Refilwe represents SA in US Leadership Programme

Refilwe Shere is one of four South African students representing the country in the 2021 Study of the US Institute (SUSI) programme.

The annual programme is for student leaders between 18 and 25 years old to improve their understanding of the United States and develop their leadership skills.

Refilwe says that she learnt about the programme in 2019 when the 2018/19 SRC hosted a civic and legal engagement leadership programme for students.

“With the assistance of the Student Affairs Department, I applied, was shortlisted and then underwent a virtual interview with the US embassy. They later notified me that I had been successful in November.”

She says that due to the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, the embassy decided that SUSI for Student Leaders on Civic Engagement would take place in a hybrid format:

• A virtual component took place over five weeks, from 6 January 2022 to 11 February 2022. It consisted of lectures, collaborative discussions, small group and individual work, and informal cultural activities with Americans.

• The face-to-face leg of the programme will take place towards the end of 2022 in the United States.

“Through the sessions, I learnt about the US and other parts of Africa and their cultures. The programme also allowed me to identify the type of leader I am, work on a community project, hold discussions about social issues and work towards solutions, learn about cross-culture, and identify root causes and community solutions.”

She has “always aspired to be a vessel of change in my community. I believe I can stimulate an enriching mindset that can attract opportunities through education and skills development. I hope to inspire many never to limit themselves and always reach for the stars”. 

“My SUSI journey has filled me with joy and excitement about the future,” she ends.

Refilwe and her counterparts from South Africa are part of a bigger group that includes students from Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique and Botswana.


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