stories @ TCC
Students to Study in Ghana
Images of Africa tell of desperate lives affected by HIV/AIDS, civil strife and famine. For medical scientist Dr. Geraldine Wright, facts and figures tell powerful stories, too.
The TCC professor of biology explains, “I saw media coverage of AIDS 2006, a symposium that focused on the worldwide AIDS epidemic. When they gave statistics about the number of people who had died of AIDS in Africa, it impressed upon me that this is something we need to act on.”
Act she did, developing a new study abroad course that will take TCC students to Ghana as they study the country’s public health issues, African-American literature and use of mathematics to address social problems. Wright will teach the biology course focusing on public health, while Nita Wood, TCC assistant professor of English, will teach literature, and Peter Agbakpe, TCC adjunct instructor, will lead the math course.
They won’t just study problems, but also solutions. “It would be too narrow to look only at the country’s problems,” Wright explains. “We’re also going to study Ghana’s successes in healthcare delivery and HIV/AIDS prevention. Despite limited resources, they have one of the lowest rates of HIV/AIDS infection in western Africa.”
Once in Ghana, TCC travelers will visit educational institutions and medical clinics at the forefront of addressing the country’s public health problems. Stops may include the University of Ghana, Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and its School of Medicine, as well as a rural clinic in the Volta region of Ghana.
Service projects will round out student learning. In addition to donating much-needed educational supplies, the TCC group will engage in service learning at a Ghanaian computer school for girls and a village-supported orphanage for children who have lost both parents to AIDS.
TCC’s previous service-learning projects have taken student travelers to the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Vietnam. Says Jeanne Natali, the college’s coordinator of international programs, “Service-learning study abroad facilitates and supports a specialized type of global learning – the desire to serve others – that is usually absent from traditional study abroad programs.”