Augsburg News

News Archives - 2003

Learning by Experiencing

April 2003

Classroom in Namibia with native students sitting in a classroom, ready to learn.Education professor Gretchen Irvine promised students that her study abroad course to Namibia would help make them better teachers by learning about another culture through the eyes of its teachers, students, and people they would meet. She didn’t disappoint them.

Thirteen Augsburg students, most of them elementary and secondary education majors, spent three weeks in May-June 2003 based at Augsburg’s Center for Global Education site in Windhoek, Namibia. Traveling around the country, they visited schools and spent time with teachers and students. They learned about the challenges of working with very limited resources while trying to increase access to all children left out by former apartheid and to deal with the HIV/AIDS issues gripping southern Africa.

The travels also included a two-day visit to a national game park, with up-close (but not too close!) viewing of giraffes, elephants, ostriches, zebras, and various kinds of African antelopes and deer. They could even write home about the somewhat-friendly group of baboons at the state park campsite that raided garbage cans every morning.

The lasting memories certainly include the visit to a women’s craft center to dance, laugh, and learn from women who have faced huge difficulties in their lives, and from the inspirational commitment of their director. And certainly in meeting the children throughout Namibia—bright, happy, and curious about the U.S. and this group of young Americans.