South Africa Study Abroad

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Class of 2010

Leo and Laurie Lambert

Faculty Co-Leader Sandra Reid, Laurie Lambert,
Elon President Dr. Leo Lambert, Faculty Leader Dr. Prudence Layne


My name is Alexandra "Simpiwe" Amiri, and I’m a senior majoring in corporate communications and minoring in human services. Service learning is an opportunity that allows students to participate in community service projects, enriches their learning experiences, and encourages lifelong civic engagement. While I participated in a variety of service learning projects in high school, my human services minor truly opened the door for me to work on a variety of service learning projects. I traveled to Guatemala during January of 2008 to participate in a service-learning program, in which we collaborated with Habitat for Humanity to build two houses for two extremely grateful families. I am also an active member of Sigma Sigma Sigma through which I participate in a variety of philanthropy events to support the Robbie Page Memorial Foundation, which advocates for play therapy for hospitalized children. I am extremely excited for the opportunity to participate in another service learning experience in South Africa this upcoming January. I was amazed by the work of the students who participated in this program in previous years, and I hope to accomplish half of what they did.

I am Anna "Emivembre" Becker, and I am a sophomore Honors Fellow majoring in International Studies – Africa and English – Professional Writing and Rhetoric with minors in French and Nonviolence studies. My passions include live music, public service, and humanitarian work, especially as pertaining to Africa. I worked extensively this summer as part of the inaugural intern team for a new nonprofit organization, Calling All Crows, that works to mobilize musicians and their fans to end violence against women and promote public service. I have worked with such causes as Stoves for Sudan and the Sudanese Education fund, and have found this work to be inspiring, rewarding, and productive. Through my participation in this amazing program, carrying on the legacy of Elon in South Africa, I hope to extend the mission of ending violence against women to the South African arena. This is an international issue that I have become very closely involved with as it affects the United States and Sudan, and I would really like to extend my knowledge and work to include South Africa. Although my life in America is very different from that of a South African woman, when it boils down, we are both just women. Women who deserve to be safe in our daily lives, and live free of violence. This is an international issue about which I am very passionate. Being immersed in this new and different culture, I can’t wait to learn more about life in South Africa, draw comparisons to my own life, and hopefully be able to do some work for this cause either during my time there or as a result of the knowledge that I will undoubtedly acquire from this experience.

My name is Trevor "Jubalini" Carter, and I am a junior majoring in accounting and marketing. I am born and raised in Barrington, Rhode Island, a small town between Providence and Newport. As an active member of my church youth group, I have participated in a variety of community service activities from overnight trips to sister church in the Bronx, NY to week long trips to South Carolina to aid in rebuilding communities that have been struck by natural disasters. Although these were always rewarding and exciting experiences, my favorite part of community service is working with children. I have been involved in youth sports in my community since I was thirteen, volunteering to coach and ref both soccer and lacrosse. Working with the children and simultaneously sharing their enjoyment for the simple joys in life is always a rewarding experience. I believe that the service learning trip to South Africa will provide us with an opportunity to share our joy for children and bring happiness to their lives. I look forward to working with children from a variety of different cultures. I believe that this trip will be as rewarding for us as it will be for the young children who will come into our lives for the month.

My name is Susan "Amahle"Cogswell and I’m a senior art major with a concentration in digital art and a minor in business administration. I want to go to graduate school to become a lower/middle grades art teacher. To tell you a little bit about myself, I have been an active member and on the executive board of The Art Guild as the secretary/treasurer since 2008. The Art Guild is a student organization which hosts art exhibitions on campus and runs art workshops. Also, in the spring of 2007 I pledged my sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, which has been a source of many wonderful friends. I am so excited to travel to South Africa for my final winter term. I have been fortunate enough to travel to Europe and China in the past and I have to say, I am more excited about studying in South Africa that ever! I firmly believe that this course will be the ultimate South African experience and that if I were to try to make this journey on my own it would be lacking. One of the things I am most looking forward to is the internship we will be completing in Cape Town. I hope to work at the Christine Revell Children’s Home. This is an experience that would be unique to South Africa and a wonderful way to benefit the local community. Working at the children’s home will also help me gain valuable experience working with children, which is a skill that is crucial to my future career. I am also excited about being able to work with children of all ages, since I am open to teaching children ages 5-14. If working at the Christine Revell Children’s Home is not an option, because it seems to be a popular choice, I am not concerned, any experience working with South African Youth will be fulfilling

I am Anna "Kutlwano" Cornacchio and I am a Junior here at Elon University. I am a strong believer in doing what you love and in an academic sense, fueling your personal intellectual curiosities and passions to the fullest extent possible. It is because of this belief that I feel that my academic specializations have come about: I am double-majoring in International Studies and French and double-minoring in Non-Violence Studies and Political Science. I am very much interested in international community development and to what extent, humanitarian aid can contribute to local and national policy development in different actors-be it at the state level or within a particular international organization, for example. I am a Periclean Scholar and have performed community-service related to our focus-country which is Sri Lanka. The fostering of an international partnership between communities is often key to the implantation of effective foreign humanitarian aid. One of the reasons why I applied to Elon was the university’s commitment and the level of student involvement in community service. Although it is sometimes difficult to find and make the time to perform community service, I always find that it is a truly rewarding endeavor in two ways: first of course to the people or organizations in which you are aiding, but also to yourself-knowing your capacity for positively-affecting others is a wonderful revelation. Most of the community service that I have performed has always centered around children, whether tutoring, mentoring or coaching, I sincerely love working with kids; their perspective is so pure and honest, and their energy; refreshing. It has been since my freshman year that I have been interested and determined to participate in this Winter Term study-abroad program: The Call of South Africa. I am eagerly looking forward to our experience there, for the cultural and historical learning opportunity, but also the opportunity to get involved with community service!

My name is Lindsay "Neliah"  Depow, and I am a senior Business Administration major. There are many ways that I hope to contribute to Elon’s legacy in South Africa. First and foremost, I am unbelievably excited to meet and work with the children in South Africa. Children truly do determine the future of the world that we live in. Because of this, it is extremely important to develop a strong foundation in order for them to build on and change the world. During our first meeting, Professor Layne expressed to us that while in South Africa, we will fall in love with the kids and they will fall in love with us. I’m sure we’ve all seen the pictures taken by previous students where this love is apparent. I hope to make as large of an impact on those children’s lives as they will make on each one of ours. A second service objective that I would like to achieve is to hopefully form a working understanding of South Africa’s business world. In the business school, we are taught everything that we need to know about how to be successful in business. Since high school, I have dreamed of joining the Peace Corps after graduation. I hope that this program will provide me with the insight in South African business that I can use to help developing businesses in the country in later years. The last idea that I have for what I plan to do as my service component in South Africa has to do with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. My freshman year, I coordinated a reception for World AIDS Day in conjunction with Alamance Cares on Elon’s campus that raised over 800 dollars for the organization. This event was a service component of a research paper that I completed in my global class. During the writing of my group’s sixty page research paper on HIV/AIDS education, I learned more than I could have imagined about the disease and its implications to society. I think that education and prevention are the most important ways to slow down or even end this epidemic all over the world. Since Africa has particularly high rates of HIV/AIDS, I would love to learn about what organizations are doing in order to provide education about the disease and help in any way that I can.

My name is Michael "Sibusiso" Duff, and I am a senior at Elon studying Corporate Communications. Leaving my legacy is at Elon is very important, for it sets the stage for future leaders to excel. It leaves behind the knowledge and understanding that I have gained in my four years, and allows those who come after to build upon that understanding. I will not be at Elon forever, but my legacy can live on in future generations, who can expand upon what I left behind. Part of my legacy involves leaving an impact in every aspect of my Elon experience; including my trip to South Africa. The trip is a fun and exciting way to participate in culture and in service-learning. I look forward to my chance to learn from the culture, values, and norms of the South African people. But service-learning includes giving back to the South African community. By sharing ideas, values and customs, I can create an exchange of information that will create a legacy in South Africa. There are many ways that I could get involved in leaving my legacy, but I would most like to get involved in an area were I have passion and where my skills can come into use. Utilizing my skill set, I would like to increase awareness of the Adopt-a-Student program and the Global Links Library and Literacy Campaign in the states. By creating more publicity and market the programs of our program domestically, we can increase awareness and donations, and more importantly the impact that we can make in South Africa.

I am Stuart "Philani" Eliades, a senior from Richmond, VA. I am a double psychology/philosophy major, and when people hear about that combination that usually tell me to stop trying to figure out what people are thinking. However I have found these two majors to be very complimentary, allowing me to come at issues from two different ways of thinking. My interests are very diverse, and my history of service is a testament to that fact. During high school I worked with various organizations doing work ranging from teaching art classes for underprivileged kids in downtown Richmond to serving dinner for displaced families at my church. The summer after my freshman year of college I was an assistant youth minister for the youth group at my church, and I helped lead the kids in two service projects over the summer. The first was doing house repairs in Pittsburg for elderly people who still live in their homes. Although there was plenty of physical labor to be done, the nicest part for everyone was the interaction with the homeowner’s, who would give out cookies and tell us stories from their lives. The second project was doing some more intense renovation at a deaf school in northern Georgia. Once again the real value of the trip was not the work that we put in for them, but the stories and lessons that we learned from the students and faculty. I especially like working with children. My mother ran a day care at my house for five years so I have a lot of experience working with children of all ages. I think the potential to do good by playing with and being a positive influence on children surpasses what can be done with money alone, both for the children and for yourself.

Kelly "Nawiti" Giffear - I am extremely proud to know that I am a part of a legacy that has helped give children books, school supplies, and hopefully a positive outlook on the future. I only want to continue that legacy and the friendship that Elon has with those organizations in South Africa. I cannot wait to go to the school and play soccer with the kids and truly see what their daily life is. I went to an amazing public school in New Jersey and while it was not an expensive private school with the best technology, we had almost everything we could ask for. I know I will be moved by seeing the differences in schooling and I will want to help students, especially those who love every moment of school the way I do (with hopes of going to medical school I have to love school to go for an extra, well, forever). However, my goal is to intern with some sort of clinic or organization that deals with HIV/AIDS. After looking through the places that we can possibly internship, I found the Medical Research Council the most interesting. They have an ongoing program call the SAAVI (The South Africa AIDS Vaccine Initiative). It was started in 1999, meaning it has been up and running for ten years. I am curious to learn about their progress and where their future research is going. I would also like to learn about their prevention plans and if they do any proactive work in the community to stop the spread of AIDS. Elon’s campus has the SPARKS program as well as free condoms in the health center to promote safe sex and it would be interesting to compare the different programs. I hope to learn some new things from them, especially if it relates to the medical part of treating AIDS, and to give them some insight from what I have experience through our programs in the United States. I want to form a friendship that would hopefully turn into a research question or an internship with the organization. I do not want to visit the country for three and a half weeks and then leave it as just a memory. I want to make an impact in the town that we travel to, like Cape Town, and want to go back many times in the future to visit our new friends. One of my career goals is to do medical work, whether it is as a travelling doctor or research, in Africa. I am excited to be able to get a glimpse of what that might be like.

My name is Taylor "Sifiso" Lindsey and I am currently a junior at Elon University with a major in Finance with a minor in accounting and economics. Contributing to others has always been something I have been very fond of. I grew up in a small town in southwest Virginia with many cultural roots and beliefs. Growing up in this town has made me appreciate the contribution to others in need. I grew up with three younger sisters, which I show much love to. I would spend as much time as possible with them, especially when they were babies. When I was younger, I supplied aid to the nursery at my church. I later helped with the youth recreational soccer program where I grew a love for helping children excel in sports activities. It was worth the trip back to the field when I saw the blissful reactions of successful youth athletes. During my time participating in the Youth program at my church, we also spent many Sunday afternoons providing help to the elderly. We also worked with Habitat for Humanity on several projects. I was one of about 10 other of the Youth participants that ventured to Oklahoma for help with the Cherokee Nation. I am ecstatic for the breathtaking adventure my classmates and I are going to partake in. I look forward to sharing my love and affection to the children of South Africa. I feel that my classmates and I can and will leave a strong impact on the people and places we visit. Personally, I hope to impact children with sports as they have impacted me. The one thing I want to see while I am in South Africa is a group of children with smiling faces caused by the impact of our service-learning experience.

My name is Mario "Chandu" Martinez and I am a sophomore, biochemistry major at Elon University. I was raised in Montgomery County, Maryland and have always been deeply involved with nonprofit organizations. In the eighth grade, I was diagnosed with cancer and underwent 14 months of chemotherapy and radiation. If I had the choice to go back and live my life without cancer, I wouldn’t. Despite its hardships, cancer has reminded me and my family of how fragile life really is. Looking back at my experience, I can say now that the worst part of cancer was seeing all the other children in my same predicament. Today, I feel I have a purpose in life; I aspire to be a pediatric oncologist and to continue being a voice of support for every childhood cancer patient. Cancer is often associated with the western world but that is changing fast. The probability of being diagnosed with cancer is twice as high in a developed country versus a developing country. However, 50% of cancer patients will die in a developed country while 80% of cancer patients will die in a developing country. More than 800 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in South Africa; however it is believed that approximately half of the children with cancer in South Africa are never diagnosed, and thus receive no treatment. I wanted to study abroad in South Africa because I want to be a voice for the 800 kids in South Africa who are diagnosed with cancer each year. I plan to intern with a cancer organization in South Africa so I can be a better advocate for those in South Africa suffering from cancer. I want to meet the men and woman of South Africa and be immersed and learn from their culture, I want to be touched by the African people. I believe this experience in South Africa will stay with me for the rest of my life and will help me help others in the worldwide fight against cancer. This experience in South Africa will serve as the ongoing flame that keeps me motivated as an advocate for the people of Africa suffering from cancer every day.

My name is Billy "Themba" Mathews and I am a senior Business Administration major with a concentration in finance. When I visited Elon for the first time five years ago, the tour guide spoke about service learning and how Elon provides many opportunities for students to engage in service learning. Service learning gives students an opportunity to learn to be responsible global citizens. Through community service projects, study abroad programs, and service learning studies, students will not just give their own time. The idea is that students will receive just as much as they give. As a freshman, I jumped right into a service learning project in my first semester college writing class. After reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, our class decided that we wanted to make an impact. We were moved by the sheer poverty that the country of Haiti was experiencing, and wanted to do something to help. We organized a fundraiser for Partners in Health, which is an international health and social justice program. We ended up raising over $5,000 as a class. As an outgoing senior in the spring of 2010, I am excited for the opportunity to engage in another service learning experience in South Africa. I am very impressed with the past South Africa study abroad programs, and I would like to continue the impressive legacy that Elon Students have left behind. I would really like to work with the children of South Africa, and help in any way possible. I have worked as a counselor at a summer camp for many of my summer breaks and enjoy the way that kids find joy in the smallest things. I feel that I get more in return from working with kids than they get from me. An important part of service learning is to not only give, but to receive. I hope that this winter term, I will come back with a better understanding of South African culture and history. I cannot wait to see the country that we have learned so much about.

The service learning aspect of Elon’s curriculum is something that most appealed to me about this university in the first place. I am Hillary "Sarabi" Noble, and throughout my experience at Elon, I have taken advantage of service-learning opportunities both through Elon and separate from it. I have always felt that giving back to a community gives one a stronger place within that community, and volunteer work is essential to building relationships locally, nationally, and globally. The service-learning program that is part of the South Africa course will give me my first opportunity to offer my services on a global scale. As a freshman, I was a part of the “Elon Amigos” program, which involved mentoring a bilingual high school student at Cummings High School in Burlington. I found the experience educational, interesting, and rewarding, and decided to take another service learning class this semester as a junior. Over the course of the next three months, I will be a public relations volunteer for the Burlington Housing Authority, which is a local organization that provides after school programming for students in the area. Both of these service-learning experiences and my future experience in South Africa will allow me to graduate from Elon with as a more active and globally aware citizen than I was when I started here. At home, I have volunteered for a variety of different organizations, like local food banks and Special Olympics. I am always searching for new ways to give back and become a more active part of the community, and I can’t wait to experience that in another region of the world. I am looking forward to making new connections, forging new relationships, and observing the impact of my service efforts on a community I care about.

My name is Sara "Mandosa" Pasquinelli and I’ve indirectly majored in service learning during my tenure at Elon. Service learning encourages students to become responsible citizens by recognizing how our decisions and actions can impact that entire community. I believe this theory directly translates into my academic majors. As a history and anthropology double major, I’m active in the classroom and community. With history, I’m constantly researching how humans positively and negatively influence their environment. Anthropology also studies humans’ relationship with environment, but the knowledge is more applicable to current events. Furthermore, I’m challenged to question and reflect on my personal influence in the social environment. I take that knowledge beyond classroom walls so that I take direct actions that will ideally strengthen our community. Service learning is more than helping others. It’s the realization that both parties are helping one another learn. I’ve taken three service learning courses including an internship based in my hometown, Pittsburgh. All three courses revolved around educating youth and strengthening community relations. I’ve worked with two impoverished communities, Beaumont and East Brooke, which are located in East Burlington. Although I’ve been involved with various initiatives in these communities, I’m currently mentoring young students in East Brooke’s after-school program. We work together on homework and build social skills through various activities. Our class will also help community members renovate the basketball court that will ideally provide a safe environment for all community members. Moreover, I’ve interned the past two summers with Summerbridge Pittsburgh, an academic enrichment program for at-risk youth. The program resembles Teach for America where students are teaching and motivating younger students. I taught 7th grade English courses and created an American History course as shown through baseball. I technically created lesson plans, but my students largely influenced how those plans were executed. These opportunities required extensive reflection and research, but this dedication led to more successful results within the community. When I travel to South Africa, I would like to continue my trend of working with education initiatives. I’ve looked into several opportunities where I could work with South African students such as Cape Town Refugee Centre, Shine Centre, and Little Star Educare. Although I’ve worked mostly with older students, I would like to work with a more diverse age range. South Africa’s recent history definitely impacts its children. I wonder how these historical influences play into their education. Moreover, I’m interested to see if age differences influence how South Africa’s history is perceived and it impacts the individual. These questions cannot be answered by simply volunteering. Instead, I will try to immerse myself in their culture and tackle those difficult questions regarding history’s impact on education. Furthermore, I’m thrilled that previous classes have established Adopt-a-Student program because this ties directly to my interests and past experiences. We are giving more than just monetary support for these students’ education. We are investing in their future. We have 103 days until we leave for South Africa. I can mentally prepare by learning more about South African history and culture. Academic preparation will not only help me understand, but enable me to be effective in our service learning opportunities. As Christine Cress wrote in her article What is Service Learning, “it is what you do with what you know” (12). I hope there is enough preparation time within those 103 days!

My name is Beth "Amina" Peterson and I’m a sophomore Strategic Communications major with minors in Political Science and Spanish. I have been looking forward to the opportunity to travel to South Africa over winter term for over a year. I really enjoy traveling to new places to learn about the history and culture of diverse groups of people in order to gain another perspective of the world around me. However, it was the service-learning component to this trip that really influenced my decision to go as well as the chance to learn about the unique political history of the country. I’ve traveled abroad several times and in my last trip to Nicaragua, worked with a community and its elementary-aged children in a run down section on Managua. It opened my eyes to the immense amounts of poverty in the world but also furthered my passion for working with others in a service-learning style environment. In the future, ideally, I would like to combine the joy of helping others with studying and discussing politics as well as my ability to speak two, hopefully three in the next year or two, languages. I love reading about the history and politics of countries around the world and I believe that seeing instead of merely reading about South Africa will be a great experience. With these aspirations and interests in mind, I chose South Africa as my destination for winter term. The programs we are going to be involved with sounded intriguing and seemed like organizations I would enjoy working with while in the country. The adopt-a-student program seemed like a great opportunity, as did many of the internship opportunities available to the group. As a member of Amnesty International, I have learned a lot about the long lasting impact of cruelty and oppression in a society as well as the ways citizens are able to overcome such barriers. I can’t wait to meet the South African people who, despite a history of racism and violence, manage to move toward a brighter future. I’m looking forward to each stop in South Africa and everything I will learn as we make our way through the country.

My name is Jamie "Kamali" Schatz and I am a senior Computer Information Systems major at Elon University. I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to travel to South African in January. I plan to take full advantage of every opportunity I have while traveling abroad, including service activities. Over the last several years, Elon students in the South Africa program have led and participated in a number of service programs including Adopt-A-Student, Global Links Library, Literacy Campaigns, book drives, internships and much more. Their efforts have brought joy to thousands of children in the form of books, clothing, money, school supplies, and even time. I hope to participate in two of these programs, Adopt-A-Student and book drives. Adopt-A-Student is a program that collects money to provide South African students with school supplies for a year. Book drives collect books for South African libraries in schools that have very limited resources. As I shared with the class, one of my biggest future goals is adopting from South Africa. Finding homes for the abandoned and less fortunate children in the world is one of my biggest passions. Therefore, I hope to complete my three-day internship in a South African orphanage. If I can make a difference in one child’s life, even if it is just by playing a game of soccer with the children, then the entire trip will be worthwhile. Overall, I hope to leave a legacy of change and represent Americans positively during my time in South Africa.

Christy "Bahati" Scmidt - The first reason that I began to look into South Africa for Winter Term was the opportunity that I would have to participate in various service programs. Having gone to a Catholic high school, I have been participating in community service and service learning for the past six years, and have enjoyed every single minute that I was involved in these projects. To me, the concept of giving and receiving experiences that can change lives is amazing, and is one of the most worthwhile ways of learning. I was very impressed to learn that Dr. Layne began the Adopt-A-Student program in South Africa, as I had assumed that it was a program that Elon students had simply embraced while traveling there for Winter Term in years past. I was also surprised to learn that it only costs $40 to support a South African child’s education for a year, and that in 2009 enough money was raised to support 155 children. These facts made me proud to be a part of this program and excited to join in the opportunities that I would have to serve. The service opportunity that particularly struck a chord with me is the Christine Revell’s Children’s Home, where I hope to obtain an internship while in South Africa. I have done extensive research on the organization and feel a strong connection to its mission of “striving to nurture and develop every child in need, and work towards their successful re-integration into a family and the community.” For my senior service-learning project, I worked at school for the year, tutoring and spending time with the children in one classroom. I learned so much from this experience, and was thrilled that I was able to give back to these children and teachers who benefitted from our aid. I would love to have the opportunity to work with children in South Africa who have been abandoned, abused and neglected. I know that I will benefit and learn a tremendous amount from this experience, and I can only hope that I will be able to give back to this children’s home that needs all the help that it can get. I am tremendously excited to travel to South Africa and continue to deepen and improve the imprint that Elon students have left in the country in years past. I have heard only wonderful things about the experiences that students take away from this Winter Term trip, and I believe that the least we can do is to leave as much behind with them as we will take away.

Allison "Nnenia" Schoeninger.  As Elon students, when we travel to South Africa we are not only representing ourselves, but our entire school. In the past, Elon students have made great efforts in South Africa in a number of programs aimed at helping the community. It is our responsibility to continue that legacy, and build upon it as we do our part in helping communities in South Africa. We are truly privileged to live as comfortably as we do, and go to school at an upstanding university. While we are in South Africa, it is important for all of us to give our time and efforts to help people who may not be as fortunate as we are. During my time in South Africa, I plan to leave my imprint on the community by interning at Christine Revell Children’s Home. This home, specifically for abandoned, neglected, abused children, is a wonderful way to help people who really need me. Though the efforts for financial support for children in South Africa is exceedingly important, it is most important to me to spend time with the children. I believe that donating my time and efforts will help to benefit these children in a way that money cannot provide. Not only will my time spent at Christine Revell Children’s Home benefit the children living at the home, but it will benefit me. Working with children brings joy and happiness to everyone involved, and I believe that there is no better way for me to get involved with helping the community in South Africa.

My name is Jackie "Sekai" Seisman, and upon entering Elon as a freshman, the term “global citizen” was foreign to me. However, after reading Power Lines by Jason Carter in my Global Experience class, in which he details his experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa, the concept of solidarity and service has become of greater importance in my life. While service was always stressed in my childhood, especially since I was raised in a Catholic upbringing, it wasn’t until I arrived on Elon’s campus that it took any real meaning. Professor Anderson in my Global Experience class always spoke highly of South Africa as well as the “common good”. I began to conceptualize a whole new meaning of service as well as my purpose in life. This was just one reason why my passion for service and working with the community began. While I applied to South Africa for Winter Term because I was interested in experiencing a tiny part of the revolutionary nation that was able to overcome racial oppression and become one of the most ethically diverse countries in Africa, I was also blown away by the service component of the trip. I am excited to be working with community partners that will not only allow us to help address community issues, but also work on service projects that are beneficial to the community. When learning about the various service projects, including the Adopt-a-Student program, in which I was shocked that just forty dollars could do so much to support a child’s education, I was immediately proud of the legacy that Elon students have left before me. I would love to continue working with these programs; however, I would also like to continue a passion of mine. Since my internship with Population Action International, I have become very involved with women’s reproductive health issues, including the issues of AIDS/HIV and sustainability. I would love to work with either the Medical Research Council or the Legal Aid in Cape Town to better understand women’s health in South Africa as well as their rights in regards to reproductive health issues. If I am better able to understand the issues, I hope to implement a service program that could be both beneficial to women as well as the health of their families. I believe that my trip to South Africa will allow me to better understand individuals and groups of both local and global contexts and my responsibilities as a leader within these different communities.

My strengths have always been with children. My name is Debbie Silverstein, and I am an elementary education major and I love working with kids in any way possible. I have babysat, volunteered with children, been a coach for many different sports and of course worked with them in schools and classroom environments. In South Africa, I hope to work with children in any way I can. I’m particularly interested in the “educare” companies that help provide safe and nurturing environments for children in day care and as they progress through early schooling years. I also think the adopt-a-student programs are great, as well as the literacy campaign. I would love to have the chance to work with some students, especially those that are struggling, and help improve their academic and reading skills. This semester I am taking a literacy course all about struggling readers and I would love to be able to apply what I have learned here to help with students in South Africa. I have been tutoring struggling students in the area with their reading and it would be great to have a chance to do this in a foreign country as well. Overall, for me, my service contribution will definitely involve children and/or education in some way. These two components are extremely important to me and something I plan on working with when we are in South Africa.

My name is Katie "Nomsa" Smith, and as an elementary education major, I value the importance of understanding various cultural backgrounds. In my educational psychology course this semester, I have been studying the growing demand for teachers to incorporate a pedagogy that accounts for students’ backgrounds and cultures in their teaching. As the United States grows more and more diverse, classrooms are being filled with students from many different cultures. A significant part of my college experience is to explore as many cultures as possible so that I may understand and prevent possible conflicts based on cultural divides among students. This trip can help me not only to grasp a reality of South African culture itself, but also to see how cultural divides within this country are affecting the nation today. Furthermore, a reflection on our own nation’s history of segregation and its lasting psychological effects will bring about an essential awareness to inspire every effort for breaking these trends in the upcoming generations that I will teach. My interest in service is a very large part of who I am. My involvement in my high school’s chapter of the Leo Club (a branch of the Lion’s club for young adults) got me started in my love for serving others. I further developed this part of my life by pledging for Alpha Phi Omega, Elon’s co-ed service fraternity, during my freshman year at Elon. To further grow in my service experiences, I would like to expand my overall outlook on service as a result of this trip. Previously, I viewed service as merely an opportunity to help others in need; never as a mutual learning experience. I believe this trip will give me a better understanding of how to take part in service-learning, rather than limiting myself to volunteerism. I also look forward to becoming a better global citizen, starting with this study abroad experience to South Africa. Previously, my service was narrowed to the immediate community and the nation. I look forward to branching out to serve and to learn from people everywhere. To accomplish these service-learning goals, I am hoping to secure an internship with the Christine Revell Children’s Home in Cape Town. The experiences and knowledge to be gained through interaction with these children is an opportunity that I cannot afford to pass up. I predict that, as I get an inside perspective on the hardships of these children’s lives and the way in which their community is helping them to overcome those hardships, I will walk away with something that cannot be learned through textbooks and lectures. In return, I will have the opportunity to leave my own mark on the South African people by caring for the children at the home. I look forward to gaining a wider perspective of culture and diversity that can be applied upon my return to the United States and my future career as an elementary school teacher.

Jillian "Maleda" Soja. One of the most significant and defying components of the South Africa study abroad program that differentiates it from any other program offered at Elon, is the service that completed by the students during their travels. Each year since 2007, thirty students have traveled abroad with the South Africa program in helping to foster community through engaging in service learning programs. In past years, students have done an incredible job at helping those in need and changing the lives of those who would not have the chance otherwise. Each year students have exceeded their goals in the number of underprivileged children and students they have helped, guided and provided for. As a sociology major, I have always had the desire to help those in need in any way possible. As I have matured and learned more and more about the world around me, the most significant concept I have gained is the importance of giving back, especially when we are as privileged as we are. One of the most prominent factors that lead me to having the desire to participate in the trip to South Africa is the given opportunity to help children in need. I was immediately drawn to the listing of the Christine Revell Children’s Home not only because of my love for interacting and helping children, especially those in need, but also because of my sociology background and desire to work with children through the role of social work in my future. This home touches my heart for the fact that it is filled with abandoned, abused, neglected or orphaned children that are left without hope and a family to love and take care of them. I know that without the support and dedication of my parents and family I would not be at the place I am today and would most certainly be offered the amazing opportunities that are given to me in life. These children do not have those opportunities mainly because of the fact that they do not have the care from their families to guide and support them. My goal in contributing and building upon the legacy that former students have left behind is to help nurture and develop every child in need (beyond our desired numbers), and work towards their successful re-integration into a family and the community through guidance, education and care. Helping these children and guiding them back into a family and community is extremely important to me and for the students of the 2010 trip I hope for nothing less than to exceed our numbers, provide the best and help even more children in more ways than we think is possible.

My name is Frank "Adjo" Stiefel and I am a sophomore majoring in Political Science and African/African-American Studies. I am currently the Southeast Regional Outreach Coordinator for STAND (Students Take Action Now: Darfur) and the Social Justice Intern at the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. This past summer I interned at the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office in New York City and served as their Darfur associate. I am hoping in the future to continue my studies in African affairs at graduate school and possibly work with an NGO that promotes advocacy in and on behalf of Africa. Service learning has always been a huge part of my life and has continued to shape me as a global citizen. During my senior year in high school, I volunteered in Ghana for five weeks, helping to teach a class of first graders English. While serving as a teacher’s assistant in Ghana, I learned an enormous amount about the culture that existed in the country and how friendly the people living there were. My experience in Ghana changed my life forever and inspired me to become an African/African-American Studies major. My trip to Ghana, however, is only one small aspect of my service-learning experience. Throughout the past four years of my life, I have been involved with the organization STAND (a student led division of the Genocide Intervention Network). As a member of STAND, I have helped to bring speakers like John Prendergast on campus and have worked with other schools throughout the Southeast region to raise awareness about various human rights crisis’s throughout the world. Currently I am the Southeast Regional Outreach Coordinator for STAND and have been working to collaborate with chapters at various campuses throughout the region on forcing the U.S. government to take more decisive action to stopping the genocide in Darfur and the human rights crisis’s in the Congo and Burma. My study abroad program to South Africa will continue my service-learning experience and help me continue my research on African/African-American studies. I am excited to travel to South Africa because of the rich history it possesses. I believe that by traveling to some of the landmarks in South Africa, I will be able to see firsthand how the history of South Africa shaped how its society currently exists today.

My name is Christina "Amani" Strader, and I have not yet thought about the depths of my service, perhaps due to the excitement of traveling out of the country for the first time. The classes that precede me have set a standard of exemplary service. Each year they set a goal, and exceed it. I hope that the Class of 2010 can once again exceed what is expected of us. I hope to use my time inSouth Africa to not only give, but take. As my first international trip, South African culture has the capability to shape my view of the “outside world”. I hope that my service experience allows me the opportunity to interact beyond the shallow surface. I desire relationships, rather than acquaintances. By interacting with the children in the South African cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg, we will all receive a lesson in cultural diversity, and more importantly, cultural similarities. As the Events Director in the EV! office, I have become very distant from service. My job is to develop student leaders, rather than develop and implement the programs which directly benefit the populations we are targeting with each event. With the time I have to dedicate to directing, I often loose touch with the reason I joined the office: to serve. It is a blessing to have a class where service is emphasized as strong as any other component of the course.

My name is Mark "Nkukuleko" Sundman and I am currently a sophomore here at Elon. I am an Exercise Sports Science major and hope to minor in Public Health. Growing up in New Jersey I attended a smaller private school from 6th-12th grade that put a huge emphasis on the importance of Service Learning. Starting my freshmen year the school required us to complete at least 24 hours of community service a year and awarded the students that completed 50+ and 100+ hours. During this time I quickly became involved through various organizations that were either affiliated with my school and the local church. I began making routine trips to the soup kitchen and once I was old enough I became involved with Habitat for Humanity. I took 2 separate trips with habitat for humanity, one with my school and one with the church, and loved both experiences as I was able to see the immediate impact of our hard work. My sophomore year I got involved with my high school’s blood drive and for the following two years I became a “Blood Drive Captain” and coordinated the event with fellow students and faculty. More recently I have become very interested in pursuing a career in the Medical Field because some family members have recently had some horrible luck with their health and I have seen many doctors fight to save their lives and I want to have the ability to help others simarily later in life. This being said, I spent the past summer training to become a certified Emergency Medical Technician and plan on using this skill for community service in the future. I hope that I will be able to use some of these skills by working at a hospital in South Africa because I know that there are many people in need over there. Even though it is highly unlikely that I will be able to perform any medical procedures, I am looking forward to boosting the moral of the patients at the hospital. I spent several years working at a day camp and enjoy spending time with children so I feel that spending time with children (both in and outside a hospital) would be the perfect service learning opportunity for me while we are in South Africa. I am looking forward to experiencing things that I am sure I will never forget.

Georgiana "Amanza" Turner.  During my time in South Africa, I hope to complete many acts of service and to grow as a person. I will be able to do this through actively participating in the previously set up programs such as the Adopt-a-Student program, and the Global Links Library and Literacy Campaign. I have researched these programs and believe in the positive work that they are doing. I am certainly accustomed to service projects and enjoy taking part of them. I have been involved in a few Habitat for Humanity service trips and am passionate about the work that they do and feel satisfied after I help others.
      Another way to build a legacy in South Africa could be done through my internship at the Tygerberg Nature Reserve. The Nature Reserve is a vast expanse of land that is home to many species of animals and is active in various conservation efforts. This is something that I am also extremely fervent about and want to help out when I am working there and possibly after I leave. I just cannot wait to get there and begin my internship and be as active as possible. I know this trip will be a life changing experience and I really hope to contribute as much as I can.

My name is JD "Mando" Verniero, and I’m a junior accounting major with a minor in economics. Leaving behind a legacy that entails helping is very important to me because it sets a standard for living the rest of my life. Throughout my life I have worked with children, starting with babysitting in 6th grade and working my way up to head camp counselor as a senior in high school. I mainly worked with children from ages 5-7, so I’m extremely comfortable around children. I cannot wait to help, play, and work with the children of South Africa. I attended the same school for middle and high school. Service learning was a very integral part of our school. Starting in 6th grade we did at least 6 to 8 days of service learning every year. I usually worked with children groups or others such as Habitat for Humanity. I took a weeklong trip to do service work in London, as well as a week with Habitat in North Carolina. However, South Africa service will be something totally different than what I’ve experienced before. While in South Africa I hope to use my passions, experience with service, and excitement to help in any way possible. My goal is to make at least one child feel the same kind of feeling I know I’m going to have in South Africa; euphoria.

My name is Kyle "Nomalanga" Waggoner and I am a junior at Elon University. Contributing to the community has always been important to me, specifically the youth of the community. In high school, I served as a youth board member for a local organization, WIN for KC, which promotes participation in sports for girls and women of all ages. I helped with community events and served as a team captain at the youth camp for four summers. While serving on the youth board, I interacted with young girls and witnessed their enthusiasm and excitement for sports. Helping the young girls become more confident and watching them improve in skill and spirit throughout the course of the camp was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I saw the impact and power that myself and the other team captains had on the younger girls, and I realized I had a passion for helping young kids get involved in sports and develop as athletes. Since I have been at college, myself and my teammates on the soccer team have helped coach young soccer players as well as special education athletes in the area. I am so looking forward to the upcoming trip to South Africa with my classmates and I feel that our group can leave a strong impact on the places we visit and the people we interact with. I personally hope to share my time and talents with the youth and women of South Africa, much like I have worked to do with my community at home and the community of Elon, through an internship. I want to share my passion for the promotion of health and sports among women and young girls of South Africa. I realize the impact sports and wellness has had on my own life, and I want to share this with others who are less fortunate. I look forward to contributing to the country that will give me an experience I will never forget. Giving back to the community of South Africa is very important to me and I am determined to contribute in any way I can.


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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