First-year seminar travels to Africa

Lots of Albion College groups and classes get to travel to far off places for various events or projects – but staying in a developing country for two weeks as a first year student? Now that’s exotic.

From Jan. 2-17, students in Dr. Emmanuel Yewah’s first-year experience class, Africa: Myth and Reality, traveled to Cameroon. The students learned about African culture while visiting cities, villages, schools and beaches.

The class focused on certain myths and preconceived notions about Africa as well as some basics about tradition and culture.

“A lot of people talk about Africa as just being animals and poverty,” said Erin Romph, Kalamazoo first-year. “There are animals and there is poverty, but it’s not as prominent as the U.S. perceives it to be.”

The students visited big cities and small villages to get a wide range of exposure to different areas of the country.

“The most interesting part was going to the markets and learning about how people behave in Africa in a casual setting,” said Chantal Chuba, Grosse Pointe junior. “It was fun to learn how to bargain.”

In contrast to busy city life, students also visited small schools at the elementary, high school and university level. Albion students brought the school kids toys and candy as gifts.

“They loved candy and they loved talking to us,” Chuba said. “We played games and sang songs with them.”

These school visits also included a stop at the school created by the Nwagni Project, a program that is run and organized by Albion College students that aims to fund a school in Cameroon.

Alyssa Heilman, Ionia junior, is actively involved with the Nwagni project and has traveled to Cameroon to see the school twice.

“It is great to see what the group has accomplished and what it gives to the kids in the village of Batchingou,” Heilman said. “It is an amazing experience that I’m very thankful to have had.”

More photos and student opinions on the trip can be found in a multimedia slideshow. With a successful trip this year, Dr. Yewah plans to continue to offer this class in the future.

Photo courtesy of Erin Romph

About Alex Carey 60 Articles
Alex Carey is a senior from Birmingham, Mich. She majors in communication studies and double minors in French and business/organizations. She runs varsity cross country and is a member of the Delta Gamma sorority and Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity. Follow her on Twitter at @AlexxCarey.

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