Let’s get serious about these virtual study abroad programs. What kind of activities can students actually do? What platforms are used? How many hours of content are there? Let’s talk about it.
These programs, individually-designed for your group, will:
- Critically engage students with communities, industry professionals & service projects
- Use explorative & interactive activities
- Be facilitated by both faculty & trained in-country personnel
- Create a framework for meaningful trans-national & intercultural experiences.
- Encourage sustained discussion, collaboration & exchange
Though each program is unique, typical 10-day programs include 30-40 hours of online meetings plus 5-7 hours of independent work. Time commitments for hybrid programs & individual course modules will depend on content required.
Currently programs are available throughout South-Eastern Africa. Additional locations will be available soon.
Ask about your own area of focus or build on one of these:
- African culture & language studies
- Conservation, biology, ecology
- Fine or performing arts
- International business
- International development
- Women’s empowerment
- Interdisciplinary studies
Students particpate in a market experience. Program facilitators assist with negotiations & all food purchased is donated to a local charity.
A short presentation will give students a contextual introduction to the local people & cultures. Following, the group will engage in a cultural exchange; students will ask questions about their facilitators’ cultures & share their own.
Local Language Lessons
Ex: Intro to isiXhosa Language & Culture
This interactive online lesson is designed to introduce students to the basics of the isiXhosa language & highlight some of the culture & customs of the isiXhosa people. Students are also introduced to South African slang & learn greetings in some of the country’s other 11 official languages. The workshop is complemented by language recap sessions & tasks that help equip students to engage with local community members during the service-learning component of the program.
Ex: Cultural Gender Expectations & Gender Equality
Zimbabwe is a paternalistic society, particularly in rural contexts. Citizens live under immense cultural pressure to conform to gender roles & norms, particularly given the collectivistic outlook of a majority of Zimbabwean society. We will examine what these expected norms are, and the challenges faced when these norms are not adhered to.
Ex: Subsistence Agriculture
In Zimbabwe, the majority of the population live in rural areas & live a subsistence agricultural lifestyle. The staple crop is maize with an average yield of 1-1.5 tons per hectare, this is 1/10th of the US yield. Meet an organization that teaches sustainable agriculture techniques ideally suited to rural subsistence farmers, increasing yields to 5+ tons per hectare holds the prospect of transforming lives through a significant transformation of rural household income.
Ex: Do Film & Media Reflect or Inform Society?
How much of our cultural norms are influenced by what we see & hear in the media around us? How do stereotypical portraits of race & gender on the Hollywood screen reflect our beliefs, customs & practices on the continent of Africa? How do traditional African ideologies influence media in a post-Apartheid era? Students grapple with questions like these that encourage them to question how their own culture & identity is informed by & reflected in the media.
Conversations with Local Students
Students will flex their inter-cultural competency muscles by engaging & interacting with local students from diverse backgrounds. Through the sharing of ideas from multiple perspectives, students are encouraged to become more aware of & better relate to different cultures.
Ex: Individualism vs. Collectivism
Having explored each of the two perspectives, students will examine a relevant justice issue through the lens of individualism or collectivism.
Students will engage in: an overview of an organization, a site visit & a session to develop a needs assessment. From here, students collaborate with the project team & their peers to problem solve & identify practical tasks that will benefit the community where they need it most.
Time to Absorb & Reflect
- Debrief Sessions – Students are encouraged to share their feedback at the end of each day & the conclusion of the program.
- Reflection Sessions – At three points during the program, facilitators will encourage students to process their experiences, articulate their thoughts & feelings, as well as internalize any lessons or moments of growth.