Work placement and thesis research stays in het South have a high added value
VLIR-UOS awarded travel grants to 500 students from Flemish universities and university colleges in 2011. They conducted thesis research or took up a work placement in the South. Who are they? Where did they go to? What is the added value of the stay?
Suriname and South Africa are the most popular destinations
Approximately three quarters of those scholarships were awarded to women. In terms of destination, a little over half of all students went to Africa, whereas one in three opted for Latin America. At 16%, Asia was the least common destination.
Suriname and South Africa have been the most popular travel grant destinations for many years and that did not change in 2011. Other fashionable destinations were Kenya, Ecuador, Uganda, Tanzania, India, Ethiopia, Ghana and Peru.
Strong source of added value for the training or career for 94% of the students
94% of the students feel that the trip to the South was a strong or very strong source of added value for their training or career. Just 6% feel that it added little value.
Some of the positive comments from the students:
- I have learned to adopt a problem-solving mindset in various situations.
- I have learned specific personal skills that are useful for a special needs educationalist, such as patience, tolerance and flexibility.
- Trying to find solutions to all problems myself was an instructive experience.
Another student was less positive. He feels that employers don't see any surplus value in a foreign placement. They prefer a work placement at a domestic employer.
Great added value for the personal development for 99% of the students
The students were virtually unanimous in their agreement that their stay in the South had added value for their personal development. It was a source of very great added value for 60% of the students. Just 1% felt that it added little value.
A few positive responses:
- I am more self-assured and I have learned to put a lot of things into perspective.
- I have gained a broader understanding of the problems that exist in the world.
- I have become a lot more independent.
- Taking initiatives, being independent, flexible, tenacious, patient, empathetic and so on are all traits I worked on in Peru.
Another student puts that added value into context:
- The two months in Paramaribo were brilliant but they did not drastically change my life.