This summer, Jeanne and I spent two weeks in South Africa with a group of 16 incoming freshman from Michigan State University (MSU). As part of our freshman seminar abroad (FSA) program, we studied youth leadership and activism alongside the young people at Vumundzuku-bya Vana/Our Children's Future (VVOCF), our partner site in Zonkizizwe.
Although we started our trip in Cape Town, four days later we found ourselves in Jo'Burg reunited with our friends at VVOCF. As part of our course together, we learned about a young women's writing group from Gugulethu (a township outside of Cape Town). We also studied the Soweto Uprising of 1976 and went to several museums with our South African friends. Not only that, they joined us on our safari in Pilanesberg National Park.
The best part of the trip, however, was the opportunity for the MSU students to connect with their peers at VVOCF. Our hope is that from this experience both the young people in the U.S. and the youth in South Africa will think more deeply about their purpose. And we will continue to engage them in the process of staying connected to each other and following their curiosity.