Intercultural Diversity Reference Group

The mission of the Intercultural Diversity reference group is to advance a commitment to cultivating and respecting intercultural diversity by serving as a resource and liaison for students, staff, and faculty on reciprocal processes of education, outreach advocacy and research.

This reference group is in close collaboration with global engagement and international offices of the respective universities.  Through our work, we strive to provide its students, faculty, and staff with opportunities to connect and collaborate across borders, sectors, and cultures.This work includes the development of global portals and exploring partnerships with other like-minded institutions around the world, continuing to provide our students with opportunities to study abroad through our Global Pathways and Exchange programs, and working with researchers to ensure that diversity is viewed from both a local and global perspectives and explored within the framework of applied research.

For more details contact: 

Prof Retha Bloem

The Global Footprint: Exchange Programme to South Africa (for Undergraduate, Postgraduate Students and Researchers)

Every year the global footprint initiative facilitates a wonderful period of exchange between the global north and global south.  During this period, students, researchers and lecturers from European countries and South Africa work within the safety of well-designed and carefully negotiated international partnerships with various organizations. Most of the time, universities and non-government organizations are on a volunteer basis in South Africa. The partnership between NWU and Global North countries is one of reciprocal understanding and wonderful collaboration.  For you to take part in this programme your institution should have a signed Memorandum of understanding or service level agreement with the NWU. 

Most of the volunteer work that takes place in South African communities is the recipients of this volunteer work.  This is a welcome and great relief to overburden organizations that do not have the capacity and are welcoming the fresh breeze the international students contribute towards interventions, research and participation in communities.

South Africa is a country with huge economic, political as well as psychosocial challenges. Most of the time so intertwined that it is difficult to distinguish between the different components.  Most of the time one will contribute to the complexity of the other.    

As an exchange student, you will get to:

  • Work in an applicable context alongside registered professionals and experience South African communities as well as intercultural competencies that might  support your future career
  • You will experience South African realities and be exposed to specific challenges from a global south country such as an African perspective on poverty, non-communicable diseases and social issues such as poor housing, insufficient schooling, teenage pregnancies, abandonment and drug and alcohol abuse
  • You will experience and understand child protection and the need for legislation (international) in combatting child trafficking and exploitation.  
  • Develop competencies towards decision-making, independent living, leadership, crisis management and personal safety.  You will understand the challenges of culture, language and burdens of history.  You will experience the influences culture has on people and understand the reciprocal relationship of the helping professions.  

Your responsibilities:

You will rotate between various organizations (to be negotiated with your supervisors).  (COVID permitted) You will assist the professional teams at these organisations in their professional duties as professionals and carers.  Your activities may also include professional support from your scope of practice.  A planning workshop/ session in the first week of your arrival in South Africa will conclude the final programme and framework.

You should be prepared to do routine office/ administration duties as part of your exchange. You will report to the head of the professional team at the respective institution, or a dedicated social worker as discussed during the orientation week after arrival.  You will also have an academic supervisor/mentor at the NWU and will set supervision sessions as per agreement with your home institution.

Other Responsibilities

Research – You will be introduced to a research project with a project manager to help you complete your bachelor’s proof.  This research will form part of the global footprint research focus.

Team meetings – You will be involved in a variety of meetings with professionals and other members of a multidisciplinary team. These meetings will be very educational in terms of understanding the South African context and your input is extremely valuable to all involved.

General duties – You will also assist when needed in the running of the specific institution, comparing the difference between the three different care facilities and introduce activities identified during your internship.

Volunteer support – As a full-time intern at the facility, you will be responsible for offering support and guidance when needed

For more details contact

Dr Issie Jacobs
Dr Lizane Wilson