Since 2006, a group of Brock students have gone to Africa every summer for a cultural learning experience with both volunteer and tourist opportunities. This year marks the first time that students will have the chance to visit two countries: both Namibia and South Africa. In previous years, groups stayed in just one of these countries.
This year’s team, led by Christina Bosilo and Koreen McCullough from International Student Services, will be flying out on May 9 and returning June 2. The group will start in Namibia where they will be volunteering at a children’s camp and after-school program centre. The team will also have the opportunity to go on a safari in Etosha National Park and visit the sand dunes of the Namib Desert. The final four days will be spent in Cape Town, South Africa, which include a trip to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.
“We wanted to offer an international opportunity for students of all areas of study,” said Bosilo, Manager of International Learning Programs. “Through volunteering and in-country guest lectures, the students will be learning about the culture and country; it’s the idea of a mutual exchange.”
The 22-member team includes students from all four years of study and a variety of disciplines, though most are in the Faculty of Education. They have already met twice for pre-departure workshops and are currently planning the annual Namibia Trivia Night, in order to raise money for the children’s centre they’ll be volunteering at. Besides the trivia game, there will also be a silent auction of donated items, including wine tours, tickets to Marineland and gift cards for the Merchant Ale House. None of the student participants have been to Africa before and so they are all looking forward to discover a new part of the world and bring a new understanding of Africa back home.
“I’ve always wanted to experience a new culture and to explore a different part of the world. I’ve always felt that a volunteer trip like this would be the most unique way to do this because I feel as though the people we meet there will teach us more than we could ever imagine teaching them,” said Amy Wilcox, one of the participants in the trip.
“I was born and raised in Niagara and have always had a desire to see the rest of the world. I feel like I will learn a lot through this experience and have a better understanding of my own life and my place in the global community,” added Nicole Gatis, another member of the team.
“I’ve never even been on a plane, let alone flown all the way to Africa and I wanted to try something completely new with new people,” said Emily Dugo, who is also going on the trip/
Bosilo also talked about how there are many misconceptions about the cultures and lifestyles of people in Africa and that this trip will give students a first-hand experience of seeing what life is actually like in Namibia and South Africa. Bosilo added that an international experience is an invaluable opportunity for any Brock student.
“It’s important that our students leave Brock globally prepared,” said Bosilo. “The more people travel and learn about other cultures, the more it enriches our own local community.”
The Namibia Trivia Night fundraiser will take place on Mar. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Amici’s Banquet and Conference Centre. Tickets are $25 which include the trivia game and tapas. To buy tickets, contact Christina Bosilo in the International Centre or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Campus News Editor