Swedish lecturer, Bengt Gustaffson, speaks about his experiences as a volunteer at Ashesi

November 12, 2018
Since 2002, a global community of generous supporters has helped develop Ashesi’s world-class campus through giving; be it through monetary donations, technical advising or volunteering to teach at Ashesi. One such volunteer is Bengt Gustafsson who served as a guest lecturer in the engineering department over the long break. Coming from Mälardalen University in Sweden, his relationship with Ashesi begun through a colleague who invited him to our campus three years ago.

“I got to like Ashesi when I got here, so when I was asked to come and teach during the summer course, I accepted it,” he shared, and over the past three years, he’s been volunteering to teach summer school.

During his time at Ashesi, Bengt shares his knowledge in SolidWorks and Computer Aided Design, CAD, with engineering students; a software skill that enables one to project two- and three-dimensional animations of a design to simulate how it will function in the real world.

“Knowledge about CAD pops up everywhere, not only in mechanical engineering. There are 3d models buried in the background of almost anything.” Bengt shared. “The thing about the CAD environment and modeling things in 3D is that it frees your mind. Once you get over the first hurdle and realize how to build things, you see that you can do anything that is in your mind. I would say the students doing this course have had a lot of experience. Everything looks so nice and clean. Though it can become a little difficult when they start to build the physical product because it doesn’t always work the way they think it would. However, I would say, CAD allows students to redesign their models multiple times to get better angles and build better products.”

Bengt also expressed how his trips to Ashesi changed his perception of education in Africa as a whole and fueled his desire to establish an exchange program between Ashesi University and Malardalen University. After putting through an application, the partnership has now been forged between the two schools.

“For us living in our part of the world, Africa is solemn looked at as a place to go study, but to come here and see a beautiful place and a high-class university, I will encourage my students to come here and learn. I feel that Ashesi as a whole, both staff and students have got a lot to learn from us and a lot to teach us about the things they are doing here.”

On this trip, Bengt came with three students from Sweden and a colleague from the University of Dayton to assist with the class, jumpstarting the process of sharing an education in Africa and Ashesi with the world beyond our continent.

“My experience has been great. Students here are really welcoming, work hard and never complain. They come to us for help, which is great; to know that you can help others,” shared Barrett Sauter, a master’s student in Mechanical Engineering at Mälardalen University who assisted Bengt with pre-design and 3D modeling.

“It has been our goal to expand our partnerships and develop international and intercultural learning and engagement opportunities in and out of the classroom right here on campus to help students who are unable to go abroad due to one reason or the other,” said Millicent Adjei, who is the Director of the Office of Diversity and International Programs. “Such programs help us to gain critical feedback on course content and student experience so we understand where they may be struggling and how we can best improve on those areas.”

Share this story