The University of Abidjan received students from Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State, Nigeria, from Wednesday, June 6 to Tuesday, June 19, 2018. In his welcome address to the 25-student delegation, Mr Isiaq Oladeji Hammed congratulated them for their thoughtfulness in choosing Cote d’Ivoire for their French language immersion and excursion. He reiterated that they would soon realize why Abidjan, the capital of Cote d’Ivoire, is as well called “Petit Paris”. The UNIABIDJAN Language Academy Head later rounded up his speech by rolling out the immersion plans and programmes for the next two (2) weeks.
The programmes were essentially two-pronged: class activities (immersion) and sightseeing (excursion). Students were taken through crash courses in French grammar, orthography, vocabulary as well as French culture and civilization. Runners (Redeemer’s University-Nigeria students) also visited a lot of places within Abidjan as well as the historic city of Grand Bassam. These include the National Museum of Civilizations, Universite Nangui Abrogoua d’Abobo-Adjame, the Nigerian Embassy in Cote d’Ivoire, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) headquarters, Guaranty Trust Bank headquarters (GTB), the Cathedral in Plateau and the Adjame Market popularly known as Forum.
Bassam gave the opportunity to the students to visit one of the famous beaches in the country. At the Embassy, the students met with the Nigerian Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire. The students seized this opportunity to ask a lot of questions which were answered by His Excellency Ambassador Ibrahim Isah. As for the visit to the United Bank for Africa (UBA), the students had a meeting with the Head Managers of the bank and the session was didactic as well as informative. They used this platform to have some knowledge on the UBA banking system including their latest innovation and also get themselves acquainted with the Ivorian working environment.
Mrs Joyce Alade, a lecturer of French Language who also served as guide to the immersion students, posited that the two schools need to deepen this collaboration. She suggested working out an MoU on exchange programme where UNIABIDJAN students will be hosted on English immersion in Nigeria by Redeemer’s University while their own students also come to UNIABIDJAN for French immersion on a yearly basis.
During the visit to the “Universite Nangui Abrogoua d’Abobo-Adjame, the students visited the campus and different faculties within the University. To enable the students to practice all they have learnt, the program made provision for the students to go to the market where they were obliged to speak with native speakers of French in situational context. The visit to the museum enabled the students to learn a lot about the Ivorian culture and civilization.
In their testimonies at the certificates award ceremony marking the end of the programme, the UNIABIDJAN guests appreciated their host very profusely for making their stay fascinating and memorable. “I am obviously coming back. If you are thinking of a place for French immersion, don’t think twice. Come to the University of Abidjan. Come to Cote d’Ivoire. I’ve not gotten over this experience and I will never”- said John Babalola, a 400 level student of History and International Studies at Redeemer’s University.
The students generally acknowledged that this was their first time in Cote d’Ivoire and the excursion afforded them the opportunity to know more about the Ivorian people, their culture, tradition, weather, music and food; with the majority choosing the popular Attieke as their favourite. They found their hosts to be very accommodating, hospitable and tolerant. The students also marvelled at the 24-hour power and water supply that characterized their stay in Abidjan.
In his final words, the soft-spoken Mr Johnson Odeyemi who headed the Redeemer’s delegation remarked: “My experience here has been wonderful. We have been taking students on excursion to Togo, Ghana… But this one has been wonderful. In academics, our students were well taught. I’m impressed and I’m going to report back to my Vice Chancellor that every year our students should be coming to Cote d’Ivoire – to UNIABIDJAN… Socially, we enjoyed a lot. We were at the embassy, UBA Bank, (Bassam) beach… All the experience we had will linger on in the memories of our students. I’m very grateful to the authority of UNIABIDJAN for welcoming us warmly…”