Cultural and Environmental Preservation in a Multifaceted Nation: A Short-Term Study Abroad Program Design in South Africa for The Experiment in International Living

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Richard Rodman


Education abroad programs have based in the continent of Africa, as of late, have faced greater difficulty in attracting applicants to their programs. Traveler interest and numbers are down. Despite the number of US study abroad participants increasing dramatically within the last fifteen years, the number who have chosen to study in Africa has never risen above two percent (Amin, 2015, p.5). The Experiment in International Living (EIL), a program of World Learning Inc., has cherished a long history and connection with Africa. As one of America’s earliest education abroad programs, the EIL program has for over 80 years changed the lives of over 100,000 participants in hopes to create a world driven by engaged citizens and thriving communities. Looking toward the future, EIL seeks to rekindle interest in the great continent by offering accessible short-term, non-credit-bearing education, exchange, and development programs that empower people and strengthen organizations, and also bring people together in one of the most interesting and neglected places in our world.

This capstone proposal offers a particular design that meets the needs of high school students through an accessible EIL model that directly addresses the challenge of education abroad in Africa. The pilot program South Africa: Cultural and Environmental Preservation in a Multifaceted Nation (SACEP) is a five-week summer abroad program based in South Africa for high school students. SACEP will explore the cultural diversity of the “Rainbow Nation” and place special emphasis on connecting culture to the environmental, economic and social dimensions of society. The safe and accessible program strives to stimulate fresh perceptions of Africa, awareness of other cultures, environmental preservation, as well as cross-cultural competence and personal growth. The capstone contributes by 1-returning to the experiential roots of EIL, and 2-modeling changes in evident gap areas of communication, health and safety, evaluation, tour logistics and curriculum to enhance this and other EIL programs.

Keywords: study abroad, experiential education, The Experiment in International Living, South Africa

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