Maryville College – January 2012

This month, ACTS facilitated a tour for an American university group from Maryville College in Maryville TN. This university offers several “J-Term” or January-Term travel courses each year through which students are able to travel abroad while earning course credits.

This year’s Southern Africa tour took the group through South Africa, Botswana and Zambia and was focused primarily on education and orphans. Students were challenged to put their knowledge of African culture, history and child development into action by immersing themselves in local schools and day care programs. It was a great opportunity for them to connect the theories they study at university with practice by providing English instruction at local schools, crafts and game with after-school programs, and much, much more. In addition to their work in schools, the group was also able to experience some of Africa’s flora and fauna at its best. A two-day mokoro safari took the group deep into the Okavango Delta where they glided along the waterways of the largest inland delta in the world. Surrounded by reeds and water-lilies, the students got up close and personal with some of Botswana’s pristine wildlife. Guided bush walks during the day and camping under the stars marked just a few of the unforgettable adventures experience by these students. Another very memorable stop on the journey was Livingstone, Zambia: home of Victoria Falls. In addition to bartering at local craft markets and visiting the David Livingstone museum, the Maryville College students were able to visit the Falls and experience one of the Seven Wonders of the World. From teaching local students to being poled through the vastness of the Delta, the students from Maryville College certainly had a “J-Term” to remember.

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