Finding Value in South Africa: Students Put Global Media into Practice

By Jon Mark Beilue
The class is Global Media and Social Change. For nine West Texas A&M University students, one graduate student, two high school students from Wellington and Dumas and Dr. Enyonam Osei-Hwere, associate professor of media communications, they took that class title to heart. On Dec. 30, they, along with Connie McKee, director of forensics, found themselves on a 25-hour collection of flights from Amarillo to Dallas to Chicago to Vienna, Austria, and finally, to their destination a world away, or at least 14,265 miles away – Cape Town, South Africa. “Students are stunned when they leave the (Cape Town) airport,” said Osei-Hwere. “That’s one of my favorite things to see their reaction and what it looks like. Mountains, beaches, forests. They have no idea.”

There for the next two weeks, WT students weren’t there necessarily for the unexpected beauty that surrounds Cape Town, but to put into practice the class they had just completed in the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts …

The Parent Perspective; A True Compliment!

By R. Brady
This year my family celebrated the new year twice in one day. The first time was a nail biter. To explain, I have to jump back in time. Just a few days earlier we had sent our son back to college after spending Christmas break at home. He needed to pack up things back at his home-away-from-home and get ready to leave on a trip to South Africa. He is part of a study abroad group from West Texas A&M University.

Back to the nail biting. As parents of three college students, my wife and I are working through the process of watching our children transition into adults. They are moving away, planning a wedding, traveling to a foreign country, and forgetting to text their mom. All during the Christmas break. This makes life a little tense at times.

All was good after we heard that our son and his group had safely arrived in Cape Town after several days of travel. They arrived just in time to ring in the new year on South Africa time, which is 8 hours ahead of us. We…

Cape Town Sundays on a Study Abroad Trip

By Jordan Conde and Katy Zimmerman
After a night free to ourselves, where getting some much needed rest seemed to be the best option was, as typical, ignored. The only possible opportunity to "sleep-in" like our normal American lives was thrown away in search for experience. The few minority that chose this path decided to feel more culturally endowed and chose to participate in a church sermon in the morning (or for around this part of the country, 9:30 AM.) Yes I know, truly terrifying! 

A typical and reasonable time to be awake. Shockingly enough, Church in Cape Town is reasonably familiar to our southern US sermons. Even though an ocean apart, such a religion is filled with the same amount of energy just as it is back home. The same community of faith and the same purpose for why such a community exist is nothing but the same. Those of whom attended found new found friends even in such a distant land. All that went also decided to adapt to milk and tea, which was a comfort…

Making the Most of a Cape Town Saturday

By Katy Zimmerman and Patrick Osei-Hwere
The morning started off late, compared to other days, as we ventured off to the market at about 11 a.m. Some shopping in Cape Town was just what the doctor ordered. A necessary time  away from the hectic work days the group experienced when service projects began earlier in the week.

Greenmarket Square We are now staying at The Mandela Rhodes Place which is only few blocks from a thriving African street market known as Greenmarket Square. Many of us had to learn and practice the art of haggling on the fly, the result wins and losses. Big wins for "seasoned" hagglers returning to Cape Town and some losses for some newbies but a great experience all the same. Shopping at Greenmarket Square proved successful and happy with loots consisting of a variety of sculptures, paintings, traditional drums, pillow cases, beads, hair bands and other accessories as gifts for self, family and friends.

Next we went on to grab lunch at different restaur…

The Tale of Two Views - Mountain or Ocean

By Patrick Osei-Hwere and Connie McKee
We head out today to approximately the farthest and highest landmarks of Cape Town for differing views and experiences of the city. At 07:45 hours on a 62°F Monday, the vans head southwest towards Robben Island - infamously known for holding political prisoners such as the late Nelson Mandela. Robben Island It's a perfect day for the trip - calm seas, clear skies, and the stunning waterfront. But as the Krotoa (the Robben Island ferry named after the female political prisoner banished to the island in 1669) rolls away from the shoreline one cannot help but reflect on a similar trip - just 50 years ago; the last trip for some on board, or for others, a one-way trip for at least decades. Banishment. One last look at the waterfront - home, family, community receding. Did resolve flicker? Did they have enough to keep hope and themselves alive?
Robben Island warrants multiple trips - the first is never enough. This is Connie’s second trip and it…

Western Cape Peninsular, The Stunning One!

By Connie McKee and Alex Kypfer
Welcome to day four of the South Africa trip.  This is Alex and Connie and we are very excited about the events of today.  It’s an early call again this morning.  We must be on the bus by 7:45AM, but it will be an exciting day going on the Peninsula tour which means we will see Cape of Good Hope, seals, and penguins.  All of us are a bit bleary eyed as we get on the bus.  The eight hour time difference is hard to get adjusted to especially since we have been seeing so much.  Our tour guide greeted us and gives us the itenary for the day.  We take off to cross Table Mountain and soon our bus stalls, we think to ourselves, this will be our glitch for the day.  Fortunately the bus started back up and we were on our way.  We crossed the mountain and arrive at Hout Bay where we boarded a boat to go to Duiker
Island which is a breeding colony forthe caper fur seal.  

Before leaving the dock we were able to watch a few seals and see a jelly fish and baby swimmin…

All Day Safari Fun and Dinner on the Ocean Front

By Dane Glenn
Early RiseBuses for the game reserve left at 6 AM, Cape Town time. And I mean left, meaning we had to be up and ready by 5:45 and the bus headed for the reserve 15 minutes after. We all made it, barely. Fortunately, the trip took two hours. A nice cozy nap. Well, maybe not cozy, but sleep regardless.

Aquila Game Reserve A number of Zzzzzzs later, we pulled up to Aquila Private Game Reserve and Spa, curved stone walls beckoning us to join the food buffet and safari, or in worst case scenario, become the buffet at the safari. But first, champagne! Well, sparkling wine, actually. And carbonated fruit juice for those abstaining or under legal drinking age. We sipped on our welcome drinks, filing into the entrance, brushing shoulders with other tourists of different ethnicity. Breakfast was simple, endless, with a touch of African season and class. We filled our bellies then took our seats aboard the safari truck; inch thick plywood topped with padding, open-air bed with seats …

A Day for the Momentary Slow Pace in Cape Town

By Dane Glenn, Chase Brady and Hannah Frick
Hello, and welcome to another exciting adventure in Cape Town, South Africa, where mountains look like tables,Mandela still affects, and penguins are aplenty. On this exciting journey, we are tagging along with Hannah and Chase, both WT students. You can check out their VLOG by clicking this link. Day of Rest We had until 3:30 pm to sleep. Or shop. Or do whatever. Point is, we were able to rest and chill. Going full throttle, nitrous tank opened wide, we were ready to refuel. Some of us took advantage of the pause, taking an extended vacation in dreamland. Others checked out early, tackling the city for amenities, things we forgot to pack, gifts, and of course, lunch. Cocoa Wah Wah Within walking distance from Little Scotia are restaurants, supermarkets, malls and a number of other stores all peddling different services capitalizing on our tourist inclinations. Our humble resort away from home sits off the main road, our own little stretch o…

Meet, Greet & Painting the Town Red

By Dane Glen, Ellee Chambers and Frank Navarrete
Each day, at least two from our little gang of daring adventurers will put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard or Vlog in order to give their thoughts on the transpired day; a reflection. Frank and Ellee (WT Staff member and Wellington High School student respectively) join us for Day #2 of the Cape Town study abroad trip. Jet lag and four hours of sleep hurts. All light hurts, a slight sting behind the retinas. Eyes puffy and swollen with travel, we slowly blinked and squeezed them shut multiple times to adjust. Our disorientated minds limply jogged behind, wheezing down the path of a morning to which we are unaccustomed. Welcome to the first full day abroad.

Little Scotia Guest HouseFood. Water. Coffee. The latter was a priority, the middle a necessity, and the former a demand considering the snack of a dinner on the plane, that is if it was eaten at all. We were all asked to be ready by 8:00AM. Yes, in the same AM in which we went to …

The Long Journey to South Africa

By Dane Glenn and Maria Valles
We were up before sunrise, eager to skip the journey and arrive at our destination. But since reality does not have a fast forward button, or gratuitous montage sequence software, we were stuck; forced to deal with long lines, day-old clothes, TV dinner inspired food,and sleep as consistent and refreshing as American politics. Travel days (yes, plural) had arrived.
Welcome to Cape Town Study Abroad version 2.0. The inaugural trip took place over the course of Spring Break of 2018. Almost two years later, the second journey has started, taking place over New Year’s Eve and into mid-January, the sequel started. Sixteen travelers altogether: eight WT students, one student each from Wellington and Dumas High School, two WT staff members, three WT faculty, and an adorable plus one chose to take part in the program.
Dallas Our point of origin, at least in terms of booked flight out. We all found our way down to the Big D. Alarms breached the silence, some of …

The Maiden Trip

By Enyonam Osei-Hwere

In the spring semester of 2018, Dr. Enyonam Osei-Hwere led 13 undergraduate and 6 graduate students enrolled in the Global Media and Social Change course, Johnny Story, the broadcast engineer and 2 faculty members on a groundbreaking study abroad trip to Cape Town, South Africa ready to serve with the hope of making a difference. This trip was one that left students with something unique, that one can only experience in the thick of the social climate of a post-apartheid, new democracy that is Cape Town, South Africa.

During the ten days in Cape Town, students immersed themselves in the culture and history of South Africa by working closely with three non-profits organizations: Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, Aspire Youth and The Big Issue. Students and faculty were split into three separate groups, working closely with each organization, and spent multiple days working in townships (impoverished towns where black Africans were relocated during the apartheid syste…

Our 2019 Experiential Learning Course and Travel to Cape Town

By Enyonam Osei-Hwere

The 2019-2020 course proposed for the faculty led program will be a study abroad course cross listed for both undergraduate and graduate students.

The course will focus on Global Media; Social change and Development and explores the role media can play in bringing change and results to social issues in developing countries globally with an emphasis on Africa and South Africa specifically.

The course is offered during Fall 2019 with the travel component for the faculty‐led program scheduled for December of 2019 – January 2020, these dates are purposeful and take into consideration weather conditions in Cape Town.

The program is an embedded program with a two week travel component. This set‐up is ideal because of the production focus of experiential learning projects students will design and develop for the 3 nonprofit organizations we will be working with in Cape Town, South Africa. The structure of the program also allows the group to effectively prep and exec…