By Special Correspondent, CMU
Eight PhD students of the University of Dar es Salaam have expressed how productive and invigorating was their recently completed 4-month exchange programme at the University of Bradford (UoB), United Kingdom (UK).
Speaking when they reported back at the University of Dar es Salaam this January, 2023, from their academic trip abroad, the joyous students confirmed that their academic ambitions of completing their PhDs studies successfully have increased than before.
The eight students are from four UDSM academic units namely the College of Humanities (CoHU), College of Social Sciences (CoSS), College of Natural and Applied Sciences (CoNAS), School of Education (SoED), School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) and Centre for Climate Change Studies (CCCS).
“The opportunity came at the right time when most of us had finished data analysis and wanted a ‘silent space’ to access readings and write our dissertations. Indeed, the visit was timely and much needed”, said Amina Asiya Nchimbi, a PhD student at CoNAS, and an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Dodoma.
Ms. Nchimbi further said that their four-month stay at UoB has been a never expected opportunity that has been rewarding in a number of ways such as changing their approach to writing their PhD theses; getting more advanced access to the library; interacting with various scholars in their area of specialisation; and attending various courses on thesis write-up and paper manuscript formulation.
In the same vein, Didas Lopa, a PhD student from CoSS and an Assistant Lecturer at Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy, said that the trip was more useful and educational for both his academic career and life.
“Interacting with colleagues from countries like Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Uganda, Nigeria, and India and having an opportunity to discuss each other’s research topics shaped my thinking about the relationship between the global north and the global south regarding natural resources management and governance”, said Mr. Lopa.
Similarly, other students noted how the programme has helped them to amend as well as perfect some of their thesis chapter drafts and to write new ones, for those who had not yet started doing so.
“This programme has improved my research and writing capacity. The interaction I had with established academics such as Prof. Prathivad Anand, Prof. Bruce Hearn, Prof. Wedy Currie, Prof. Andrew Wilson and Prof. Rashmi Arora, among others, and attending various postgraduate research seminar series made me gain academic writing knowledge and skills”, said Prudence Rwehabura, pursuing a PhD at SJMC.
Meanwhile, the coordinator of the programme, Dr Elgidius Ichumbaki, who is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, at the UDSM College of Humanities, said the students' visit to UoB is part of the Erasmus+ scheme supported by the UK government.
“The visit is an outcome of my trip to UoB in December 2018 in which, in among the engagements I had with colleagues and the international office, we applied for the Erasmus+ grant to support staff and students’ mobility for key academic engagements; and the application was successful”, said Dr. Ichumbaki who is also an Associate Professor at the School of Archaeology, University College Dublin.
He said the programme intended to support ten students and two staff from UDSM. The visits were to take place in 2020 and 2021 but could not be possible because of travel restrictions due to Covid-19.
“I am happy that the trips have now happened and that the students benefitted accordingly. I am impressed by the students' performances while at Bradford, and I am confident that the second cohort envisioned to visit Bradford later this year will benefit accordingly”, added Dr. Ichumbaki.
The PhD students who participated in the 4-month exchange programme include Lila Sayi Mandu (CCCS), Phillip Chachu Maligisu (CoHU), Silvani Dismas (SoED), Joyce Kombe (CoHU), Miza Alex (CoHU), Asiya Nchimbi (CoNAS), Prudence Rwehabura (SJMC) and Didas Lopa (CoSS).