Africa as a continent is constituted by a rich mosaic of ecosystems that range from coastal, desert and semidesert, to savanna grasslands, forests and mountains. Each ecosystem has specific climate, key conservation issues and its own unique context. This online Virtual Exchange program takes students on a journey through Southern and East Africa, engaging students with local experts as they learn about the ecology and sustainable conservation strategies along the way.
Starting in Cape Town, South Africa, a coastal city bordered by both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, students learn about marine life indigenious to these two oceans. Through critical interactions with local marine conservation organizations, students engage with great white shark research, African penguin colony conservation, human-marine conflict and the effects of climate change on this coastal environment.
Departing the coast of Southern Africa and moving north, students explore wildlife management, conservation and human-wildlife conflict mitigation techniques in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Through discussions with the locals, volunteers and national parks in the region, students gain in depth knowledge of unique conservation pressures, the role research plays in wildlife management, as well as how effective engagement with communities surrounding conservation areas can assist with human-wildlife conflict mitigation.
The journey ends in East Africa, in the well-known savannah ecosystem of the Maasai Mara. With growing populations leading to fragmented natural habitats and increased human-wildlife conflict, students explore community conservation strategies with a local wildlife conservancy. Local ecology experts join students as they explore a variety of conservation techniques and their advantages and applications. Interaction with local community members help students understand the significant role local societies have played in the conservation of the Maasai Mara ecosystem.
As a whole, this program utilizes engagement opportunities to actively explore the highlighted ecological areas. Students interact with local experts as they join them on daily activities such as research, data collecting and critical observation. At each destination, there is a contextual overview of the country and students explore key ecological sites. In collaboration with local researchers, students are actively engaged in current conservation issues and participate in discussions on local strategies and solutions. At the end of the program, participants work together to analyze authentic regional case studies and present their findings to the local contributing researchers.
By the end of this program, students should be able to:
- Make critical connections between community and conservation
- Demonstrate an understanding of South African, Zimbabwean and Kenyan conservation history and culture
- Examine the uses of different conservation methodologies and research techniques
- Identify key ecological characteristics in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya
- Reflect on transcontinental issues in conservation, comparing challenges and solutions in Africa with those of their home country
- Apply theoretical knowledge of research and conservation techniques in authentic sustainability case studies
- Demonstrate intercultural communication skills, attitudes and values
- Gain an understanding of professional opportunities in the field of ecology and conservation in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Critically reflect on individual growth and transformation
This program is guided by EDU Africa’s five transformative learning goals: Intercultural Competence, Global Citizenship, Personal Growth, Intellectual Growth, and Professional Development. As such, students will be encouraged towards holistic growth in line with these goal areas throughout the program.
Through both synchronous and asynchronous methods, students will explore, experience, and engage with the following:
- Critical Viewing of Atlantic and Indian Oceans with Aquarists at the Two Oceans Aquarium
- Live Great White Shark research interaction
- “Dirty Dozen” Beach clean up analysis and discussions on sustainability practices on reduces waste in the oceans
- Interactive workshops & discussions on marine conservation, climate change, marine species, dangers facing oceans today, human/marine life conflict
- Interactive session on unique conservation pressures in Zambezi National Park
- Panel discussion on effective engagement with communities as a tool of human-wildlife conflict mitigation and conservation
- Collaborative discussion on the role research monitoring as a wildlife management technique
- Critical Workshop on Habitat management (including the management of soils, rivers, vegetation and wildlife, as well as key indicators that determine the health of an ecosystem)
- Interactive discussions with local conservation experts in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy
- Case study engagement with wildlife conservancy researchers
- Active exploration of data collection methods and analysis with local researchers
- Viewing experience of the savannah ecosystem with critical analysis of its key inhabitants
- Intercultural interactions with local community members
Our team works collaboratively with faculty to curate and deliver quality programs. Your dedicated Program Designer will assist with program development and arrangements, supporting and advising you along the way. Your assigned Program Facilitator will be able to assist with session facilitation, lead reflections, and support participants on their learning journey. Finally, our Technical Support Team is available to set up and ensure the smooth running of virtual sessions.
We thrive on innovation and collaboration with our team members, local partners, and global clients. All our Virtual Exchange programs can be customized according to specific learning outcomes, the preferred time commitment, and accessible platforms. We believe every virtual journey with us to Africa gives students the opportunity to learn and transform. Request a proposal to start the collaborative journey.