Study abroad Africa-bound with tailored field studies

New study abroad programs in Africa, which will combine classes with field studies, will be available starting next fall as part of the expanding Northwestern study abroad program.

The new programs in Mali, Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon and possibly Morocco will allow students to tailor field study projects based on their majors and potential careers.

Bill Murphy, a Continuing Studies lecturer and coordinator of the Africa programs, said participating in field studies will allow students to learn about culture firsthand. For example, political science students could study African governments, pre-med students could work in clinics and history students could study the effects of the slave trade on African culture.

“Learning about the culture in the community is going to be intellectually stimulating,” Murphy said. “(It) allows students to participate in a kind of research endeavor.”

Murphy also said he hopes that when students return from studying in Africa, they will continue studying the country, meeting with NU African Studies professors and conducting research in the Africana collection at University Library.

“As an African American, I think I’m encouraged to embrace my American identity more than my African roots,” Weinberg sophomore Tiffany Berry said. “I believe study abroad would give me that contact with my roots that I feel so set off from.”

Bill Anthony, director of the Study Abroad Office, said he hopes adding the Africa programs encourages students to consider studying in parts of the world that are very different from the United States.

“I don’t want to put down a student who attends the London School of Economics,” Anthony said. “But to do an independent studies program in Africa is daunting to some students.”

Students interested in the Africa programs can attend an informational meeting at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Program of African Studies, 620 Library Place.

In addition to the new Africa programs, the Study Abroad Office may add programs in , Mexico City, China, Switzerland and Paris to accommodate the increasing number of students studying abroad.

About 450 students will study abroad this year, up from 340 students last year, Anthony said.

Another possible addition to the study abroad program is an optional pre-departure course to be offered Spring Quarter in the anthropology department. If approved, the course would help any students planning to work or study abroad prepare by teaching them about adapting to different cultures.