International students
The majestic landscape and fields of chamomile that surround Rwanda's Volcanoes National park. Source: Shutterstock

Forecasted to become the “Singapore of Africa”, the Central African country of Rwanda has emerged as an up-and-coming education hub for international students.

Since being elected in 2000, and re-elected for three consecutive terms, Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s bold economic reform programme has boosted the country’s business reputation and international profile.

As EJ Insight, the online English language news website of the Hong Kong Economic Journal, explains, “Apart from making an all-out and concerted effort to turn Rwanda into another Singapore on technological levels, Kagame has also been working aggressively to follow Singapore’s footsteps in another aspect: becoming a ‘garden city’ in Africa by promoting green economy across the nation.

“For example, a monthly and nationwide ‘house-sweep’ has been mandated by the Rwandan government, not to mention a complete ban on use of plastic bags.”

And with ambitious solar energy plans and environmental entrepreneurial opportunities, it’s no surprise that the country is gaining international candidates for its university programmes.

international students

There are many natural landscapes for international students to explore in Rwanda. Source: Shutterstock

Why are international students drawn to Rwanda?

Ideal for study breaks, Rwanda is home to some of the world’s most beautiful national parks.

For example, the Volcanoes National Park.

“Situated in the far northwest of Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range – home of the endangered mountain gorilla and a rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath,” Visit Rwanda writes.

Bursting with culture and heritage, the country also boasts numerous museums, art galleries and annual festivals such as the Rwanda Film Festival, better known as ‘Hillywood’.

However, on the higher education front, there’s also growing interest in what Rwandan universities have to offer international students.

Chatting to Claude Gakwandi, Chief Executive Officer of the Study in Rwanda programme, The New Times discovered that the expanding Rwandan economy could be key as to why international students are setting their sights on Rwanda, as it provides great global insight and working opportunities.

“Because of the training these students receive in cross-cultural affairs and global studies, they will be ideally suited to take on positions in Rwandan and foreign corporations with strong international connections. As foreign investment to and from China continues to grow, more and more well-informed international people will be needed to staff key positions in marketing, government relations, business strategy, among others.

“These [institutions] are true experiments at the cutting edge of higher education in Rwanda, and the fact that the Government has shown willingness to accept them, shows the kind of openness to learning from abroad that now exists in Rwanda’s higher education. This bodes well for the future of Rwanda’s higher education system,” Gakwandi explains.

In addition to the emerging economy, Rwandan universities offer a competitive price for their English-taught courses.

As revealed by Rahma Ahmed, a 29-year-old IT and entrepreneurship student at Carnegie Mellon University, “Higher education in Rwanda has long been a lot cheaper than it is in most regions that I have checked out. In fact, almost free, for international students and nationals alike.”

Offering promising study fees and extraordinary natural surroundings, Rwanda may be the perfect package for money-conscious international students.

“I was thrilled the moment I got an opportunity to come to Rwanda. Because the other international students shared interesting study experiences, the hospitality of the students was also good, and diversity of the nationalities in the institutions was a bonus among others,” adds Ahmed.

Proving to be an emerging international education hub with its growing list of reasons, Rwanda may be the next best study destination for aspiring student travellers.

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