Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) welcomed a diverse group of international students at its annual dinner held at MUST-Kihumuro Campus on December 15, 2023. The event, a tradition at the university, brought together students and staff from various countries for an evening of cultural exchange and celebration.
The evening commenced with warm welcoming remarks from Mrs. Sheila Ninye Twinamatsiko, the International Relations Officer (IRO), who highlighted the pivotal role played by the International Relations Office under the Vice Chancellor’s office. She emphasized their commitment to ensuring the well-being and success of international students, managing staff and student mobilities, and fostering collaborations with global partners to advance teaching, research, and community engagement.
The primary objective of the dinner was to provide an orientation session, allowing first-year students to connect with their peers, student and staff leaders, and gain insights into diverse cultures within the university community. MUST, being a pioneer in Uganda, opened its doors to East African students, treating them as national students and significantly reducing fees for non-East Africans to encourage greater international enrollment.
The current international student body at MUST stands at 148, with 129 full-time students representing 14 different countries. Undergraduates constitute 60% of the international students, while postgraduates, numbering 52, make up the remaining 40%. Notably, the number of international students increased from 116 last year to 129 this year.
A highlight of the evening was the recognition of student achievements, with awards and certificates presented to outstanding individuals. The program featured captivating entertainment from various East African countries, including Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, and Rwanda, showcasing the rich diversity of talent among the international students.
Mrs. Sheila Ninye Twinamatsiko announced the launch of the Kiswahili Club last year, aimed at promoting the Swahili language and culture which began with staff training. Student training is scheduled for 2024, and the university plans to introduce online short courses in Runyankole next year, further expanding its commitment to linguistic diversity.
The Vice Chancellor was represented by Deputy Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration who delivered a compelling speech, underscoring the university’s dedication to increasing student mobility. This year, efforts focused on facilitating MUST students’ travels to other countries for educational purposes, enhancing the institution’s global footprint.
The evening concluded with the cutting of a symbolic cake, a group photo capturing the unity of the diverse student body, a sumptuous dinner, lively dance performances, and a fond farewell as students departed with cherished memories. As MUST continues to champion internationalization and cultural exchange, the annual dinner stands as a testament to the university’s commitment to fostering a globally inclusive learning environment. Watch full video on EYIT TV