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Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, v14 p48-50 Mar 2007

Colin Smith's experience in South Africa and his research on the role of storytelling in the Xhosa culture met all of the guiding principles of Brigham Young University's (BYU) International Field Study Program: that students are prepared to do serious research in a topic that relates to their major, and that they will be in the host country for at least three months, and will become fully immersed in the local culture. Colin spent more than three months in East London, South Africa. For someone with interest in Apartheid and its aftermath, East London has a wealth of history. From the beginning, BYU's intent in South Africa was to minimize its "footprint" on the local community. From a pedagogical view this was important because BYU did not want to create a "cultural bubble" where its students could retreat from the local culture. From the moment students are accepted into the South Africa program they are trained to view themselves as guests of the local culture who are to interact with and learn from the local culture rather than imposing their own cultural views. This paper discusses the challenges faced by a program of this nature and illustrates the success of Colin in adapting this in-class learning to the environment, becoming involved in the local community, and doing serious academic research.

Descriptors: Story Telling, Racial Segregation, Foreign Countries, Foreign Students, Higher Education, African Culture, Postsecondary Education as a Field of Study, Study Abroad

Frontiers Journal. Dickinson College P.O. Box 1773, Carlisle, PA 17013. Tel: 717-254-8858; Fax: 717-245-1677; Web site:

Autor: Elliott, Timothy Lynn; Johnson, Julie


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