Shaterica's Study Abroad Trip

As a student of social work I am committed to improving the lives of other individuals and communities. This often involves interacting with people from cultures quite different than my own; and more often than not, it tackles issues such as poverty, human rights, and development.

Of course, the United States is not the only country to face these issues and studying social work abroad will broaden my perspective and deepen my studies. People all over the world are suffering from social injustices, and every country approaches their problems with unique policies. Social work programs abroad bring a fresh perspective of how to approach things and a better knowledge of what works and what doesn’t.

I have been afforded the opportunity to study social work abroad for two full weeks in Africa with the University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work.

The first week, we will join an organization serving 700+ vulnerable children in a residential setting near Lusaka, Zambia. We will interact with the children, work with them in play groups, and join training provided by Patrice Penney for their caregivers and counselors. As a group, we will stay in beautiful guest lodging on the same property. Zambia is a country whose trade language is English, and it has recently had a peaceful transition of power. The organization with whom we will be working is an American organization, with a health clinic and American doctor on location. At the end of the first week, we will take a day in the country around Lusaka, to enjoy a resort, view an elephant orphanage, and other wildlife in a conservation setting.  

From Zambia, we will travel as a group to Cape Town, South Africa, for the second week of service learning. There we will stay at a guesthouse on the outskirts of Cape Town. We will be most likely working with an organization(s) active in the local township, with preschool children and an after-school program. Our partners will coordinate local transport, housing and meals.  At the end of that week, we will spend a day in Cape Town, viewing the spectacular coast, taking the cable car up Table Mountain, and eating at a restaurant specializing in African cuisine. From there, we will return to the US via Johannesburg.

The purpose of this service-learning program is to provide hands-on social work experiences in African settings working with vulnerable children, adolescents, and their caregivers. The goal is for us as social work students to develop practice skills and rich practice experience with diverse children and adults. We will lead groups with children, may participate in psychoeducation and training activities, and one-to-one and group interactions with the children and adolescents in contexts of home, school, and play. One intervention we will use is group Theraplay®, groups that are focused on engaging the children in relational play to build trust, a sense of security, and belonging in the children. As a group, we will also develop social skills, emotional regulation and expression.  We will work alongside African caregivers and counselors who are being trained in Theraplay®.

With student loan debt averaging $29,400 according to the Institute for College Access & Success, taking out more student loans to fund my study abroad trip is not too appealing. Sure, I may have to borrow some money to fund my venture, but why not try to keep that amount as low as possible by utilizing the idea of fundraising, aka friendraising.

If 500 of my friends/supporters donate ONLY $10.00, I will be able to fund my WHOLE study abroad trip without accruing additional debt!

Be in the number my friend and donate $10.00 today! Let the count down begin!


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  • Dya McDowell  
    • $10 
    • 40 mos
  • Lena Middleton 
    • $10 
    • 40 mos
  • Tiffany Bluford 
    • $15 
    • 40 mos
  • Amber Anderson 
    • $20 
    • 40 mos
  • Orrien Williams 
    • $20 
    • 41 mos
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Shaterica Neal 
Columbia, SC
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