Exchange and collaborative programme at this university dates as far back as 2007.It was started by Walsh University, North Canton Ohio-USA; bringing a group of students to Kisubi campus. At Kisubi, it is a course done by undergraduate students mainly from the faculty of education as Comparative Cultures.
From Walsh University, this particular course draws her undergraduate students from the Divisions of Education as well as Behavioral Sciences. The American terminologies such as Division might be confusing some of our readers from the British system. The term Division could be the equivalent of what we refer to as faculty.
From both universities the course earns students a total of 3 credits at the end of the session. Its nature is rather unique in a way it is run compared to other semester programmes. In the first place it is run during a recess period of approximately two accelerated weeks, during the month of May. It comprises a tight time-tabled programme that allows classroom lectures always in the morning and afternoon visits, the practical approach. These visits enable students to visualize and realize the theories they study from a diversity of perspectives so as to empower them as well as empowering marginalized members of our society-Uganda.
The students of Walsh at their campus, in preparation to meeting Ugandan students, they undertake this course as Social and Cultural Diversity [DV], Service Learning [SL].They study the general understanding of culture and diversity that comes from their experiences of day-to-day life. That preparation asks them to develop a Sociological perspective on culture, social institutions, diversity and inequality. In a cross- cultural, immersion format, they learn the components of culture, cultural universals and the provision of goods and services provided by central social institutions. Additionally, as this course has to meet a service-learning requirement, they prepare too, for an opportunity for experiential learning while in Uganda; either of children, women or people with Disabilities.
Once the two groups of students are in Uganda, they are lead by a team of professors from the two Universities, to study various components of Ugandan life. The topics handled range from traditional culture, stories or literature, education, health and social services, history, religion and politics. As you may know that the Catholic has been a strong pillar in the provisions of social services in Uganda and globally; education and health have been key in transforming the lives of humanity. In this perspective, the Catholic Church addressed herself to the world through the document Gaudium et Spes [Joy and Hope] The students study and explore the implications of this document as it relates to community, church, and the dignity of the human person and how it challenges ethnocentric viewpoints.
Through Comparative Culture approaches and perspectives both groups present skits and case studies that compare African and Western cultures. They do this through surveying their kinship systems political organizations, socio-economic systems, religious beliefs and artistic achievements. The major concepts tackled in this regard are: Unity in diversity of cultures; appreciation and respect of each other’s; culture; broad knowledge of both African and Western cultures; understanding of what it means living in a multicultural global community; how to live intercultural; Case studies include: those selected Uganda cultures; selected other African cultures from; Spanish; French; German; British; American and Canadian cultures.
By Bro. John B. Kalama