Get beyond awesome – Drew students told
by Kofi Ayim
The Director of the Center for Global Education at Drew University Stacy Fischer has charged students to get beyond awesome and connect their newly acquired experiences to their environments. Ms. Fischer threw this challenge in a “Welcome Back” ceremony to about forty six students and four faculty staff that travelled to Cuba and South Africa during the January term break.She posited that the experience would serve as a backbone of transformation for the students in people they meet and socialize with. In a brief remark, Professor of History and Founding Director of the Pan-African studies, Lillie Edwards highlighted the fact that, traveling abroad for the first time and as a student is informative but could be uncomfortable. But the experience is to conquer the uncomfortability out of your comfort zones.A cross section of the twenty one students to Cuba agreed that the tiny island thought them to leave their privileges at the door. Water at the hotel, they claimed was infrequent but they quickly learned to adapt and cope with the situation. The South Africa trip was an awesome eye opener to many. The natural beauty of the landscape interspersed with massive skyscrapers was comparable to any developed nation.
On the flip side the legacy of apartheid was vividly conspicuous among some black neighborhoods in Cape Town and elsewhere.
The mostly twenty-five pre-med students learnt the history and narratives behind the first heart transplant procedure in the world performed in Cape Town.
Touring under the theme “ Health and Human Development in Africa” the students visited hospitals as well as traditional healing places and learnt of the highly developed nature of traditional medicine.
Religion, they also observed, plays a vital role in the healthcare system of South Africa. The students singularly praised the people of Durban for their hospitality.
The South Africa trip was under the co-guardianships of Professors Kesha Moore and Obiri Addo. Both trips were a life-changing experience for almost all the students.
Editor’s Note: Drew
University, located in a
beautiful “forest” in Madison, New Jersey—30 miles west of New York—has included Africa in its Study Abroad programs since the early 90s. Over one thousand students have so far experienced Africa through short and semester trips to Benin, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, and South Africa. Professor Obiri Addo, Acting Director of Pan-African Studies Program has been a key faculty leader in these programs.
Together with his colleague Professor Kesha Moore of the Sociology Department they led a group of twenty-five mostly pre-medical and public health students to South Africa from December 27, 2015 to January 15, 2016 to explore the theme, “Health and Human Development in Africa: Lessons from the South African Experience”.
Drew University is a
university that sits on a 186-acre campus.
Founded by financier and railroad tycoon in 1867 as a theological seminary to train candidates for ministry in the Methodist Church, it included liberal arts in its curriculum in 1928 and graduate studies in 1955.