Study Abroad Program off to a great start in 2016!!!
"AASD is proud to have launched its first Study Abroad program to South Africa in summer 2016. Led by Dr. Sangeetha Madhavan and Mr. Vusi Dlamini, 9 students from various departments at UMD engaged in an intensive 4 week experience examining social inequality in a post-apartheid context. Students spent time in both an urban context (Johannesburg) and a rural community close to the Mozambican border."
Here’s a snap shot from some of the participants:
'In its very first run, the Study Abroad Program to South Africa for the African American Studies Department was a great success, attracting high caliber students whose varying, yet complimentary, interests greatly enriched the program experience. As a South African, and both an interested as well as affected party of the country’s post-Apartheid challenges, I too benefitted from participation in this program. I believe South Africa offers students interested in broader social justice issues in the United States a critical lens for understanding such issues in a broader global perspective.' (Program Director, Vusi Dlamini).
My name is Gurleen Kaur and I am a current senior at UMD. "I didn't know what to expect when I walked into orientation for the summer program, all I knew was I was going to South Africa to learn about social inequalities. Now looking back I know now there was no way I could have been prepared for my experience this summer. I not only learned how similar a country thousands of miles away is to the US, the same culture, the same social problems, but I learned so much about myself. Things only an experience as unique as this one could have given me and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to share this experience with eight other amazing women."
My name is Brittany Jade Woods, and I am a senior African American Studies major. Studying abroad was never something I anticipated to do during my undergraduate, but I am beyond thankful for this life changing experience. Orientation in May gave me a small taste of what to expect in South Africa, but no orientation can fully prepare you for studying abroad in a different country. This program not only peaked my interest to continue to travel this beautiful planet, but it also gave me a thorough and comprehensive understanding of South Africa and all of its complexities. Activities ranged from attending lectures, safari tours at the Kruger National Zoo, to service with local youth. This was an incredible opportunity for myself along with the other eight phenomenal women to think critically about inequalities that are not limited to places like the US or South Africa, and at the same time, it also challenged every single one of us to get out of our comfort zones. This program motivated all of us to continue to do fulfill our civic duty, which we are all extremely passionate about, all while realizing places like South Africa truly aren't that much different than the US -- people are still people.
It never crossed my mind that I would have the opportunity to study abroad until I transferred to the University of Maryland, College Park. Once I was accepted to the trip in South Africa I realized that I should never underestimate my abilities. I applied to this trip mainly because it was rooted in service and that I would be able to compare and contrast the inequalities between South Africa and America. From the education, service, home-stay and reflection portions, I learned that there is so much more to the world than America. My experience in South Africa has made me eager to travel, mainly to study different cultures. I understand that it is okay to get out of your comfort zone and walk into different environments with open arms because it leads to growth. I encourage everyone to take full advantage of study abroad trips; they are an amazing and unforgettable experiences. -Keona Gardner
Please go here to see our photo album from AASD South Africa Study Abroad 2016.