Uganda has been known as “The Pearl of Africa” since Winston Churchill traveled there in 1907. Uganda features nearly all of Africa’s iconic landscapes, from the savannahs in the east that are home to big game animals, to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in the west that is home to Africa’s Mountain Gorillas. Between are glossy lakes, lush forests, monkeys sitting on the side of the road and other exotic fauna and flora.
That’s the backdrop for Uganda’s stories; some sad, some intriguing and some inspiring. Uganda is also home to more than a dozen ethnic groups that peacefully live and work together. Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been the case.
This program takes students off the beaten path to the Pearl of Africa to experience its natural beauties and cultures; its challenges and solutions. Students will talk to former child soldiers and the people who helped them recover. They will meet with rural subsistence farmers and see what it takes to survive in sub-Saharan Africa. Visiting both a rural health clinic and the capital’s premier health center will display the diversity of living in the region. Meetings with a number of NGOs operating in Uganda will introduce students to the work of activists, academics and government officials and give them a deep understanding of the issues they work on.
The personal meetings and first-hand experiences will provoke thoughtful discussions within the group and with local experts. Your experience in East Africa would not be complete, though, without also experiencing why Uganda is the pearl of the continent through game drives, seeing the headwaters of the Nile River at Murchison Falls, the utter tranquility of Lake Bunyoni and much more. You will interact with locals from various ethno-linguistic groups. Visit a Pigmy village, meet a traditional healer (often called a witch doctor), and learn the history of the various ethnic groups in Uganda. At the very end of the trip students will also go to Kigali, Rwanda where they will visit the Nyamata Church, the Kigali Genocide Memorial and more.
There isn't any other capstone as impactful as this one. The Global Livingston Institute and Dr. Warby are really invested in helping others learn about Uganda and Rwanda. . . . I would highly recommend this program to anyone is looking to go outside of their comfort zone and learn about what life is like outside of the U.S. and Iowa specifically. It really is a life-changing experience that's hard to organize for yourself. - Cassidy, summer 2019
This trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We talked to so many cool people making a difference in Uganda. This trip is challenging me to think outside the box to find ways to help people around the world and even in my community. We also went to a National Park and saw elephants, giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, warthogs and so much more! - Erica, summer 2019
Brian Warby, Assistant Professor
Department: Political Science
Campus Address: SAB 356
Brian is a professor in International Relations. He has lived outside of the US and has traveled to all 6 inhabited continents. Brian led capstone students to Brazil for 3 years and is looking forward to taking students to East Africa for a second time!
CAP 3125: Globalization, Cultural Pluralism and International Security (3 credit hours)
Capstone courses are intended to deal with complex issues that are addressed from multidisciplinary perspectives, and some specifically deal with topics related to beliefs, behaviors and critical thinking approaches related to civic engagement. In this course we will talk about both the good side and bad side of globalization and different aspects of international security, which include security from personal harm, poverty, migration, environmental degradation, and national security.
The course will focus on the solutions that various actors have implemented to try and address these issues. The course will include instructor lectures, student presentations, experiential learning – such as tours of historical or cultural sites – and group reflection and discussion. This study abroad experience includes a great deal of structured activities, but with occasional down time for students to rest and process their experiences. The coming together of students from various academic backgrounds will challenge everyone to think about the key concepts and themes from new perspectives. To view the course syllabus, click HERE.
Participation in this program requires several class meetings throughout the spring semester. Please contact the program's course leader for more information.
- In order to receive Capstone credit, program participants must have completed 60 credits hours prior to the program s course start date (i.e. be of Junior standing). Students who participate in capstone programs without meeting the credit hour prerequisite will receive elective credit. In this instance, students should consult with their academic advisor(s) regarding how the elective credit fits into their specific plans of study.
- Students planning to participate in the spring commencement ceremony in May can enroll in this summer term program, however, their degree will not be conferred until the end of the summer term and is contingent on the successful completion of the program and all required coursework.
- Students attending colleges and universities other than UNI are welcome to participate in this program. If you are not currently a UNI student, but would like to participate in this program, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.
- Capstone courses cannot be repeated. If you have previously taken this capstone course, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.
Tentative Program Dates: Wednesday, May 13, 2020 (depart the U.S.) to Friday, May 29, 2020 (return to the U.S.)
Sample itinerary is subject to change.
Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required for entry into Uganda. Due to a shortage of the vaccine, program participants will need to travel to select clinics in the Midwest in order to be vaccinated. As of August 2019, clinics offering the vaccine were located in Ames, Des Moines, and Bettendorf, Iowa. For more information on Yellow Fever, visit https://www.cdc.gov/yellowfever/index.html
Day 1: Arrive in Kampala, Uganda
Day 2: Orientation and introduction to accommodations and community; currency exchange; visit Tuspa peanut butter factory, Katanga slums and Mulago hospital.
Day 3: Stop by the US Embassy to learn about what the US government is doing to help Ugandans work through the challenges they face; visits to Jibu Water, Tugende Motorcycles for discussion on microfinance, discussion on human trafficking with a local scholar.
Day 4: Visit Social Innovation Museum, community welcome BBQ
Day 5: Visit Gaddafi Mosque, gifted to the Muslims of Uganda by the Libyan government under the rule of Muammar Gaddafi; stop at a local craft market, where students can see and purchase a variety of handmade items. Tour and interact with faculty and students at Makere University, one of the best universities in Africa and the largest in Uganda, before traveling to Lira.
Day 6: Travel to Murchison Falls, where the Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and cascades down to become a placid river whose banks are thronged with hippos and crocodiles, waterbucks and buffaloes. The vegetation is characterized by savannah, riverine forest and woodland. Wildlife includes lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, and many bird species.
Day 7: Visit Rachele Rehabilitation Center, a rural health clinic, the “Babies Home” orphanage (and have lunch with the Catholic nuns who run it), and a former internationally displaced persons (IDP) camp that was attacked by Kony’s rebels. Meet people who survived the attack, the memorial the government built and see the village that has grown out of the ashes.
Day 8: Return to Kampala, free afternoon; discussion with Anita, a local scholar and expert on Arts and Culture in East Africa
Day 9: Travel to Lake Bunyoni, visit with Uganda Marathon, an NGO that supports other organizations in the region by serving as a fundraising platform.
Day 10: Tour the Model Farm and Bright’s Village; visit the Echuya Batwa people, often called Pigmies, are generally recognized as the first inhabitants of the south-western region of Uganda near Kabale town. They were relocated by the government to a number of small villages. One of these villages happens to be near Entusi. You’ll feel welcome when they perform their traditional welcome dance.
Day 11: Excursion to Kabale town with a visit to the NGO, Reproductive Health Uganda, and time to explore the football (soccer) stadium and local markets.
Day 12: Visit with a traditional healer and learn about his traditional practices
Day 13: Travel to Musanze Rwanda, Sonrise Academy and Vulcana Lounge
Day 14: Tour Sorwathe Tea Plantation and Hope Haven, which provides quality education to hundreds of Rwanda's most vulnerable children
Day 15: Visit Kigali Genocide Memorial and Nyamata Church Memorial Center; depart for USA, arrive in USA on following day
Housing & Meals
Students will stay in housing arranged by the Study Abroad Center through our partner organization and paid for before departure. Expect simple, dorm-style to rustic housing with limited access to Wi-Fi. Breakfasts and dinners while abroad are built into the cost of the program. Students will pay for lunches out-of-pocket while abroad. Students are encouraged to be flexible, to live in the moment, and to be willing to try the local foods.
Dates & Deadlines
The Study Abroad Center reserves the right to determine participants' eligibility to Study Abroad. Students must meet all of the following in order to be eligible to Study Abroad:
- Have a cumulative 2.5 GPA or higher at the time of application and maintain this GPA prior to departure and throughout the study abroad process
- If your cumulative GPA is between 2.40 to 2.49, submit the following to the Study Abroad Center (28 Gilchrist):
- A letter of reference from your academic advisor supporting your pursuit of study abroad
- An essay, which should explain why your cumulative GPA is below a 2.50, include how your cumulative GPA is stable or improving, a detailed plan for improving your academic performance a strong academic and/or personal interest in your study abroad location and/or course, and a compelling academic rationale for studying abroad.
- If your cumulative GPA is between 2.40 to 2.49, submit the following to the Study Abroad Center (28 Gilchrist):
- Must be over the age of 18 years old
- Must meet the course prerequisites (participation in the program is dependent upon meeting these)
- Must be in good standing with the University
- UNI's partner institutions may require additional eligibility requirements to be met, these vary from institution to institution. Please consult with the Study Abroad Center staff to discuss these additional requirements if applicable.
- Applicants traveling to a region of a country or a country with an overall Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or 4 (Do Not Travel) will not be eligible.
- All study abroad applicants must pass the Study Abroad Applicant Assessment with a score of 70% or greater.
- Applicants may be selected for an in-person interview before being accepted. Selection for an interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program. You will be contacted directly by the Study Abroad Center if selected for an interview.