Four students hailing from Pretoria – Hulisani Davhana, Katekani Mbowane, Kabelo Boleu and Zandile Nhlabathe – said they could not wait to visit foreign countries and learn more.
“Now in its 12th year, the academic exchange funded by the US Department of State sponsors technical and vocational students to spend 10 months studying at a community college in the United States to develop leadership capabilities, professional knowledge and other soft skills,” US embassy spokesperson Mamello Masote in Pretoria said.
Masote said the CCI programme was designed to build participants’ technical skills in fields such as agriculture, applied engineering, business management and administration, early childhood education, information technology, media, public safety, and tourism and hospitality management.
She said two would study management and administration, with Davhana attending Mesa Community College in Arizona, and Mbowane attending Valencia College in Florida.
“Kabelo Boleu and Zandile Nhlabathe will both study culinary arts and restaurant management.”
Boleu and Nhlabathe are both students from the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).
Boleu will study at the College of DuPage in Illinois, while Nhlabathe will go to Northern Virginia Community College.
Boleu said he was very excited to spend 10 months studying in America.
“It’s a great honour to be part of such an amazing programme. I hope I will not just make myself proud, but also represent where I grew up, in the rural area of Steelpoort, Limpopo,” he said.
Nhlabathe said she was equally thrilled about the opportunity.
“I can’t wait to experience life in the United States and learn about American culture, as well as other cultures from different countries. I am super excited and I can’t wait to leave!”
Masote said what was more exciting was that the US Embassy had partnered with Hilton Hotel & Resorts to provide formal internships to returning students.
“This partnership will allow the CCI participants to use the skills they receive in the United States, while gaining the necessary experience to complete their South African qualifications.”
She said since the programme began in South Africa in 2007, 251 South African students have attended American community colleges through CCI.
“This programme is part of the US Mission’s continuing investment in young South African leaders.”
Some of the CCI participants at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton are: TUT student Kabelo Boleu, Thato Modibane, TUT student Zandile Nhlabathe, Desmond Davhana and Katekani Mbowane.
The 19 CCI participants are going off to the United States this month.