Hey everyone, Tracy here.
Being part of the video shoot has definitely gotten me more excited about this whole project! The filming crew was really amazing, and it’s a great confidence booster to meet other people who believe in idea you are pursuing enough to invest much of their own time and resources into it as well. Also, props to Sherol for pulling this whole thing together.
So, what is the idea we are pursuing? To re-iterate: It’s for us, a group of graduate students and post-grads, to visit universities in Africa in order to learn about the higher educational system there and what, if any, part we could have in that system. We also want to get a different view of our own system of higher education through cultural comparison.
That said, as many a graduate student learns over time, big ideas need to be broken down into small action items that eventually lead you to an answer or to a degree, whichever comes first. You may not get everything on the “To Do” list done, and it may change over time, as ideas develop or die off, but it gives you a start.
Here’s our Africa To Do (in no particular order):
1. visit with orphanages. We hope to be able to serve in some orphanages in order to put ourselves to use while we are there, but also to learn. What kind of research would benefit orphanages or the people living in the poorest areas there? What kind of research is already being done? For example, AIDs is already being studied and cures are being searched for, so how is that impacting the people and what do they think of it? How involved are the people and children in research, and how could they be involved?
2. visit with schools. How long are children in school, and who goes to school? What is being taught, and for what purpose? Perhaps we could teach basic subjects like math or give a presentation at the schools about ourselves and our research to inspire young scientists. We could even exchange teaching methods with the instructors of these schools.
3. visit with universities. What does the university life look like? Who goes to university, and what do they study? What kind of research is happening? Is there a need for professors from first world countries to come teach? What do the universities see for their future, and how do people not in university view them? We could also give research presentations and connect with fellow graduate students.
4. visit with government. How do government and universities and schools work together? What kind of research is government sponsored or involved in?
5. visit with hospitals. How do hospitals and universities work together and what kind of research is happening through hospitals? Is there a need for medical workers or educators from first world countries? What kind of medicine is practiced in hospitals, and what is done outside of hospitals? For example, the west has become more accepting of eastern medicines over time, so are there other non-western medical practices that we could learn about? Perhaps we could also be of service in hospitals while we are there, doing menial or skilled tasks depending on our abilities.
Any suggestions of either groups we should try to connect with or questions we should be asking while we are there?