Here’s what makes this program innovative . . .
Antioch Education Abroad (AEA) of Antioch University, in partnership with the University of Buea (UB) in Cameroon developed a semester-long study abroad program – “Community Development in Cameroon.” First offered in Spring 2012, this is a thematic program with two key innovative elements: direct-enrollment and integrated service learning. Students are immersed in the theme of community development through a uniquely-designed seminar course, service learning, and direct enrollment into thematically-related UB courses.
The program is anchored by the Community Development Seminar, co-designed and co-taught by the Program’s Lead Faculty Member (a UB professor) and the Program’s Academic Coordinator at AEA. In this Seminar, students explore the theoretical perspectives of community development and the initiatives that are taking place in Cameroon. Sustainable community development is central in the curriculum and focuses on projects that benefit the current population without adverse cultural, economic, or environmental impacts on future generations. The curriculum is fleshed out by the students’ selection of courses from regular UB offerings, including Community Health Practice; Environmental Economics; Women and Social Policy; and Local Government. The focused list of direct-enrollment courses allows for academic oversight by AEA, continuity in the program theme, and students’ full immersion.
An integral component of the Seminar is the service learning experience. Throughout the semester, students spend at least five hours per week volunteering with an organization working on community development or outreach in Buea. The service learning allows students to pair academic learning with hands-on practical experience, providing an invaluable opportunity to learn from and contribute to the local community, while exploring future career paths.
AEA’s “Community Development in Cameroon” program follows a new model for collaborative programming with our partner universities abroad, which provides our students with a rich academic and cultural experience, and the opportunity to integrate into both the local and academic communities.