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School of Family and Consumer Sciences

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Anna Tower

Traveling to another country is fast becoming one of the best ways to both set yourself apart and to widen your horizons. Three of our FCS Students, Demetris Lawrence, Amber Rigsby, and Anna Tower have chronicled their Study Abroad adventures in a blog for you to follow along.

Their journeys are a part of the South Africa Study Abroad trip administered by the School of Family and Consumer Sciences here at Eastern Illinois University. This trip offers a full semester's load of classes (up to 15 credit hours) in addition to plenty of opportunities to absorb South African culture and heritage.

Classes Available

This study abroad trip offers the chance to complete the internship requirements necessary for your FCS undergraduate degree. In addition, the following classes are offered:

Class ID

Class Title

STA 3970/5970 Orientation (required class to be completed BEFORE departure)
FCS 3853 Child Development Practicum
FCS 4275 Undergraduate Internship
FCS 4686 Brain Development
FCS 4840 Disadvantaged Family
FCS 4845 Family in Crisis
FCS 4854 Parent-Child Study and Community Involvement
FCS 5990 Graduate Independent Study
FCS 5980 Graduate Internship

As always, before planning any course of study, make sure you contact your academic advisor to see if Study Abroad is right for you. Side effects may include new friendships, increased cultural awareness, and a burning desire to try new things. Like bungee jumping! (One of the activities of the trip)

Still, it is hard to know if Study Abroad is right for you, based upon reading a few paragraphs of text on a website and looking at a couple of pictures.

This is where our three FCS friends come in. Anna, Amber, and Demetris have chronicled their journeys to South Africa and we invite you to browse through their adventures.

While it appears to be more pictures and text, what's hidden in these online journals is the emotions, experiences, and discoveries of their individual trips.

Underneath each of the pictures is a link to the student's blog. If you would like specific details about the Study Abroad trip, keep scrolling!


Student Blogs

Demetris! AmburrrINSouthAfrica


Demetris' Encore Journey Amber's Spiritual Journey Anna's Long Walk to South Africa

Getting the Skinny on Study Abroad: South Africa

The trip consists of three phases, 4 weeks in Cape Town, 5 weeks in Port Elizabeth, and 5 weeks in Chintsa. And a Safari!

Cape Town

Upon your arrival to South Africa, the first things students do is attend several safety meetings to instruct them on how to get through South Africa with minimal disturbances. The next few days are spent absorbing the culture of Cape Town, visiting tourist attractions, local schools, and taking classes.

These cultural activities include visiting various historical sites (Cape Castle, Slave Lodge, The Company Gardens, District Six Museum, Bo Kaap Museum, Solms-Delta Wine Estate, and Robben Island), visiting various nature sites such as Hout Bay, the Cape of Good Hope National Park, Boulders Beach (penguins!), the Lion's Head, and a visit to the Thembani Primary School in Langa, in the Cape Town Flats.

mountains SchoolinCapeTown
View of the Cape Town Skyline Thembani Primary School in Langa

There are also many other activities during the first four weeks in Cape Town; too numerous to talk about here. Hopefully you get a good idea what this portion of the trip is about! Want to know more? Contact Dr. Murphy for further details.

As mentioned, in between these activities, students complete the orientation course, go hiking, take African drum lessons, meet with the staff of Beth Uriel center and even get chances to experience the night life in Cape Town. And the cuisine! Students get every opportunity possible to try a variety of new and interesting foods.

Port Elizabeth

The portion of the trip in Port Elizabeth begins the internship part of the semester's program. Internships are offered in various school settings (Charles Duna and Tshume Primary Schools), or teaching computer literacy; students also help with a children's sports development program. Other available options include helping out with community health programs and also providing basic support for community development (Emmanuel Advice Care Center).

Emmanuel_Advice_Care_Center Jerusalem_Orphanage
Demetris at the Emmanuael Advice Care Center Jerusalem Home for At Risk Children

Students spent time planning lessons and activities at a variety of sites, some listed above. The 2013 trip took students into three major township areas; New Brighton – W. B. Tshume and Charles Duna Primary Schools, in Kwanoxolo – Emmanuel Advice Care Center, and finally Kwazakhele – Jerusalem Home.

CharlesDunaPrimarySchool Ellie!
School Assembly at the Charles Duna Primary School Elephant in the Addo Elephant National Park

Port Elizabeth isn't without exciting side trips; Students visit the Knysna Elephant Park and the Addo Elephant National Park, go ziplining through the trees canopy in Tsitsikama, bungee jumping, and staying at a backpacking lodge where students get to enjoy a braii (outdoor barbecue) and hang out with an international crowd at the bonfire after the braii. On this last trip, students met people from Germany, Australia, and other parts of South Africa.


Chintsa is a village in the Wild Coast region of the Eastern Cape province. It is situated 38 km north-east from East London, at the mouth of the Cintsa river. In this portion of the trip, volunteer interns worked in two different projects: The African Angels Independent School in Chintsa, and the Gwegwesha Day Care Center in Mzwini.


Grade 3R Classroom

Pictured Above: Students in the Grade 3 Classroom. The children loved having EIU students helping them out!

Pictured Left: Students and Staff of the African Angels Independent School in Chintsa having a meeting. The kids are oh so thrilled! Just goes to show kids and adults on all continents feel the same way about them!

African Angels is a non-profit organization based in Chintsa in the Eastern Cape of South Africa that provides quality primary education to the poorest rural children in the area. The school was created and founded by an act of kindness of Lou Billett, who is originally from Kurrajong, New South Wales.

Chinsta_kids chintsa_buildings

Staff and Students of the Day Care Center

Gwegwesha Day Care Center in Mzwini

The second project in Chintsa was at the Gwegwesha Day Care Center, which is a new crèche (means Day Care) in Mzwini. Mzwini is a place with a very small population in the province of Eastern Cape, South Africa. Students are tasked with helping the Day Care Center improve their facilities; building and expanding the capabilities of the school. The assignment is officially referred to as construction maintenance.

construction workBAMBOOwork
Shoveling ingredients for concrete Just making a bamboo wall

The work is hard, there is no denying that. Students use pick axes, shovels, and a variety of hand tools to dig holes, move rock, cut bamboo, and even pour concrete. Don't let that deter you. The work is immensely rewarding; as you get to know the people of the community you begin to realize what it means for them to have these new things and the work doesn't seem so hard after all.


So! Are you interested? Want more information? Want to talk to a professional? Scroll down for even more details.

Video of the Trip:

Contact Information:

Dr. Frances Murphy
Lumpkin Hall 4110

Further Links:

Study Abroad Auxiliary Website

Study Abroad Departmental Website


There is also an Italy trip!

Italy Trip Details

Related Pages

Contact Information

Family and Consumer Sciences

1030 Klehm Hall
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-6076
Fax: (217) 581-6090

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