Faculty collaboration offers unique study abroad opportunity in Ethiopia

Appalachian State University students have a new travel option in summer 2019. Dr. Garner Dewey, associate dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts, and Dr. Brian MacHarg, the university’s director of academic civic engagement, will host a faculty-led study abroad experience to Mekele, Ethiopia in May. 

While there, students will spend close to two weeks working with children attending the Mekele Blind School located in northern Ethiopia. Dewey and MacHarg are currently developing the curriculum for the trip, but possible projects include helping the children create journals and develop audio stories. Before departing, they are also planning to convert picture books and maps to 3-D objects and plates to facilitate learning through tactile experiences.

The two faculty members recently traveled to the site to plan for the summer experience. During their 11-day trip, they visited Addis Ababa — the capital city — explored cliff churches hundreds of feet in the air and spent several days on site at the School for the Blind. 

“It was incredible,” shared Dewey. “When we first arrived at the school, we were immediately embraced by the children. They were so open and wanted to spend time talking with us.”

He is looking forward to leading such a unique experience for Appalachian students, and hopes that they get as much out of their trip as he already has from his recent travels.

“This will be a true ‘off the beaten path’ experience for our students. Most everything about Ethiopia is so different from day-to-day life here – on many occasions, you feel like you’ve gone back in time. The sights, the sounds, the smells. It’s truly amazing.”

The trip, titled “Civic Engagement in Ethiopia,” is an honors-level course with just 10 spots for students. The three-credit course will be offered May 16-31, 2019. To learn more, visit https://international.appstate.edu.

About the College of Fine and Applied Arts

Appalachian State University’s College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance.

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

Photo collage of Ethiopia
Published: Nov 29, 2018 9:48am