Architecture Schools and Programs in Botswana

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Architecture Studies in Botswana

The University of BotswanaStudying architecture in Botswana can be the experience of a lifetime, a one-of-a-kind adventure that combines a top-notch educational journey with a true cultural awakening in one of Africa’s most exciting countries.  Officially known as the Republic of Botswana and formerly known as the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana achieved independence in the autumn of 1966 and has since held free and democratic elections.  A flat country, of which 2/3 of the total geographic area is covered by the Kalahari Desert, Botswana shares borders with the country of South Africa in the south and southeast, Namibia in the west and north and Zimbabwe in the northeast.  Its border with Zambia to the north, near the city of Kazungula, is poorly defined at best, but at most it is only a few hundred meters long.  The capital and largest city in Botswana is Gaborone.
Considered a medium-sized country of just over two million inhabitants, Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world.  Following independence from Britain in 1966, it was one of the poorest countries in Africa, but it has since transformed itself, becoming one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Architecture Education in Botswana

Architecture education in Botswana is carried out by several of the country’s higher education institutions, including one of its largest, the University of Botswana, where the program is offered by the faculty of Engineering and Technology.  The University of Botswana has a current enrollment of roughly 16,000 students distributed across several faculties.  The institution offers a number of programs leading to Certification, Diplomas, Bachelor, Master’s and Doctoral degrees.
Students participating in the University of Botswana’s architecture education program learn both the artistic and scientific aspects of the architectural discipline.  Through the use of a number of learning modalities, they gain a clear understanding of the arts and humanities, as well as a basic technical understanding of structures and construction.  Skills such as communication, both visual and verbal, are heavily stressed in the program, with the goal of preparing students to work in and compete professionally in the field following graduation.
At the heart of the program’s academic environment is the design studio, which is both a course and a place of learning.  There the faculty challenges program participants to synthesize all aspects of learning.  As a result of the rigorous design curriculum, students develop a process of design thinking that is simultaneously analytical and creative. This cross–functional thought process is applicable to the many challenges graduates will face in the future, no matter what career path they ultimately pursue.

Why Study Abroad in Botswana

When studying abroad in Botswana, a student’s education is in no way limited to the classroom, but extends to every aspect of the study abroad experience.  While the official language of the country is English, students will also be exposed to and have a chance to master Setswana, a language that is widely spoken among the Botswana people.  Setswana, or Tswana, is also the term used to describe the country’s rich culture—its music, art and cuisine.  Tswana music is mostly vocal and performed without drums; it also makes heavy use of string instruments.  The music is an important part of everyday life in Botswana and a great vehicle through which students to learn the folklore surrounding the country and its people.
The art in Botswana is not limited to museums and galleries, but is on display in every corner of this proud country.  In the northern part of the country, women in the villages of Etsha and Gumare are noted for their skill at crafting handmade baskets from Mokola Palm and local dyes.  The baskets are generally woven into three types:  large, lidded baskets used for storage; large, open baskets for carrying objects on the head or for winnowing threshed grain; and smaller plates for winnowing pounded grain.  The people of these towns are always willing to share a few of their craft secrets with guests—secrets about an art form that, over the years, has been steadily enhanced through the use of color and improved designs.
The paintings found around the cities and villages of Botswana are both stunning and enlightening, as they help to tell the unique story of the nation and its people.  The oldest paintings, from both Botswana and neighboring South Africa, depict hunting, animal and human figures, and were made by the Khoisan Bushmen over twenty thousand years ago within the Kalahari Desert.
Finally, there is the cuisine of Botswana, a unique fare that shares some of the characteristics of other South African cuisine.  Examples of Botswana food are Pap, Boerewors (a type of sausage), Samp, Vetkoek and Mopane worms.  A food unique to Botswana is Seswaa, a mixture of heavily salted mashed up meat.
Botswana is quite simply a pleasure of a country to visit.  Not only will students gain a unique academic perspective through their architectural education in the country, they will have the inimitable opportunity to live amongst and network with the Botswana people and be consistently exposed to the language, culture and cuisine that make this stunning desert country so special and unique.

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