(Published - 9 October 2018)
Phadiel Hoosen, a UWC Masters in Clinical Psychology student, participated in an exchange programme with Zheijang Normal University (ZJNU) in China earlier this year.
“As a person who endured the ills of apartheid and who fought against discrimination, I was happy to be able to explore the streets of three different cities, namely Shanghai, Hangzhou and Jinhua without fearing danger or discrimination.
“The people of China that I encountered were friendly and hospitable. This included the medical staff at the psychiatric hospital where we did our clinical visit. The hospital was a public facility that was impressive, to say the least.
“The staff were professional in their approach and they were accommodating in sharing information, as to the operation of the facility. We were able to engage with some of the patients during these social sessions where fun games and activities such as singing and dancing were encouraged. These unstructured activities that the patients could participate in were optional, but it seemed as if they were all participating in what they enjoyed.
“This type of therapy, I believe, will be beneficial in our South African context as well. I believe that we need patients to be able to express themselves in various ways, and the experience of having fun and enjoyment in “trivial” activities could create a more sociable individual. In my training, the closest therapy to these activities is Play Therapy, that is directed at children. Of all the experiences that I had in China the one that is indelibly etched in my mind is when we left the hospital before returning to South Africa.
“The superintendent, with his medical staff, hosted us for the duration of our stay. They had welcomed us to the facility when we arrived on our first day. When we left he and his team met with us to ask us to provide feedback for them to improve on their facility which was already operating optimally.
“After treating us and thanking us for visiting the facility, the superintendent and his medical staff walked us to our bus that was parked in the road in front of the hospital.
“This in, my opinion, shows the humility of the Chinese people. A position that one holds does not overshadow the respect and appreciation one shows towards others.”
In July, Hoosen was part of a group of 22 staff and senior students who participated in the academic and cultural exchange programme between UWC’s Faculty of Community and Health Sciences and Zhejiang Normal University.
ZJNU was founded in 1956, and has become one of the five leading universities in Zhejiang Province, and one of the top 100 universities in China. The University has consistently embraced international exchange and collaboration and has established close cooperative relationships with over 190 universities and research institutions in more than 50 countries.
This programme is supported by the Confucius Institute Headquarters / National Hanban and it aims to increase the mutual understanding and friendship between young people in China and the rest of the world.
There were five UWC units involved, including the School of Natural Medicine, the Department of Psychology, the Department of Social Work, the Department of Physiotherapy and the Department of Sport, Recreation and Exercise Science.
The delegation left South Africa from 1 to 19 July 2018. Their compulsory formal academic sessions included lectures in the mornings followed by clinical training in the afternoons. The students were exposed to basic procedures in herbal preparations and different techniques of cupping, tui na, acupuncture, auricular acupuncture and moxibustion. They gained tremendous knowledge and skills from the exposure and were enthusiastic about completing their postgraduate studies in China.
The overall goal of the three week ZJNU-UWC exchange programme is to expose the students to higher education in China, so that in the future they are motivated to apply for the 6-month-to-3-year scholarship there, according to their own professionals needs. ZJNU offers a full scholarship for outstanding international students: http://iso.zjnu.edu.cn/StuApplication