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A Semester in Rwanda

Mo-Jo back

Just in case you were worried that I was fading away, don't! Took CiPro on Monday morning and feeling much better.

In fact, I headed out to KLab ( yesterday afternoon. After being shown around the place, I met with a group of young entrepreneurs. One, in particular, warmed my heart. I was feeling a bit despondent about the availability of hands-on projects for students to implement. At KLab, I met a student who decided to form a club to get more out of the curriculum. He's an EE doing an Adrino project (everyone who doesn't understand that, just read "a cool hardware independent project"). Like many US students, I get the feeling that there is a basic misunderstanding of how far being a warm body in a lecture can get you.  In the US I tend to blame this on the standardized testing: the point of education is to pass a test and that, in itself, somehow, will be enough reward. Until no one cares what scores you got. At all. Not remotely. In this way, these students seem very much like the typical incoming college freshman. 

Reminds me of a reaction I got from a cousin when I talked about an institution I taught at (not Simmons! not KIST!) where cheating was rampant. He said, "but if they don't know what they're doing, won't they just get fired from any job they get?" I always wondered if 16 years of schooling and $160K of expenses was worth it to get briefly employed. Perhaps things are different outside of engineering and CS. 

Okay, off soap box. On to saying that the experience at KLab was refreshing and energizing and I'll be going there once/ week. I even felt well enough to take the bus -- whose motto is "everyone gets a seat". The seats are very small and some fold down over the aisle ...

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Associate Professor Nanette Veilleux has been awarded a Fulbright Grant to teach computer engineering at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) in Rwanda. Follow along on her journey.


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This site is not an official Fulbright Program site. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of its author (Nanette Veilleux) and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.