quiet a lot of weekends in Cape Town, exploring the city, getting to know the people and their culture. During our two weeks of holiday, we did a roadtrip to the Eastern Cape along the Garden Route. From feeding baby giraffes to encountering a huge elephant in front of our car in a national park, we saw it all!
We can only entrust you to grab the chance and experience all of this yourself. You definitely won’t forget this journey and will grow personally and professionally.
If you want to see a little bit of it for yourself take a look at this video.
For the quick ones among yourselves, on July 1st 2016 you will have a chance to hear more about our adventure during our final presentation for the Minor ISDC at the HAN, starting from 09:00 o’clock in the morning.
Katharina and Aische