Nkosinathi Phungula, fourth year Bachelor of Education student and DUT SRC Deputy President, is headed for Madrid’s prestigious international King Juan Carlos University for a six month learning stint.
King Juan Carlos University is a top Spanish public research university named after the country’s King Juan Carlos I. It was established in 1996 and is the second biggest public university in the Community of Madrid.
Phungula is leaving for Madrid today (Thursday, 4 February 2016) after being successfully chosen to be the first DUT student to be afforded the opportunity to study for a semester programme at the international university as a result of an existing exchange programme between DUT and King Juan Carlos University.
“A key criteria (for my nomination to go overseas) was an excellent academic record, which I have,” said Phungula, adding that he is excited to be embarking on the trip. “It’s my first time travelling abroad so I have mixed feelings about the trip. I’m excited and nervous at the same. I’m also a bit nervous because I’m going to start a new lifestyle with new people. I’ll have to adjust to a new environment and language but I believe that I will adapt easily. I’ve heard that people in Spain are friendly. I’m looking forward to learning Spanish, sightseeing and visiting places such as Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, Rio Madrid as well as experiencing their cultures, food and traditions like siesta. Most of all, I love soccer and am a follower of Real Madrid so I’m also keen to watch at least one or two international soccer matches during my stay in Madrid,” he said.
Dr Lavern Samuels, International Education and Partnerships Director at DUT, said DUT has hosted visiting professors from King Juan Carlos University as a result of the partnership. “We have negotiated a further partnership and part of it entailed allowing us to send one DUT student for a fully paid period of six months. It was on that basis that Phungula was nominated to take up that programme at King Juan Carlos University. This also forms part of a programme run by the DUT International Office and of the Erasmus Mundus Project. There are numerous opportunities at post-graduate level. While we have had people take up these opportunities, we still don’t get sufficient applicants even though we advertise widely. There will be more courses in the future and we are hoping more students take up such opportunities,” he said.
Also sharing her excitement about Phungula’s trip, Fathima Haffajee, Director of Student Services at DUT’s Midlands Centre, said the University’s Midlands family is extremely proud of him (Phungula). Haffajee described Phungula as an exemplary student and leader. “We wish him well in this endeavour as ambassador for DUT. We are confident that he will serve as a precursor for a deeper relationship between DUT and King Juan Carlos University,” she said.
– Waheeda Peters
Pictured: Nkosinathi Phungula, fourth year Bachelor of Education student and DUT SRC Deputy President, heads to Spain today (Thursday, 4 February 2016) for a six month learning period at the King Juan Carlos University.