As countries across the globe have begun to roll out their vaccine programmes, we have seen the world opening up and returning to a sense of what we remember as being normal. But we have all accepted that our way of work and living has changed tremendously, and we're unlikely to return to the normal we knew.
The entire world has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet many innovative ideas and practices have also stemmed from this adversity. Technology is changing more rapidly than ever before in the history of mankind and has become an essential part of our world.
At Stellenbosch University (SU), we have done much to curb the impact of the pandemic and ensure the systemic sustainability of our institution. Over the past year, we have shared with you many of these innovations in this newsletter. These innovations have set us on the path towards augmented internationalisation as a means of strengthening our internationalisation efforts within a new global arena. They have also sustained us in our resolve to continue implementing SU's internationalisation strategy.
Augmented internationalisation has seen us develop programmes for students and staff at SU and its partner institutions to continue experiencing the benefits of mobility both physically and virtually. In October 2020 already, we presented our first online Global Week, when we encouraged students to take up hybrid mobility opportunities. Since then, we have seen an increase in students who choose to take up virtual mobility across the various programmes we present.
Our global partnership network and participation in international networks and consortia have also benefited much from our augmented internationalisation approach. In fact, SU has seen continued year-on-year growth in our partnerships since 2018, despite the restrictive conditions brought about by the pandemic since the start of 2020.
SU is determined to expand its internationalisation efforts, and moving towards augmented internationalisation has provided us with the opportunity to do so, enhancing and expanding our global footprint in the process. As we continue to navigate our new reality, we look forward to engaging with our international students and partners, whether in person or virtually.
- Prof Hester C. Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy, Global and Corporate Affairs