EA program takes students to S. Africa

By Hayes Gardner

This summer UK students will have the opportunity to travel to South Africa as part of the program “Writers Bridging Borders.”

The study abroad opportunity is a part of UK’s 2010-11 initiative, “Kentucky and South Africa: Different Lands, Common Ground.”

This writing experience allows students to spend two weeks in Cape Town, South Africa, working for non-profit organizations. Up to 30 students will join UK English professor and accomplished Affrilachian poet Frank X Walker, and UK English Department graduate students Amy Anderson and Jesslyn Collins-Frolich in Lexington and Cape Town for the study abroad program.

During the first summer session, students will meet in Lexington for half of a week to plan the upcoming trip and then spend two weeks in Cape Town. The remaining week and a half will be spent back on campus.

Anderson said while in South Africa, students will spend the majority of their time working on writing projects for non-profit organizations. These organizations are all focused on various aspects of human rights, such as woman’s rights and environmental awareness.

The student-writers will cover the gamut from gathering information and writing articles to working on websites, performing interviews and taking photos. The intention of this service writing is to help these non-profit organizations in their mission.

Collins-Frolich said the students will also have the chance to tour the Cape Town area and sights such as Robben Island and Table Mountain.

In addition to the trip, a spring course is highly recommended to interested students.

“Writers Bridging Borders: Introduction to Service Writing,” is a course centered on service writing and digital media, specifically for the trip to Cape Town. This course will start late and be worth two credit hours.

Beyond the writing, students will learn technology skills, such as photo editing and creating audio slideshows. This course will prime students for their summer trip overseas.

The leaders of the program hope that student-participants will find their experience beneficial.

“I would hope students realize that writing is something that matters beyond the classroom … that it truly makes a difference in the world,” Anderson said.

Collins-Frolich hopes experiencing a new culture will be valuable to students, noting the uniqueness of living and working with people from another culture. She also sees the real-world value of this trip.

“I hope that students will see that writing is dynamic and has implications outside the classroom,” Collins-Frolich said.

Interested students are encouraged to sign up for the service writing spring course.  This class should be available during priority registration.

Students interested can e-mail one of the program’s leaders. Walker can be contacted at [email protected], Collins-Frolich at [email protected] and Anderson at [email protected].