February 21, 2017
By Emily Lapinski
Fourteen Dominican students along with Professor’s Adrian Kok and Kristin Bodiford are traveling to Entebbe, Uganda to work with an organization called Health Nest Uganda to tackle health related problems and other social needs.
While most students will be spending their spring break on the beach or bumming around at home, these students will be hard at work.
“We will be learning about the sustainable ways people have learned to help themselves and will incorporate Human Centered Design strategies in our own efforts,” Bodiford said.
Dominican’s Graduate School of Social Work emphasizes global learning. Not only are students encouraged to complete their field placements abroad, but faculty members organize shorter trips for students who are unable to go abroad for an extended period of time.
The Community Based Participatory Research course taught by Kok and Bodiford is a perfect example of how global learning is incorporated into the classroom. The semester long course features a two-week trip to Uganda where students can put their research skills into practice.
“Last year’s trip took place in May and these students will be building off what we started,” Kok said. “This year we put the trip in the middle of the course so that we can reflect on the experience after.”
During the start of the semester students analyzed data on the experiences of older adults living in Uganda. On a broader level the students will also be working with HelpAge, as this is gerontology infused course. Students did their part in gathering supplies for the trip.
“Some students raised money and collected donations for the trip which is awesome,” Bodiford said. “The Butler Center donated a lot of books from the library which was also greatly appreciated.”
When they arrive in Uganda, students will engage in an orientation and team building activities, work in participatory data analysis groups, participate in ideation sessions, community story circles and other field work and will end their trip with three day safari.
“I am most excited about meeting Ugandan natives and learning from them,” student Elizabeth Rosario said. “I am excited to learn about their cultures and ways of life. Even though we are invited due to our abundance of resources in research statistics, I feel that I will be learning from them more than they will be learning from us. This is because I will be exposed to culture that is completely different than my own.”
The group leaves February 24 and will return March 10. Stay tuned for photos and stories from their trip abroad.