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Cuba students’ orientation 
26 Aug 2015
  Stillfontein–A group of students from North West who have qualified to study medicine in Cuba were given a thorough orientation on 11 August 2015.
Dr. Kenneth Kaunda District hosted the orientation programmefor the 35 students. The programme is aimed at inducting first time medical students into how the South African health system operates so they can plough back into the system when they finish their studies. The students were taken to Botshabelo Community Health Centre and Klerksdorp/Tshepong Hospital to get a grasp of the realities of what really happens in public health facilities in sections like the maternity ward, TB room, immunisation clinic, vital data area, doctors’ room, reception as well as general office administration.
According to OumaKgori, Director of Human Resource Development, the orientation was also used as a platform to inform the students on what to expect when they get to Cuba as well as serve as a purpose for team building. 
“Some of them will be for the first time they leave their families to be on their own. At times they will be homesick so it’s important for them to bond so they can depend on one another when they are overseas. They also need to know what to bring along,”said Kgori.
She stressed that they need to be aware of the many challenges they are going to face in Cuba. “For example, the food they are going to eat is not the same as the food they eat in South Africa, the climate is not the same (it’s extremely hot there!), the culture is not the same and the language predominantly spoken there is Spanish”.
Kgori said their first year of study will be more on learning the Spanish language because their medical studies will be conducted in Spanish.
“They will study for six years and will complete their seventh year in South Africa at a medical university of their choice”.
Giving a motivational speech to the new comers, Ms. PhumzileMaleka, also doing her first year in Cuba, urged them not to loose sight of who they are as they are going to embark on a journey of the unknown to discover new and exciting worldly wonders.
She said they must understand why they are going to Cuba. “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. Strive not only to be a success but also be of value because life is about making an impact not making an income.”
Dr Isaac Wana, a qualified doctor from Cuba who is currently a Medical/Clinical Manager at Nic-Bodenstein Hospital in Maquassi Hills, warned the newcomers not to live a South African life in Cuba. “Respect the Cubans and their law, otherwise you will be deported. After you finish your studies to come and work here, you will be treated like a foreigner in your homeland. You must work hard just to prove a point. Our decisions are often undermined by our fellow colleagues just because we studied in Cuba. You must agree to be deployed in rural areas. The communities need you, serve them with pride.”