Study Abroad Gives Students Wealth of Experience
South Africa is a destination for Steinhardt students studying social transformation and educational reform. A summer program created by clinical professor Teboho Moja of the Department of Administration, Leadership and Technology offers graduate students a chance to use theory and practical skills acquired at Washington Square and apply them to studies abroad.
“On an annual basis Steinhardt sends approximately 450 students to study abroad sites in Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa during January intersession and summer session,” said Helen Kelly, director of the Office of Special Programs, who coordinates the school's study abroad programs.
Moja, a South African who served as special advisor to South Africa's Minister of Education, now lives in New York City. She sees her native country as a place where “there have been great achievements in a short period of time.”
Since it started eight years ago, more than 110 students from Steinhardt, Stern, and Gallatin have visited cities and rural villages to meet people who are grappling with reform issues on a daily basis. Moja believes that many of the issues people face in South Africa are universal and she encourages her students to compare what they see in the South African classrooms to classrooms in the United States.
Colleen Larson, an associate professor in educational leadership in Steinhardt's Department of Administration Leadership and Technology, serves as the students' research guide. She has helped students structure their research on AIDS in the schools, leadership in higher education and K-12 schools, racial equity in education and employment, as well as financial and gender issues in education.
“One of the true strengths of this study abroad program is Professor Moja's connections to key policy makers and government officials in the country,” Larson says. “Because of these connections, we are able to link students to people in South Africa who not only share their concerns, but who are playing a critical role in shaping South Africa's future.”
Students describe the South African study abroad experience as one in which they were able to ‘give something back' to those less fortunate. Abby Berenson, a student in Moja's program, described a spontaneous act of charity from NYU students who pooled their pocket money to pay the Nellmapius Primary School's phone bill.