Managing Director at Folio Consulting
Head of HRM, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO
Faculty of Management Sciences
Namibia University of Science and Technology
July 02 - July 13, 2018
Cooperation with university staff
Namibia: We are coming! In the run-up to our adventure as guest lecturers, we had access to many valuable documents from our colleagues who had already worked on an assignment before. These gave us orientation and were a good basis for our preparatory work. Sabina Balmer and Dominique Strauch were also available to support us at all times. At a joint Skype meeting we finally got to know our friendly colleagues in Windhoek, who also warmly welcomed us on our arrival.
But we were not prepared at all to encounter East Siberian temperatures there. And so in July we diversified our wardrobe in Windhoek with gloves, caps and warm socks, and warm jackets. Actually we had enough space in our luggage, because we had got rid completely and withouth any problems of the 5kg chocolate, which we had imported for our colleages and students. And fortunately Nico Smit organised heaters for our apartments so that we survived the winter in Windhoek without any damage. During the whole time in Namibia we were able to contact our colleagues at NUST and the secretariat, who patiently answered all our questions and supported us. Deeria even went shopping with us in shopping malls in her spare time.
Cooperation with students
On the first day of class at 8 o'clock we expected 27 students from the engineering sciences. At 09h00 nobody was present yet, at 10h00 five students arrived, at 11h00 there were already 9 and in the afternoon 10 young men and a young woman were sitting in the classroom. Oh God, we thought to ourselves: There doesn't seem to be any motivation! How's this going to go on?
We had to get used to the fact that our understanding of time is relative, that some students suddenly disappeared for a certain time and then suddenly reappeared without giving any explanations or reasons. But all over we experienced an open, humorous, fully motivated 11-people class for 5 days, who participated with commitment. Everyone was interested in asking questions, trying out new methods and getting involved in new forms of exercise. Some also volunteered to do additional work overnight. In the end, everyone successfully solved a business case and presented results that not only convinced us in terms of content, but also touched us emotionally. So we were richly rewarded for our assignment. And so it was with our 2nd class, which was made up of HR students.
Impact and win-win
Well, the fact that such an assignment is always a win-win situation is obvious and it can be read in all reports. It is therefore difficult to write something here that not everyone before us has already written. If we can believe the feedback from NUST and students, B360's Career Starter Week was a great and valuable enrichment for them, which will support them in every way on their career path. The new models, content and culturally different feedback on their presentations have also shown them new perspectives of getting things done.
But we were shown new aspects as well, new worldviews, new values and behaviours, which has broadened our horizon in professional but above all also in emotional view. This experience has made our lives richer, and finally the question arises: Who were the real students?
Uiiii, again, to say something about this topic without expressing what others have already written and without appearing precocious is a challenge.
So let us keep it short and simple: Whenever you have the chance to make such an experience, don't hesitate one second to say "yes". A volunteer assignment is indeed connected with much work, a high measure of flexibility readiness, no monetary remuneration and perhaps also some inconveniences. But evenly it is connected with a unique reward - despite cold temperatures (smile)!