Ever thought of going to Africa but never knew exactly where to get started? This past Thursday, undergraduates at the College sat on a panel at OCS to discuss their experiences finding and funding opportunities in Africa. The panel included students Chuma Nwachukwu ‘14, Alissa Changala ‘13, Tre Hunt ‘15, Harald Oswin ‘15, and Theresa Gebert ‘15.
While each of these students had different experiences in various African countries – ranging from working at a solar technology company to teaching with WorldTeach – each student recognized the issue of funding for a summer adventure abroad.
Chuma was a recipient of the Weissman International Internship, a grant program that selects 45 students each year to fund in their endeavors abroad. “The Weissman program created a nice sense of community for me,” Chuma said. “Their family hosts a reception with everyone once we were all accepted, and we all kept in contact over the summer and updated each other on what we were doing.”
Besides grant programs like the Weissman internship, there are several other resources to look for international funding as well. “When you’re looking for grants and funding, go in with low expectations and definitely start early,” said Harald, a native of Swaziland. There are two routes one can take when looking for international funding: applying to an internship and a grant at the same time, or to make your own summer itinerary and then apply to a program like the Weissman program once you have it all planned out. OCS suggests structured programs are better for those who are going abroad alone for the first time.
The Committee on African Studies is an important resource for students heading to Africa, as they create a Harvard network by compiling a list of Harvard students in Africa for the summer. “They were also really helpful in giving me things like safety tips and a list of required immunizations, too,” Chuma said.
Julia Eger, ’14