This summer, English instructor Ashley Davies led twelve CSU students to Africa to engage in the Community Education and Health in Zambia program.

A group of CSU undergraduates served the community of Livingstone, Zambia for three weeks this summer as part of a three-credit course taught by Ashley Davies. As the website explains, “this course emerges at the intersection of the community education and community health initiative that students are working on in Livingstone, Zambia and scholarly, nonfiction writing and memoirs about similar kinds of development work.”

Of the twelve students who went to Livingstone this summer, four of them were English majors. As Davies explained, “We primarily work with community schools that don’t have the aid of government funds. Many of the teachers in these schools aren’t formally educated or paid well…Additionally, many of the children walk over an hour to get to school. Some are orphans living with their extended family members or neighbors. 1 in 4 people in Livingston have HIV…[and] the children we work with sometimes miss a year of school because their families can’t afford to send them or because the children are needed at home…All of these factors create difficulties for the students who start learning English in the 4th grade.”

This program allows CSU students to help with certain aspects of education and health, working as native English speaking partners for the teachers in the classroom.

Senior English Education major Tiffany Lingo went to Zambia in 2017. To her, “going to Zambia will be a learning experience I will never forget. Teaching alongside so many amazing people made me realize why I love working in education and how those different from ourselves can teach us the most.”

As Davies continued, students are able to “challenge themselves and experience cultural exchange.” It is through this program that they “learn that they must adapt to the cultures they are in rather than believing that education and teaching remain the same across borders.”

Students prepare for the trip in spring class sessions to discuss their reading. Following each trip, each student writes an essay about the experience. These essays are then published by the Center for Literary Publishing as a book-length collection.

Covers of two past essay collections
Two past essay collections from the Center for Literary Publishing, The Work of Many Mornings and The Rivers Inside Us.

This summer, two of our English Education majors, Kelsea Altheim and Rachel Melton, taught in the local school. They were recently interviewed as Summertime Standouts for a CSU SOURCE article. As Melton said, “the most rewarding part of this experience for me was definitely seeing the progress that Chizena [one of my students] in the Adult Literacy Club made with his English.”

You can read the full article about their experience on SOURCE.

collage of two students in Zambia
A collage of photos from Altheim and Melton’s time in Zambia. Photos from SOURCE article.

In 2015, English professor Ellen Brinks first took students to Zambia. As she explained in a past SOURCE article, “there’s a seismic shift that happens after really experiencing Africa for all that it is, which I think is the point of the whole program.” To read more about the depth of these experiences, and the work CSU students have done, you can read the article here.

Students on past trips to Zambia have written Field Reports about their work in Livingstone, which varies each year depending on students and needs. Make sure to read past Field Reports to learn more about the work done through this program.

Ellen Brinks sitting with Zambian children
Ellen Brinks sitting with Zambian children during the 2015 study abroad program.

Next year’s program is already planned for May 26 through June 15th with an application deadline of December 1, 2018.