Dr. Ellen Brinks is taking a group of students to Livingstone, Zambia this summer. For three weeks, the will do experiential learning and internships through our Colorado State University Study Abroad program (and African Impact). We’ve asked a few of them to send us pictures and let us know how it’s going, tell us more about what they are doing and experiencing. As they get ready to leave in the next few days, Amira Noshi (an International Studies major) and Alexandrea Pinion (an English major with a concentration in Education) have this to report:
~from Amira Noshi and Alexandrea Pinion
A group comprised of several different majors and specialties will soon be heading into the unknown: Livingstone, Zambia! We are counting down the days until May 22 when we will depart from Denver on a two-day journey to the other side of the world. Zambia is located in the southern region of the African continent, just above Botswana. It is the home of the famed Victoria Falls — a massive waterfall that is a wonder of the world! Our group, led by the lovely and talented Dr. Ellen Brinks, will be enriched with the wildlife and culture of what some people call “the Real Africa” during our three-week stay.
We will all be working on diverse projects through a program called African Impact. Some of us will be teaching English and helping to build school houses, while others will be promoting community health and awareness. In our projects, we will be able to see a side of Zambia that could never be available to us through books or the media; we are truly immersed in the unique culture and climate of this beautiful African country! We are looking forward to the opportunity to learn from the people of the Zambian community while giving back to the those who have so graciously accepted us.
Our adventure begins in less than 72 hours and the overwhelming sentiments of excitement and wanderlust have reached a boiling point. Most of us in this diverse group have never traveled to Africa; we are all eager to gain a life-changing experience and challenge our comfort zones, burying our preconceived notions surrounding a vastly diverse continent and building on our own passions. Following a two-day plane ride, none of us really know what to expect, which is perhaps the most exciting aspect — the potential for this experience to really become what we want it to be, maybe even exceeding our expectations.
Of course, traveling to a country that most of us had little to no background context on is a daunting task. Trepidation from the parental camp is inherently present and our group dynamic is still slowly developing as we all sort out logistics. We are all preparing to leave the comforts of our lives, the daily interactions, the continuity of our routines for three weeks, which in retrospect is a long time. Figuring out ways to maintain contact while remembering the importance of disconnecting presents itself as a point of internal contention. Everything leading up to this point has been so up in the air that most of us still can’t even believe it’s happening.
The pieces, though, are beginning to fall together as we collect the last few items on our packing lists and prepare to embark on a journey we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. Not only will this experience enlighten our perception about the world we live in, we will also build a framework of support and friendship together that will be unlike any other, and will last even beyond our return home. We are looking forward to sharing this experience with each other and with you! We’ll keep the blog posted with affirmations about our excitements and worries, with new insights and amazing revelations from the other side of the world. Livingstone, here we come!