The start of the USP Fall 2016 academic semester is well underway, class schedules are finally finalized and our students are digging into reading, assignments and discussion. We are impressed by this particular group as they come prepared to class each day ready to share their insights on what they read and by their willingness to be challenged by difficult questions of faith and culture.
In addition to their classes, almost all of our USP students are getting involved in the surrounding community through practicums. A huge value of the Uganda Studies Program is to learn experientially and we find practicums to be a very effective way of doing that. Having a practicum allows USP students to learn from Ugandans as they discover more about the culture and the useful ways of working and serving within it.
Anna Persenaire, one of USP’s eight General Studies Emphasis (GSE) students this semester, has been placed at an organization called Vision for Africa (VfA). This education-based organization provides schooling and skills training for the surrounding community. On the Vision for Africa campus there is a nursery, kindergarten, primary (elementary) school, and a vocational school that trains adult learners who run VfA's hotel, bakery, tailoring shop, and pottery studio. During her semester-long practicum, Anna will primarily be working with the kindergarten students as an extra set of hands in their classroom as she learns about education in a Ugandan context, and herself in the process.
Along with the large amount of work that takes place on the VfA campus, there are also outreach ministries based there. For example, Anna will have the chance to connect more with the surrounding community through the prison ministry they offer. Anna is excited for these opportunities and feels that they line up well with her future plans of working in the community development field through education, business, and economics.
|USP driver, John, takes Anna to her practicum at Vision for Africa|
All Global Health Emphasis (GHE) students participate in practicums as part of their semester. These students were able to visit each of the sites that practicums are currently offered through during the August module. They then applied for the sites they were most interested in interning at based on their background and interest.
Danielle Awabdeh is interning at Noah’s Ark Ministries, a large organization that serves as an orphanage for abandoned children, a school, and a clinic among other services. She was drawn to Noah’s Ark because its specialization in pediatrics fits with her love of children and vocational aspirations. She was also intrigued by the holistic approach to health that Noah’s Ark takes in response to the children they serve. They are not only a clinic; they provide housing, schooling, and health services to their patients and even have a community outreach program. Danielle has found the staff she’ll be working with to be “sweet” and “very welcoming.” She is looking forward to her semester with them.
|Wearing her Global Health scrubs, Danielle is ready for her day at Noah's Ark|
Another one of our General Studies Emphasis students, Caleb Strom, has a unique practicum in that he never has to leave campus to participate! Caleb is conducting his practicum this semester with Uganda Christian University’s International Student English Proficiency class. At UCU, international students spend their first year on campus in a “supplementary year” where they take courses to prepare them for UCU academics. The difference is that all of the classes are taught in English as a way to prepare these students for their upcoming years at UCU, where all classes are taught in English. Caleb will be assisting and facilitating learning for a class of 25 students. As an English major, Caleb is very excited to learn what teaching approaches work best within this international setting.
|Caleb at Uganda Christian University|
This semester, the Social Work Emphasis of USP has 4 junior level practicum students. Kendra Slagter is one of these students and she is conducting her practicum at St. Peter’s Child Development Center. Kendra will be helping and learning alongside a team who works with mothers and their children ages 0 – 3. Kendra’s love of children and her passion for vulnerable women makes this Christ-centered organization a good fit for her. The services provided at this site focus on building positive relationships and fostering healthy children with healthy attachments. Kendra is excited to participate in home visits and for the opportunity to learn from her Ugandan coworkers.