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  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view AprilTravels's profile
    Posted March 17, 2014 by
    AprilTravels
    Location
    Accra, Ghana
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Why study abroad? Ask Michelle Obama

    Travel is Transformational!

     

    I spent an amazing 6 weeks working on an independent study abroad project in South Africa investigating the access programs in place to better prepare disadvantaged students for degrees in STEM.

     

    As an African American woman, graduate engineering student, and manager of an engineering retention program, this was the perfect project and perfect location to conduct it.

     

    I gleaned tons of insight about education reform initiatives in South Africa as a result of the Bantu Education Act and Apartheid. Schools were beginning a "desegregation" of sorts and surprisingly students, faculty and staff were eager to share their stories.

     

    I gladly listened and reveled in the moments when discussions and focus groups shifted from the project to day to day life, hobbies and interests, inquiries on life in the US.

     

    My time in South Africa was eye opening, informative and transformational. While it was painstakingly obvious how we are different, what stood out the most was seeing and truly understanding how we are all so very much the same, despite the languge we speak, where we are born, or our economic standing. I'm forever grateful for the lessons learned, the bonds created and the impact this experience has had on my life.

     

    Since South Africa, I have continued to travel abroad and encourage others to do the same through my travel writing and sharing my personal experiences because I truly believe travel is transformational. http://www.AbsoluteTravelAddict.com

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