South Africa Study Abroad

Wordpress IconRSS Feed IconFacebook IconTwitter Icon

Class of 2009

Lindsey Altvater English (Teacher Licensure) – Class of 2009 – Summerfield, NC 
After having dinner with fellow Elon students and renowned filmmaker Dante James, I became fascinated with the history and culture of South Africa; in discussing his documentary Slavery and the Making of America, James indicated that he was hoping to begin work on another film focusing on South Africa’s post-apartheid racial reconciliation movement.Throughout the course of my African American literature class last semester, I began to see more clearly just how little racial reconciliation our nation has undergone. As a future educator, I am so excited to have the opportunity to learn how to facilitate conversation that will allow students to bridge gaps which have yet to be recognized and to heal the deep division within our own nation. Also, as a NC Teaching Fellow, I have come to know the import of experiential and service learning; in South Africa, I am seeking ways to connect such pedagogy to literature as a way to make English more relevant to even the most reluctant of learners. For that reason, I am also thrilled to have the chance to improve literacy with the library project that we are undertaking!

Stephanie Badavas Human Services Studies- Class of 2009- Needham, MA
Growing up in my family, a shared value was the importance of traveling. My parents always expressed that the best way to learn is through experience. One of the main reasons I chose to attend Elon University was because of its tremendous study abroad program. I do not know much about South Africa, but that is why I elected to apply for this program. I want to learn more about South Africa, about its history, its people, its struggles, and rich culture. I want to be immersed in a place that is completely different to what I know and in turn learn about their culture through my experience. A significant part of my life revolves around service. Being a Human Services major, there are numerous opportunities through service learning to give back to the surrounding Burlington area. I had only known what service is like in local communities until I became a student at Elon. I had the opportunity to go to Guatemala over winter term my sophomore year. That experience changed my life and the way I perceive people. We participated in Habitat for Humanity and we helped teach children at a local school the English language. I know this journey to South Africa will have an incredible impact on my self-awareness and my progress as a woman in the helping profession. As a Human Services major, I am currently learning about cultural diversity and how to communicate with people from different backgrounds. It will be a great opportunity for me to step outside of my comfort zone and use those skills to better my experience in South Africa. I would also like to make connections between the helping profession in the United States and how it compares to the helping profession in South Africa. I am extremely interested in the Adopt-a-Student program. Education opens many doors and to help give a child the tools for an education is inspiring. For my internship, I hope to work in crisis intervention. This will demonstrate how crisis is looked at by South Africans and what skills they use to cope with crisis. I will be able to take some of these skills and use it in my post-graduate profession. This experience can also assist me if I ever work with a client from South Africa, I will be able to relate with them on a deeper level.

Julie Bennett  Human Services Studies - Class of 2010 - New Jersey
I have always been incredibly interested in the unique lifestyles and backgrounds of different individuals. I am a people person who loves to learn about those who are different from myself. I grew up participating in various mission trips with my church youth group in which I was given the fortunate opportunity to gain a better understanding of numerous unique cultures, as well as all that we have to offer to our brothers and sisters around the world. Therefore, it has been a longtime dream of mine to travel to a distant place like South Africa  to further my education on social issues such as racism, poverty, and other inequalities. The social divide that exists in this area is also particularly interesting to me. After graduating from Elon University, I hope to further demonstrate my love for children by working alongside them in facing deeper issues that affect their mental state such as loss, depression, and poverty. Since these issues are also present in South Africa, I look forward to learning how they are dealt with in a different society. I believe that this experience will further open my eyes to all of the opportunities that exist for individuals in my field of study to work towards bettering the lives of those in South Africa, and other similar areas across our world.

Amanda Brown Mathematics major – Class of 2010 – Columbus, OH
 I came to Elon for its beautiful campus, challenging academic programs and study abroad opportunities. After taking the Global Experience my freshman year with Dr. Heidi Frontani, I felt compelled to take action to make a difference in the global community. Motivated by my education in this course, I applied for and was accepted to the Periclean Scholars program on campus, an organization that seeks to develop global education in the Elon community and globally. Since becoming a member of the 2010 Periclean Scholars class, my interests in Africa continue to soar. Together with 33 other motivated students, we have raised quite a bit of money to build a health care center in rural Ghana. My experience in service learning and education about African issues led me to explore opportunities to travel to Africa through Elon. South Africa especially sounds like a beautiful country with great opportunities to learn about a new culture and myself. This past spring, I was chosen among 14 other exceptional Elon students to receive the Lumen Prize, which financially supports a rigorous, student-created course of study over junior and senior years at Elon. With the support of the university, I have chosen to study the impact of malaria on the world, specifically through mathematical modeling. In South Africa, I hope to extend my education on malaria by doing a short internship with the Malaria Research Programme, and bring home a wealth of knowledge to benefit my project. As my time in South Africa progresses, I hope to soak in as much of the South African culture as I can to help my understanding of communities there and better enable myself to make a difference for people living on the continent.

Kelsey Butt  Elementary and Middle Grades Math Education- Class of 2010- Madison, WI
I knew that I wanted to be a part of Elon’s winter term abroad program before I even applied. I have always loved to travel because you get to see firsthand how other cultures are similar and different to your own. Going to another country allows you to submerge yourself in the culture, to learn about their history, discuss their challenges and daily struggles and to understand the people's daily life. South Africa is a country rich with this history. The people are diverse not unlike the United States. The challenges they faced during apartheid still may feel like just yesterday to some of the people. This culture is unlike any other. In addition, the chance to have a three-day internship with a nonprofit in South Africa is unbelievable. I will be able to work with teachers, administrators, and students from another country to learn about their triumphs and struggles. As an future teacher, I believe it is so important to be enthusiastic in your teaching. Going to South Africa will allow me to bring experiences which I encounter back into the classroom. I can use the South African history which I learn to help students compare their lives to that of another culture because I can explain to them what it is like. Actually having experienced these things will allow me to bring passionate knowledge to my students. In addition, the internship opportunity will allow me to see a South African school. Maybe I will be able to improve my classroom by implementing some of their teaching techniques or help them by teaching them what I know. I strongly believe that we live in a global society which is becoming more connected every day. I think it is important to learn as much about other cultures as possible and help others connect as well. I hope to learn more about South Africa and help others, including my future students, connect to this rich culture.

Allison Carney Exercise/Sport Science - Class of 2009 - Medfield, MA
Studying for a term in South Africa is an opportunity I never thought I would have, especially at this point in my life. I feel incredibly honored to be able to travel there over our winter term, and I intend to get everything I can out of the experience. I come from an area that is not diverse in terms of ethnicity, religion, or socioeconomic status. Exploring a country of people with such varying characteristics is enticing to me. Although I am familiar with the basic components of South African history, I have much to learn about the events that have brought the people to where they are today. South African politics, literature, and traditions are all areas that interest me. In addition, I look forward to being immersed in a new society so that I can get a better idea of the everyday life of its citizens. I chose South Africa for my winter term study abroad experience because I will probably never get the chance to go there again in my life. Since it is not the most stable place, I am thankful to be able to visit the country with knowledgeable and informed teachers as well as a group of supportive students. Since I am an Exercise Science major, I look forward to the possibility of applying my knowledge of health and wellness to help people that may need it. I am also eager to discover the extent to which South Africans value nutrition and physical activity. I studied in Australia for a semester last year, and I find it interesting to compare the health education levels of people from all over the world. Traveling to South Africa will be an experience we will never forget, and I am looking forward to January!

Alexandra Fersner Chemistry - Class 2010 - Greensboro, NC
I am originally from Charleston, SC but I have lived in Greensboro for most of my life and I obviously didn’t go too far from home for college. I am currently a Junior here, majoring in Chemistry and minoring in Biology. I originally thought that I just wanted to take part in the South Africa study abroad program because it seemed like an amazing place  and that if I didn’t go through study abroad, that I would probably never get another chance. Initially, I figured that this course wouldn’t actually have any real value towards my major or for my future career plans. My view on this changed drastically over the summer. I took part in a 3-month internship at Syngenta, an agriculturally-based chemical company. It was during this time that I realized how much an understanding of different cultures and groups of people would be critically important towards being a part of an international corporation. I think that learning about and visiting South Africa will be a very valuable educational experience and will be able to help me later if I am in the position of working for an international corporation. What I am most excited about to learn in the course is the connection between art and politics. That is a connection that I really had to idea would ever exist and I am looking forward to exploring that and seeing how the two are connected and often interrelated. Overall, I am looking very forward to getting a chance to learn more in-depth information about the different aspects of South Africa’s culture and history both through the course in the fall and by being immersed in the country during winter term.

Sarah Galliher Biology major – Class of 2010 – Bristol, TN
I first gained an interest in Africa when a couple of women from my home church traveled a few years ago to Ethiopia where they visited and worked in schools. One aspect of these schools they observed in particular was the lack of books for the students. Having grown up with my mother reading to me constantly and always having books on the shelf in my bedroom, I could not imagine what it must be like for these children. For this reason I am very much looking forward to taking books to South Africa and sharing them with these children through the Global Links Library/Literacy Campaign. As I plan to be a teacher after Elon, I also look forward to being in a classroom setting of another country so far from home. I am interested in learning about the school systems of other cultures and believe it can be helpful in designing one’s own classroom setup. For my internship in South Africa, I hope to work in Kruger National Park, where I would have the opportunity to study the fynbos, a highly diverse ecosystem native to South Africa. This past spring I began research here at Elon studying the effects of beech bark disease on the natural reforestation of monodominant beech forests in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I collected data this August and greatly value this first-hand experience, as I am better able to understand exactly how this disease is devastating these forests. Being able to provide these first-hand examples to students is something I think is most important for an effective teacher. In addition to the service learning and internship aspects of this trip, I am eager to learn about the literary and historical components of the apartheid struggle and the effects on current South African society. As a Biology major, I am rarely studying topics such as this, and I cannot think of a better way to learn about something than to do so firsthand.

Abbe Golding Biology - Class of 2010 - Palm Beach, FL
As I recited Maya Angelou’s 2002 inauguration speech "On the Pulse of the Morning" in the fifth grade, my love for African American poetry and literature has only continued to mature. I have since developed a love for the culture and tradition that is infused in the stories and narratives of the African people and their history. Therefore, the opportunity to travel to South Africa and visit a country agriculturally as well as ritually abundant is a once in a lifetime prospect. The medical needs of a third world country remain vast and with the interest of pursuing a career in such a field this trip will provide me with insight that is invaluable to a physician on multiple levels. As I embark on this journey I look forward to enriching my understanding of the lasting ties that appear to bind the African people. I find it fascinating that a people spread across the world have the ability to remain united through the written word that has traversed centuries. I hope to broaden my fundamental perception of the differences towards medical care as it relates to traditional practices versus modern medicine. I wish to obtain a more clear understanding of how heath care melds an appreciation for customs while simultaneously taking advantage of advancing medical technology. I wish to pursue a career in clinical genetics and this course will provide resources to be utilized in various areas of my desired field of work. As the number of multicultural and inter racial marriages increases, the potential for genetic mutations in any offspring rises as well. It is with these increasing odds that the values, customs, and overall culture of a family can be valuable during such a critical time. Having the opportunity to experience first hand life as a South African enhances my ability to one day provide medical care to non American individuals most effectively. Having the opportunity to intern in the genetics field, I have learned the importance of early intervention as well as general health education for all family members. I look forward to the prospect of applying what I have learned and expanding my knowledge. I am excited to possibly explore their pediatric growth and development program, specifically focusing on illnesses that are unique to the South African people.

Sara Gould Elementary Education - Class of 2009 - Simsbury, CT
I aman Honors Fellow and am involved in the Isabella Cannon Leadership Program. I am currently in the process of applying for Teach for America, and I hope to teach in a high-poverty, high-minority school system after graduation. As an education major, I have developed a passion for education for social justice, and the importance of multicultural education. This program to South Africa, and the opportunity to learn about South African culture and the country's struggle with apartheid, fits with my personal and professional ideals and goals. I have always been fascinated by the Civil Rights movement in America, and the lasting effects of its most enigmatic leaders. I am interested to learn about the similarities and differences between the Civil Rights movement and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. I also strongly believe in the importance of multicultural education, and it would be impossible for me to teach in a multicultural way without first having experienced and learned to appreciate various cultures. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to study, learn, and grow while abroad in South Africa.

John Tyler Graham  Class of 2009

Timothy Graham Leisure Sports Management - Class of 2009 - Westminster, MD
 I play Club Baseball--love it. I have a couple of friends who have gone on previous programs and said that it was a life-changing experience. I don't see myself having many opportunities to have an experience like this in the near-future so I decided I'd go. Also, I've never been outside the U.S., so that influenced my decision to study abroad in general. Being an LSM major, we'll have to deal with the public a good bit. Having a global understanding of cultural differences is important in the field, especially as the ethnic makeup of the country becomes more and more diverse.

Katherine Hinkle Elementary Education - Class of 2009 - Mclean, Va
Elon's study abroad program was one of the main reasons I chose to come to Elon. I came to college with the intention of taking full advantage of the renowned program. As a senior, I feel that I have reached that goal in my four years. The winter term of my sophomore year I traveled to New Zealand with Elon. It was a wonderful experience and taught me a great deal about myself, and ways to overcome challenges that I am faced with. The fall semester of my junior year I studied abroad in London. My two abroad experiences were completely different but equally as wonderful. London was an unforgettable experience that helped me grow as a person, and as an educator. Teaching in a culture different from my own taught me a great deal about diversity in the classrooms. I was able to take my own culture and implement it into my lessons, and I was able to take their culture back to the schools here. This experience taught me how important it is to be culturally diverse as an educator. Traveling to South Africa has always been a dream of mine. It is definitely a way to step out of my comfort zone and immerse myself in a culture that is nothing like my own. I have always had a passion for working with under privileged children and I am so excited that this dream has become a reality. I think working with children in South Africa will only help me become a better teacher in the future. I am hoping this experience will open my eyes to a new society and help me gain skills to better relate to students who may be different than me in my own classroom. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with these students and make a difference in their lives. Giving back to the community is a goal that I have for my few weeks in South Africa. I hope we can work together to make a difference in at least one life.

Robert Hoppey  Corporate Communications and Journalism major – Class of 2009 – Setauket, NY
For the past two years, close friends of mine enrolled in this course. Each time they returned, I received the same key piece of advice: “GO!!” It did not take much to convince me that this course would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. With Africa on the brain, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to hear Hollywood legend Mia Farrow give a powerful lecture on the chaos in Darfur. It was an experience that has really stuck with me. While it is obvious that Sudan and the locations we will visit in South Africa are far away geographically, it was not so long ago that South Africa itself was immersed in violence. South African apartheid and the challenges associated with AIDS are the two issues that I am most interested in educating myself about with this course. Despite the hardships that South Africa has faced, I look forward to embracing a country that is also known for its incredible beauty and vibrant culture. I thrive on meeting interesting new people and learning their stories, which I suspect is part of the reason I plan on entering the communications field. The past two summers, I have taken on public relations internships at an agency and a major international corporation. I have contemplated trying something new and possibly working in the nonprofit sector in the future, as I think these jobs tend to be the most personally fulfilling. The multicultural experience this course will provide, as well as the brief internship opportunity, will hopefully highlight some of the global issues that are most important to me, regardless if this plays a role in a future career or not. Finally, the service component of this course is something that really excites me. I hope to be able to work with the children’s homes or on a health service project in whatever capacity is needed. From reading the descriptions of the organizations we will be involved with, it seems that there is plenty of work to be done. This is another component that made this course stand apart from the rest in my mind. Overall, I cannot wait to see what kind of adventures are in store for us this coming January!

Carmen Isaac Public Administration Major- Class 2010 - College Park, MD
“The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” When I graduated from high school, I decided to adopt the above quote as my mantra for how I was going to live the next four years. I started with Elon’s Service Learning Community and from there went on to become an active member and leader in the Kernodle Center for Service learning. My participation in service has led me to different places all over the world, from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi for Hurricane Relief projects to San Pedro Sula, Honduras to work with at-risk youth. At this point in my life, I know for a fact that I want to spend my life’s work being the voice for those who believe they have none. When I read about the winter term course to South Africa, I jumped at the opportunity to go and learn about those who, for the last 18 years, have been striving to do just that. I decided to apply for the South Africa course because I felt it would only better prepare me for the life of service I was destined to lead. In this course, I am excited to visit different organizations that are working to improve the lives of the Blacks living in South Africa. The struggle they are facing is not that different from the struggle faced by Blacks in the United States, therefore I look forward to learning how the South Africans view their situation and compare it to what goes on in my own society. One way I hope to contribute to the course’s service learning projects is by raising money to purchase more of the books they need for “The Global Links Library/Literacy Campaign”. As a child, books always brought me so much joy. No matter where I was or what I was doing, if I had a book I was able to transport myself to another place and pretend, even if it was just for a moment, that I was in a new world and that I could do anything. That is a gift I believe every child should have, and I plan to make sure the children we visit in South Africa are given that chance. As for future plans, I am not exactly sure what my profession will be, but I do know that I will be doing some type of work that will allow me to mobilize others and affect change in my society. For that reason, I feel this course to South Africa will only further encourage me in my endeavors because it will allow me to witness the lives of those who are doing just that. When I come back to campus in February, I know I will be a better student, a better servant, and a better citizen.

Taryn Kadar History major/Political Science and Leadership minors - Class of 2009 - Long Island, NY
I am extremely excited to travel to South Africa. I have friends who have traveled throughout Africa, and they all had life-changing experiences. I am planning to really make the most out of this program, to really understand the culture and the current issues of South Africa. I also am looking forward to studying the relationship between African-American literature and culture and South Africa. I hope this class will help shape my views on current issues in the United States and with issues throughout the world. Being a history major, I have taken classes dealing with the Civil Rights Movement, modern day Africa, and colonialism. I hope to take knowledge from these classes and from my study abroad experience, to truly get a hold on what issues are effecting our generation. I am extremely interested in how colonialism changed the course of Africa and I feel that studying Apartheid will help increase my knowledge in this area. I eventually want to become a lawyer, focusing on International Trade or Business. I hope this trip will help broaden my horizons and help to give me an idea of issues facing the world today. I am looking forward to contributing to the course’s current service projects. I think the projects we will be doing in South Africa are extremely important, and I think these are projects that I will become quite passionate about. It takes $40 to send a child to a private elementary school; projects like this do not take a lot of work, but can change a child’s entire life. I feel that every child should have the right to a good education so I am excited to help raise money and contribute to “The Adopt-a-Student Program.” I also think that having all aspects of education is important, including books and supplies. With this being said, I am also looking forward to helping with “The Global Links Library/Literacy Campaign (Donate a Book).” Overall, I am enthusiastic because I know the opportunities and experiences are going to be life-changing. I know there may be parts that may be shocking or hard to deal with, but I am hoping that these will only make the experience that much more memorable.

Ansley LaBarre Journalism/International Studies - Class of 2009
I go to the zoo at least once a year. So there was no contest about where to spend my winter term abroad, I had to go to South Africa with its day of safari. As a huge zoo and National Geographic fan, I cannot wait to see wild giraffes in their habitat. But this is most certainly not my only reasoning for wanting to go to South Africa, a country whose rich history can teach us multitudes about our own species. I am excited to observe the society of current South Africa and compare it to our own. Race is still a major issue in America, whether we admit it or not, as seen especially during the hype of Barack Obama’s campaign. I wonder if the issue of racism can ever be eradicated, and I think there is no better place to study this prospect than in the country of South Africa. As a double major in international studies and journalism, I hope to someday work as an international correspondent for an American publication. The best way to get experience for this field is to travel abroad. South Africa will be an eye-opening experience to a culture that is very distinguished from our own. And while this international work is my goal, I admire journalists like Anderson Cooper who have been able to make a difference in these communities while informing the rest of the globe about their situation. The best way to enact change is through education, and the Adopt-a-student program for South African children can ensure an improved situation through an educated generation. I would love to help propel this program into further use. I cannot wait to land in South Africa to improve my cultural awareness, give back to their community, and see an elephant or two.

Eric Liebendorfer Business- LSM - Class of 2010 - Lewisburg, WV
I have always been told that studying abroad is one of the most meaningful experiences one can have in their college career. That being said, picking a course and country in which to study was an important decision. Having travelled to Europe, Asia, and parts of the Pacific Rim, Africa is one part of the world that is unlike any other I have witnessed. There is much to look forward to as South Africa is rich in tradition, history, and culture. Unfortunately, I know little about the country spare their troubles in social injustices and struggles. While racial discrimination is alive in America’s past and present, there is little comparison to the racism and prejudice that the citizens of South Africa went through under Apartheid. The Global Experience course I took as a freshman sparked my interest in the social issues of South Africa and I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge and appreciation for not only the anti-apartheid struggles but the culture as a whole. There is no doubt in my mind that this abroad program will be rewarding, meaningful, and one I will never forget. Having many friends with the opportunity to study on this trip, I have heard countless stories about their experiences, all of which have been extremely positive and inspiring. I was thrilled to be accepted to The Call of South Africa and cannot wait until January.

James Wesley Lynch Political Science major - Class of 2010
I have always wanted to travel to the continent of Africa. My father has been several times, and hearing the differences there and seeing his photos compelled me further. Once I became a freshman at Elon University, I took the Geography and was assigned South Africa to write my country report on, which was the equivalent of a term paper. After extensive research on many aspects of the nation, much typing, and virtual memorization of the nation’s CIA World Factbook Page, I naturally became interested further in the continent, but especially the unique nation state of South Africa. Only weeks after taking that course, I enrolled in The Global Experience with Bob Anderson. Professor Anderson taught two Global courses that semester, one for Leadership Fellows and one for any student. I soon found out that the non-fellows class was just as challenging as the former. As a part of the curriculum, we had to read eight novels and write papers on each. However, as I began to read these books, I began to gain insight into the world outside of the “Elon bubble.” One book that really grabbed my attention was, Power Lines, by Jason Carter, President Jimmy Carter’s grandson. I was shocked to learn about the power clashes and inequality that is still rampant throughout the country. It was impossible to believe that people living in the city were living an affluent, first world lifestyle while others as close as just outside or in certain parts of cities, but also in certain areas of the country were still living like they had under the rule of apartheid. Carter stated that when he was given his assignment to go to South Africa with the Peace Corps for two years, he was greatly disappointed. “It was not the Africa I wanted,” he remarked, and even made mention of the country as “Africa Lite.” Carter wanted to experience and help with the impoverished, desperate regions of Africa that he had seen on his previous trip to Liberia. To his knowledge at the time, South Africa was no such place, and wasn’t in dire need of his assistance or services. However, it didn’t take long after his arrival and my picking up of his book to conclude that this assessment couldn’t have been more naïve. Soon after, we studied, “Guns, Germs, and Steel,” by Jared Diamond, which explained how some civilizations (namely in the Fertile Crescent) developed dramatically faster, and therefore were able to conquer others, such as European exploration and exploitation of Africa beginning with the Dutch settlement in the 1600s and the British occupation in the early 1900s of present day South Africa. It was then I realized that this nation is completely, 100% unique for so many different reasons, and I wanted more than anything to be able to study abroad there and experience it for myself. After talking to a few friends who had taken The Call of South Africa and with my advisor, (which also happens to be Professor Anderson because I learned so much from his course) I decided that I wanted to learn more about the country and what better way to do that than by travelling and taking a winter term course there! Finally, this course interests me because I am interested in the government and political history that is so rich here. I am interested in working abroad after graduation, such as diplomatic work in foreign embassies. The course’s mini-internship is also very exciting for me because it is offering experience that is unlike that I have ever achieved before. I hope that through Service Learning (a concept I am more than a little familiar with after becoming a student at Elon) we will all be able to not only gain new experiences and take that knowledge back with us, as Carter did and published about in Power Lines, but also give to the people we will serve, who will take something home with them as well.

Mary Hart MacLeod Psychology & Exercise Sport Science - Class of 2010 - Alexandria, VA
Having never been out of the country, finding a school that had a very strong study abroad program was important to me. I came to Elon with the intention of studying abroad, but I had no idea where. I ended up choosing the South Africa program becauseit seemed like a place that would be best experienced in an academic setting. I feel that going will give me a much greater understanding of the culture as a whole. Furthermore, I am very excited to delve into the social injustice issues that I have only briefly heard about. I think that being emerged in the country will lead to a much better understanding of such topics. I also think that it will be quite interesting to tour the country within the context of comparing African American and South African literature because it will provide a framework for my experiences to build upon. I hope to become a pediatric occupational therapist so I hope that the internship I get will involve working with children. If this is the case, observing the way of life for children in South Africa will allow me to look at the similarities and differences in the development of children in other cultures.

Katie Meyer Political Science major/African/African-American Studiess, Nonviolent Studies, Leadership, Communication—Class of 2010—Carmel, IN
I am a Political Science major and plan on working mostly with diplomacy. However, my ideas of what I want to do for my future career have expanded beyond ambassadorship after going on a two-week human rights course in Lithuania. I definitely know that I want to work in Africa, but I am unsure of what that career is at this point. When I was in high school, my sister got me involved with Invisible Children, which is a national non-profit organization that focuses on ending the war in Northern Uganda. Once I came to Elon, I discovered that there was no such organization at Elon. Therefore, I decided to start a chapter of Invisible Children here at Elon my freshman year. Since freshman year, the organization has grown and developed in ways I would have never thought possible. This role as President and founder along with my studies in African Studies and Nonviolent Studies both have contributed to my passion and motivation to work in Africa. I am also a Lumen Scholar, which allows me the opportunity to do research on my proposed project. My project is to uncover the research surrounding children’s human rights in Africa. While I will focus mostly on children in Africa and their human rights, I also am doing lots of research and readings into the background of different African countries and also into children’s human rights everywhere. I discovered a great deal of human rights violations for children living in Eastern Europe while in Lithuania this past summer. This course can only prepare me for my future plans to work in Africa, whether I work in South Africa or another African country. This course and country experience will give me an excellent background for my research and future work in Africa. I am especially interested in my internship possibilities while there as I plan to work with the human rights center and women’s center while there. I hope to interview many South Africans and gain a better perspective on how children and people are treated in South Africa. I hope to contribute much to this class through my proposed video production and be able to provide lots of promotional material for future students who are possibly interested in doing the winter term in future years. Katie is serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin.

Daniel Rickershauser Journalism major/Philosophy minor – Class of 2010 – Middleton, MA
My life is music, and most contemporary music which exists today owes its soul to Africa. Were I to pick the top reason Africa as a continent and culture has peaked my interest, it would be its limitless influence on all different types of music. By the middle of last year, I was stuck between the two choices of studying abroad in London or South Africa. I decided that, while London has many draws, I may never again have such a wonderful opportunity to go to South Africa. I could see myself regretting not traveling to Africa for the rest of my life, because since I first learned about Africa in high school, my interest has always been there. I am looking to find my voice as a journalist in South Africa. I can see this trip having an astounding impact on the way I perceive the world, the constant struggle for human rights, and issues of poverty and inequality. I hope that, while there, I am able to contribute greatly to the many service opportunities this trip offers. Yet, I also hope that this trip will instill in me a life-long passion to pursue a career in providing service through my writing and journalistic works.

Anthony Saladino Class of 2010



Catherine Serex Class of 2011



Gregory Speir Corporate Communications major - Class of 2009
Ni hao pengyou! That's Chinese for "hello friends". Hopefully I will know how to say this phrase in some sort of South African tongue by the end of January, but for now that's all I've got. The course is going to be a blast and I am so anxious to go, but then again I am a senior and once January comes around, I will only have one semester left to spend here at Elon. So, I am going through a bit of denial but it is impossible to convince myself not to look forward to this study abroad experience. I am most excited about seeing the contrast of cultures within the borders of South Africa. After studying in China for six months last year, I discovered that there are so many sub-cultures. I guess this is somewhat similar to the United States though in regard to our (for lack of a better word) "melting pot" society. Ignorance had gotten the best of me before I stepped out of my own country and found out that all cultures are extremely diverse. It will be interesting to see how the apartheid has affected the different cultures that call South Africa their home. Studying in South Africa will impact me as a Corporate Communications major because I will have a broader understanding of foreign cultures. As a communicator, it is crucial that I know how to broadcast a message and have a diverse audience understand it. This study abroad experience will also shine light onto how the communications industry works in South Africa. Ultimately this will all be important in regard to my future because I plan to work for a global communications agency. My contribution to South Africa will be seen not only through the service that I will take part in, but also the way that I represent my own culture. Hopefully I will be able to make friends in South Africa and exchange cultural differences and similarities.

Christie Staton Exercise Sports Science major - Class of 2009
When I was deciding on a winter-term study abroad program, I wanted to choose somewhere that I would probably never have the chance to visit again. I also wanted to travel to a country that would in a way change my perspective on life. So when I was browsing through the programs offered, The Call of South Africa was the program that stuck out the most. It caught my attention because of South Africa’s long and unique cultural history and racial struggle. The programs and opportunities for working with children, like Adopt-A-Student and the Global Links Library and Literacy Campaign, were also major deciding factors for me choosing South Africa. As an exercise sport science major, my goal is to continue on to physical therapy, specifically pediatric physical therapy. This past summer I had the chance to work with disabled children in occupational and physical therapy settings. It gave me insight to what some children go through on a daily basis, an experience that I will never forget. But I believe that my time spent in South Africa will open my eyes to the struggle of children under different or some of the same conditions. As for my internship, I am hoping to work with disabled or underprivileged children. To get a deeper insight to what some children go through daily. This will all in all change my perspective and help my education in the long run. I am extremely excited for all of the aspects that make South Africa unique. I love traveling and this program was an opportunity that I could not pass up. I am looking forward to gaining as much knowledge and experience throughout the course and I cannot wait to meet you all!!

Monica Taylor Education major - Class of 2009
I am really looking forward to traveling to South Africa because I have very close family friends who are from South Africa who have told me unbelievable adventure stories of living there. I've always had a desire to travel there but never thought I'd have the opportunity to actually go. I have also heard nothing but wonderful things about the program from Elon students who have gone in the past. I have heard that it is a life-changing experience and is something I should not miss out on if I have the chance. I feel so lucky to have been accepted into the program.  Another reason I want to travel to South Africa is because I am an education major. After interning in many schools in Burlington and Chapel Hill I have worked with children of all types and backgrounds. As a teacher, it is important to me to be able to relate to students from all cultures. I recently worked in a school with primarily underprivileged African American children. To teach them most effectively, I had to learn about their customs,  to connect to their previous knowledge base. Regardless of where I end up teaching in the future, it is important to understand and work with children in a unique setting and those who have different values from my own. One other reason why I want to travel to South Africa is because I am a huge supporter of the Global Links Library/Literacy Campaign. Literacy is one of the most important subjects children must learn in order to succeed in the future. Reading and writing are so crucial to American school’s curriculum and it is my hope that it will be in South African schools as well. I have learned how to teach children how to read and write in the United States and I hope that I can transfer this knowledge to African children to also help them learn.

David Wheatley Leisure and Sports Management major - Class of 2010 - New York, NY
One of the reasons why I chose to attend Elon was for its study abroad programs. This spring I wanted to apply for either Ghana or South Africa. I ended up choosing RSA because I thought it had more to see than Ghana. Second, I know a lot of people who have connections to South Africa, such as a journalist who took pictures of Nelson Mandela. I also have a friend who is like a second mother to me who was born and raised in Durban. South Africa seems like such an interesting place to me, partially due to what they have told me about it. Some of the things I am looking forward to in the program is the safari, the internship, and seeing how radically different South Africa is from the USA.

Amber Woods History with Teacher Licensure - Class of 2011 - Knoxville, TN
Originally I looked at the Call of South Africa abroad because I wanted to travel somewhere that I would never get a chance to go by myself. However, after reading the description of the course and realizing that the focus was on the history of the struggle for civil rights and democracy, I knew that this course was going to be something that I was really interested in. I believe the historic aspect of this course will be very interesting. I am most excited to learn about the different methods that the South African people used in their struggle for equality. I think this will make a very interesting comparison to the civil rights movement in the United States and I will be able to incorporate this comparison into my lesson plan when I am a teacher. One of my career goals is to work in an underfunded school system to educate children that do not have the resources to recruit highly qualified teachers. I plan to do this in rural Appalachia or New Mexico and I believe that the internship in South Africa will be a great introduction into what this teaching situation could be like. I am very interested in the Global Links Library/Literacy Campaign. My family is very involved in the Sapphire Foundation and recently participated in a similar campaign with a school in Grenada. This project focused on starting a library at a local school and included the assistance of several librarians from the Seminole County library system. I would like to contribute to the Global Links Campaign by presenting the campaign to Sapphire Foundation and encouraging them to donate several books to the Primary School in Alexandria. I am really looking forward to this experience and all of the knowledge that I will gain.

Rachel Zeilinger Business Marketing - Class of 2010 - Raleigh, NC
Having been born and raised in the United States, I have learned how much of a blessing it is to live in a country where extreme poverty, civil violence, and endemic disease are little more than headlines in the “World” section of the newspaper. However, I feel it is also a misfortune that so few Americans, including myself, are unable to look beyond our ‘bubble’ of freedom and understand the fear and distress that many others across the globe face on a daily basis. Though this may seem a bit exaggerated, I mention it to emphasize the point that there is a difference between learning of a topic, through reading or watching it on television, and actually experiencing that issue, culture, or event first-hand. With that being said, I chose to study abroad in South Africa because I feel it is a priceless opportunity to gain better understanding of the world around me. Further, studying in South Africa will allow me to immerse myself into a society and culture that I would not know otherwise. It will force me to open my eyes and appreciate differences between societies as well as observe the many similarities that tie us all together.One of the main reasons why Elon far outweighed my other options for undergraduate education was because of its mission to prepare students to be “global citizens and informed leaders motivated by concern for the common good.” As a senior in high school, I felt as if I had been a prisoner to my own hometown for eighteen years. Raleigh had become like The World State from Brave New World and everyone I had grown up and gone to school with had been conditioned into the same person. Coming into Elon, it was my goal to branch out of the Raleigh mold and experience new people and ideas. With the help of a short mission trip to Jamaica prior to freshman year, my general studies classes thus far, and daily interactions with my peers; I have begun to do so. I believe this course will further assist in enhancing this goal by exposing me to a country whose people endure much more than anyone I have encountered. 


Select a highlighted day to see its events.


Prudence Layne, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English &
Coordinator of African/African-American Studies

2338 Campus Box, Elon, NC 27244
Phone: 336-278-5618 • Fax: 336-278-2014