5 Reasons Why Africa is Perfect for Service Learning
Service learning is an excellent way to gain practical experience in your field of study while collaborating with EDU Africa partner initiatives in local communities. Service Learning offers authentic interactions with community projects which allows participants see their field of study from a new perspective – a truly transformative learning experience. Students can build confidence in their ability to carry out their skill set across different scenarios as they work in dynamic teams using their developing intercultural skills.
At EDU Africa our commitment to good stewardship is clearly demonstrated in our Ethical Service Learning placements. Ethical Service Learning honours the community partner as an expert in their field of work and is mutually beneficial to both the student and the community. It prioritizes learning and creates sustainable change in the community. As participants start to see their service in a new global perspective, they are also able to use their skills to fill a need set out by the partner organization.
No matter what field you are studying, Africa is the optimal setting to deeply explore service learning. Here, we’ve put together five reasons for joining a Service Learning Project in Africa.
1. Pristine Natural Environment
It’s no secret that Africa is home to some of the most pristine natural settings and magnificent wildlife, preserved by various national parks and conservancies. There are many opportunities to merge ongoing conservation projects with service learning engagements. Whether students undertake a service learning placement with local conservation experts or just enjoy exploring nature during their free time, the wildlife and richness of the African landscape is always a highlight.
2. Innovative Projects
With many issues facing the continent, Africa has risen to challenge at every step with innovative solutions. There are projects redesigning waste for essential items, rural health care workers with home care solutions, small businesses designing accessible banking options, the examples are endless. Whether it be in the area of conservation, business or community work, service learners will have the opportunity to see these familiar fields through new perspectives. As students work side by side with these incredible initiatives, they soon realize that their studies are a foundation for never-ending possibilities.
3. Local Experts
Each community project is run by local experts with a wealth of cultural, practical and academic knowledge in their fields. As service learning is all about learning through interaction, working with local experts and community members provides the best opportunity for cultural immersion and exchange. Ultimately, when exposed to new ways of thinking, this kind of connection sparks self-reflective thinking in an individual, contributing greatly to personal growth and professional development.
In general, Africa is relatively accessible in terms of language – most villages and cities (depending on where you are) understand English, or at least have a few members of the community who understand English and can interpret for you. It is also exciting to gain exposure to foreign languages that you may have never heard before, perhaps even learning a word or two. This is one of the best ways to get involved in a community; if members of a community see you trying their language, they will be more open to involving you in their everyday lives.
5. Tailored Experiences
With so much diversity in Africa – natural, cultural as well as historical – Africa offers amazing opportunities for a variety of service learning placements. Options cover various subject fields, including education, sports development, health care and advocacy, business, wildlife conservation, forest regeneration and more. At EDU Africa our Program Managers are happy to work with you to tailor your Service Learning placement to reach your learning goals.