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International students express joy at being in Cape’s universities after early Covid-19 issues

International Students at Stellenbosch University. Picture: Supplied

International Students at Stellenbosch University. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 18, 2022

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Cape Town - International students have expressed their joy at being part of the intake at Cape Town universities, three years since the Covid-19 outbreak in 2019.

Stellenbosch University (SU) said it had seen the largest intake of international students, hailing from France, Germany, Sweden, the US, Netherlands and Austria.

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SU senior director Robert Kotze recently welcomed more than 420 international students for the official start of their face-to-face on campus.

“International students are our connection to the world. As we remain open to learning from (them), we hope (they) too will remain open to learn from this experience," Kotze said.

Janna Keiser, a second-year anthropology student from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, expressed her joy, saying having lost what feels like a lifetime, she is excited to be at SU.

Keiser said with the pandemic, it felt like so much was taken away from them. "We became fearful of hoping and dreaming again, and forgot how exciting a study abroad experience can be."

Anastasia Rentzing, a peace research and international relations student from the University of Tübingen, Germany, said she couldn't wait for this year in South Africa to free herself from the feelings of restriction and isolation she had felt in her home country.

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said CPUT had 600 enrolled international students.

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"We previously had in the region of 1 500 to 2 000 students l once the registration period ended. It has not concluded at CPUT yet so this figure could still increase, and probably will," she said.

UWC spokesperson Nashira Davids said UWC's international intake has been steady for the last three years, based primarily on the fact that students were able to study online.

Davids said travel restrictions did not impact their studies. However, their study abroad programme was impacted by travel restrictions but that only made up a small percentage of their overall international cohort.

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UCT spokesperson Nombuso Shabalala said UCT does not do explicit international activity to attract students from abroad.

However, she said there have been school visits to Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana in the past, but those have been few and far between.

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