Students who are interested in learning more about Isenberg’s Service Learning Trip to South Africa in May 2024 can attend an information session on November 16. Students, faculty, and staff will talk about this year’s plans as well as the experiences they have had in previous years, being immersed in South African culture and gaining international business, non-profit, and NGO experience with objectives that focus on service in rural and northern parts of the country with little access to resources from tourism.
Bradley Bennett, accounting department chair and Ronald C. Mannino faculty fellow, described his experience with recent trips: “You’ll learn about the culture from immersing yourself in it all. I have the most vivid photos of the most beautiful area of the country. We talked to a lot of people who are really proud of their country and will show and tell as much as you’re willing to listen.”
Senior Associate Dean Bill Brown explained that the approximately 30 students travel as representatives of not only Isenberg, but the university and the U.S. Throughout the trip, these students will gain a strong sense of camaraderie with one another and learn the importance of lending a hand to those in need.
Students and faculty members who embark on this journey will visit South Africa as well as countries like Eswatini—formerly known as Swaziland—and other remarkable destinations. In 2024, Cape Town will be a fresh addition to the itinerary.
“This was the best, most memorable experience of my life,” said Olivia Lewis ’26, accounting major. “You will not regret joining us in 2024 if you can make it.”
While overseas, students learn how to support communities and build for future economic growth, all while completing acts of service such as donating computers to schools and teaching local students financial literacy.
Isenberg has partnered with Nourish Eco Village, which provides an array of services from daycare and nursery schools to a place for the local community to sell crafts and food from a sustainable community garden. In 2023, students planted 1,000 seeds and 14 trees for the garden.
Read more about Nourish’s founder Sarah Bergs here.
The service trip also gives students the opportunity to appreciate breathtaking views and take part in conservation efforts. At Kruger National Park, students embark on once in a lifetime safari experience in open-air Jeeps—with the chance to see the diverse South African fauna up close in their natural habitat.
“I took part in the rhino dehorning project,” said Manoela Kawasaki ’26, an accounting major. “We didn’t just watch it happen—I helped clip its ear and take blood for testing. I actually took part in saving the rhinos from extinction.”
Bennet explained the process of how experts and students worked together to humanely clip the horn, similar to cutting a fingernail, and painted the area with purple dye and an antiseptic. This act of conservation insulates the economy from the dangers of poaching.
This year, participating students are expected to receive 30 hours of community service from their involvement. “There is a great balance of service and downtime to explore,” said Kawasaki. In 2023, students visited the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and watched traditional performances of song and dance.
Transportation, accommodations, and food are covered by the trip fee. Participants depart on May 19, 2024, and return June 3.
The first deposit is due on December 15, 2023, but students are encouraged to fill out the interest form as soon as possible at this link. Thanks to the generosity of alumni and donors, there are scholarships available for students in need. Students who have questions or concerns about the financial payment should reach out to Bradley Bennett.
Photos courtesy of Nourish Eco Village: