Professor Ellen Brinks with Linda Farm Community children making ecobricks for the CSU compost project. Zambia, Summer 2015
Professor Ellen Brinks with Linda Farm Community children making ecobricks for the CSU compost project. Zambia, Summer 2015

An important message from Professor Ellen Brinks:

Dear English students,

Are you interested in doing meaningful community education and community health work this summer – in Africa? And earning three academic credits for it?

As faculty-director of the 2016 summer Education abroad program in Zambia (May 22-June 11, 2016), I wanted to touch base with all of you. Last year we had a number of English students (as well as other CSU students) participate in Community Health and Community Education work in Livingstone, Zambia, and I’m hoping for a good representation from English again this year. It’s a wonderful experience that will challenge and empower you, and it’s takes an adventurous and unselfish person to do this kind of work.

Some of you have expressed an interest in going, some of you have already applied, and some may be hearing about the program for the first time. This message is for all of you!

Now is the ideal time to discuss the program with your family, to ponder how serious your inclinations are for boots on the ground experiential learning in Africa (this is not a vacation but meaningful, fun, and gratifying work), to decide whether you’re going to be one of our group, and to get the application process underway for the program and for scholarship money!


Do you want to know more about this program, or are you still unsure whether to commit to it? If so, here are some reasons to go:

  • You’ll be able to work on meaningful community education and health projects and make a difference in the lives of children and adults
  • ​It’s the only CSU program – period – that allows students to get a first-hand experience of life in Africa through community work in education and healthcare (this is NOT a pre-packaged tourist view of Africa)
  • ​Service-learning experience ranks very high in skills sought after in the business, medical, governmental, non-profit, and academic sectors
  • ​You will not be able to find a vacation or volunteer program in Africa as inexpensive as this one
  • ​Zambia has been called “Africa for Beginners” because of its safe, warm, friendly culture and its stable democracy
  • ​Livingstone is a bustling town with a burgeoning middle-class; while you’ll see poverty and hardship, this is not a “depressing” place to be!
  • ​Livingstone has some wonderful amenities (wifi; shops, cafes and restaurants; arts and crafts markets), and the area and our program will offer an unparalleled experience of natural wonders (Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park) and cultural experiences
  • ​We stay at a comfortable and inviting backpacker’s lodge with 24-hour security
  • ​The climate is comfortable; we travel there during their winter with daytime highs in the 80s and nighttime lows in the upper 40s


Testimonials from 2015 CSU volunteers about the summer Zambia program:

  • ​“I felt honored to be able to use my privilege to help in Livingstone. They gave me more than I could ever provide them with” (Jo Buckley)
  • ​“I can say quite honestly that it was the best thing I have done in my life to date” (Nick Breland)
  • ​“Zambia forever changed my life, I couldn’t have asked for a better trip with better people. I hope to apply my experiences in Zambia to my future endeavors and daily life” (Amira Noshi)
  • ​“How was it? It was the un-debased definition of awesome. It was everything that I wanted it to be, and it was more than that too” (Jackson White)
  • ​“Though I will never be able to return to the moments I cherish from Zambia, they are now a part of my being and my future” (Adelle McDaniel)
  • ​“I learned invaluable lessons about myself, teamwork, and the world. I have become more aware of how others live and think. I know I have to go back” (Kathleen Wendt)
  •  “I met so many amazing people on my trip to Zambia. I fell in love with the culture and the people I met. Every person in Zambia had something to teach me about life. If I take anything away from my trip to Zambia, it is that I didn’t change Livingstone in three weeks, but Livingstone changed me” (Katie Wybenga)


You may also be wondering: will this be for academic credit?

  • ​All participating students will take E382, “Reading and Writing the Zambia Experience,” which will count towards your program credits
  • ​You’ll earn three academic credits doing daily community work, along with some pre-trip reading and post-trip reflective writing
  • ​The course will make your time abroad more rewarding through: 1) reading (fiction and non-fiction) and discussion about being a Western volunteer or aid-worker in Africa; and 2) self-reflective writing during and after your time in Zambia. We self-publish the essays in a volume you’ll have to keep and share. The course adds meaningful creative, intellectual, and personal components to the hands-on experience in Zambia.


The application deadline is February 15, 2016.  If you want to go, now is the time to apply! We are capping the number of students at 16.

You can access the application and find materials at the link:


Still need more information?

I’ll be hosting an informational meeting on Monday, January 25 at noon in LSC 308. This will feature many photos and practical information about the program and life/culture in Livingstone, Zambia. It will also give us a chance to discuss more personally any questions or concerns you might have. I will try to get some of last year’s students to come and speak about their experiences, or I can put you in touch with them via email.

You can always – I mean always! – contact me for more information:

In the meantime, I hope you had a lovely break with family and friends.


Ellen Brinks
Faculty Leader, Community Education and Health in Livingstone, Zambia
Professor and Graduate Programs Coordinator
Department of English
Honors Faculty