Photo submitted by Julie Uram
BY RACHEL SOUTHGATE
College students at Drake University have the opportunity to study abroad in Uganda during Drake’s May term and receive credit towards graduation requirements.
Participating students meet Ugandan leaders, learn about rural life and health care, go on a safari and visit the source of the Nile River, according to flyers posted around campus.
Julie Uram, a double major in sustainability and resilience and rhetoric, media, and social change, went to Uganda with Drake this past May.
The title of the class taken in Uganda is Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is an academic seminar based around business, history and honors, Uram said.
“The use of the word sustainability for the class actually meant business sustainability, not environmental,” Uram said. “This gave me a unique perspective (on sustainability) that is different from the normal science classes I take at Drake.”
Hannah Hansen, a marketing and psychology double major at Drake, also studied abroad in Uganda this past May. She said she enjoyed how immersed in the culture they were and how they really got to know the people.
“The overarching theme of the program is sustainable development, but it can be tailored to whatever you want,” Hansen said. “We didn’t ever have classes because it was more about going out and meeting different people.”
Uram said every student in the class was expected to come up with a one-day research or service project that was ideally related to their area of interest.
“I got to participate in gathering data for a water quality improvement project started by Drake students on earlier trips,” Uram said. “My work was really a part of something bigger.”
Hansen said she did marketing strategy research for the health center for her project.
“The biggest part of the trip was various lessons around sustainable business development,” Uram said. “Each day we usually had a morning or afternoon activity that were interactive lessons that addressed all areas of sustainable development.”
Uram said she felt she learned an equal amount from the scheduled academic courses by Drake and from interacting with her peers and being critical of their experiences.
Michaela Spielberger, a digital media production and anthropology/sociology double major at Drake, will be studying abroad in Uganda during May term this year.
“This trip is perfect for me because I’m really interested in going to Africa,” Spielberger said. “It’s always been the dream place to travel to for me.”
Spielberger said the Uganda trip seems like a great way to branch out and safely travel Africa. She said she is looking forward to connecting on a personal level with people in a community that is very different from hers and those she has been exposed to.
“It’s definitely the trip of a lifetime because you learn so many things not only about Uganda, but a lot about yourself as well,” Hansen said.
The 2018 dates for studying abroad in Uganda are May 21 through June 12. Participating students will receive six credit hours that may be used to fulfill the engaged citizen or the global and cultural understanding graduation requirement, according to flyers posted around campus.