3.04.2009

The University of the Gambia

My school does not have a set campus. Every building and class room is rented. Some only the UTG use most are shared by the YWCA, the YMCA and the Management Development..something with an I (known as MDI but I am having a brain fart as to what it stands for). If you look on the map on the post below, most of my classes are on the road that the U of the Bakau Kunku touches. It is about a two mile walk from the house which I will make one to three times daily (round trip). Not something you want to be doing in between 11-2 in the afternoon but not at all bad once you get used to it. From the university is less than a half mile to the main drag so we run a lot of errands in between or after classes.

When we left the U.S. we left so early because we were told by the university that registration for classes was the following Thursday. What weren't told was that their convocation (our graduation) was supposed to the Saturday after registration and that every University employee, faculty and staff, had been working on this for over a month. So come the Thursday we were supposed to register we were told no one had completed the time table (which is a joke***) and that it would probably be on the following Monday.
***I need to explain the time table I think for you to understand as to why once classes start it still takes a few weeks for them to Start. The timetable (I have a hard copy for people to admire when I return to the US) has every class that is going to be taught put into slots under what time they will be taught. For example slot A might have a physics class, chem, development all in different classrooms but all will be taught Monday at 6-7 and Thursday at 3.30-5. Makes sense right? ---Except that if you want two classes from one slot, rather than in the states where you choose one and do the other class at a later semester, you on the first day of classes go to one class see if the class time can be changed then leave run to the other class and do the same. There are some flaws in this plan as now classes are being changed, sometimes with out student consent, most always with out the registrar consent and the class, if the time and day does change, loses that room so they will probably steal another room. What really makes having waited for the time table is that some classes won't even start for another week or two after classes officially resume (even then a fair number of them will be missing some Gambian students for a month because even though they registered for classes they can't attend class until a 60 Dalasi (about 2.35 dollars) fee is paid).

Long story short I am attending five classes of which three have had a time table change. I am taking African Political Economy (in the original room and starting time but now we have class instead of twice a week for 1.5 hrs a time just 1 hr), Good Governance Theory and Practice (same room and time), Intro to the Science of Law (same room and time), Drama and Society (changed from twice a week for 1.5hrs a day to a once a week 3 hour class taught outside under a tree as we were screamed out of our room by a shovenist pig of a certain science department head who wouldn't have done it if our professor was a Gambian man) and Crime in Developing Nations (went from the normal two day 1.5 hr to a once a week one hour class and is taught in a computer lab because we can't get a room anywhere else).

The professors here are interesting because often teaching is not the end goal of working at the University (they are appointed by the government so good teachers will be taken to other government branches and some professors couldn't give a damn less if you learned as long as they showed face and can go back to their meetings--ways to get ahead and better themselves). Some professors are on point with their work and will leave those meetings to come teach and some just eh...I dropped their classes. What is culturally difficult for me is I have all my professors cell phone numbers and if I have questions or comments about class I can call and text them and they do it to me vice-versa (my Crime in Developing Nations professor forgets when and where the class got changed to some times).

Good news is because Friday is a holy day here most everything is a half day so my last class ends before 12 and we (the household) hits the beach.

6 comments:

wendy said...

What a great place for study abroad experience. I lived and worked in Cameroon with the Peace Corps for two years and have a yearning to go back to Africa. I will follow your posts!
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Cait said...

Thanks! For a number of reasons I believe Gambia is just an amazing part of west africa so if you are going anywhere this should be it. A few of my friends here are peace corp and I really respect what former and current peace corp do where ever they go. I am sure if you went back to Cameroon your host family would be excited though. :)

Marcel said...

Hi!

just a simple question, do you have an email to reach University of The Gambia, this one :

unigambia@qanet.gm

is not working

thanks and take care

sophie said...

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studyabroadnow said...

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Dianne Stevens said...

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