Photo by Kresta King Cutcher
Alexis Wolff explores the most unique and exciting study abroad opportunities on the African continent.
A decade ago, simply deciding to study abroad in Africa assured that your experience would be unique. Today, with growing interest in the continent and more study abroad options than ever, those seeking an experience different from their classmates also need to pick the right program. Here are some to consider:
Equatorial Guinea – Arcadia University’s Bioko Island Program
What better place to learn about sustainable development and conservation than on a tropical island in the Gulf of Guinea? In addition to intensive academic coursework and extensive field study with experts at the National University of Equatorial Guinea, students give back to the host community through various service learning opportunities, including teaching ESL or working in a clinic.
Kenya – The School for Field Studies’ Wildlife Management Studies Program
This is no ordinary semester in Kenya. Students don’t live at universities in Nairobi but instead in thatched-roof bandas at three different bush camps in geographical regions at various stages of development. Learn about elephant ecology, interview local Maasai about conservation priorities and assist the Kenya Wildlife Service in a number of field research projects. Students also have the opportunity to complete direct research of their own.
In addition to classroom studies of development, language and society, all students complete an individual community service placement that examines Niger’s culture and ongoing development efforts.
Past students have worked at a non-profit dedicated to free and fair elections, volunteered at an orphanage and apprenticed with a Tuareg silversmith.
South Africa – CIEE’s Service Learning Program in Cape Town
Education takes place not only on the campus of the University of Cape Town but also in the townships in and around the city where students volunteer. Past community service placements have included a mobile clinic and a youth advocacy non-profit. Students complete a final project based on the service they have performed.
Tunisia – Popular Culture & Globalization in the Arab World
This new program based in Tunis allows students to study popular culture through the lens of diverse media in the Arab world.
Living with host families, students complete seven weeks of coursework before a four-week independent project.
Sample topics include Bluetooth and dating, Arab reality TV, homosexuality in Islam and malls and social change.
This is just a sampling of the many exciting opportunities for students to experience Africa. Talk to your university’s study abroad office about other programs, find a good travel insurance policy, and go for it! A semester abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Make yours count.
Becky Timbers is a photographer currently working on a cruise ship in Baja who participated in the Kenya Field Studies program a couple years ago.
Did you study abroad in Africa? Wondering if you should? Please leave a comment below!