CU students spend time abroad on African safari

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By The Staff

Ashley Sidebottom

Campbellsville University

One of the most enjoyable and life-changing experiences college students can participate in is a study-abroad program.

Campbellsville University offers numerous study-abroad experiences across the world, including programs in Spain, France, Italy, England, Australia, Mexico, Chile, Peru and the Dominican Republic.

"The opportunity to see and experience Kenya on safari was unforgettable," said Dr. Scott Wigginton, associate professor of pastoral ministries and counseling at Campbellsville University.

The "Study Abroad in Kenya" program, led by Wigginton and Chris Sanders, former assistant director for international education, was originally conceived by Dr. DeWayne Frazier, former dean of the Center for International Studies.

Wigginton said a grant provided five Campbellsville University students the opportunity to travel and study in Kenya for about two weeks and to receive academic credit.

"Undergraduate students were chosen from a pool of applicants based on academic achievement, letters of recommendation and a typewritten essay describing how this academic experience would enhance their academic and professional goals," Wigginton said.

The students spent an hour a week during the semester before the trip to prepare for the cultural differences they would encounter on their African adventure.

"The group studied various aspects of Kenyan culture, religion, government, geography, customs and history," Wigginton said. "Taking some basic Swahili lessons helped the students to have a beginner's grasp of the primary language spoken among the 42 tribes of Kenya."

The group flew out of Louisville through Chicago before being laid over in London for a day.

"We had the chance to tour and see sights such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Piccadilly Circus," Wigginton said.

From London, they flew through Johannesburg, South Africa, and on to Nairobi, Kenya. The group was able to participate in photo safaris through some of the finest game parks in East Africa, including: Samburu, Naro Moro, Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha and Masai Mara.

In addition to meeting and visiting Samburu and Masai tribespeople, the group was able to see wildlife, including lions, elephants, cape buffalo, cheetahs, leopards, rhinos, jackals, crocodiles, hippos and warthogs, Wigginton said.

"We were able to witness one of the most famous bird sanctuaries in the world at Lake Nakuru, where as many as one million pink flamingos can be seen on a shallow alkaline lake," Wigginton said.

Katie Irwin of Center, Ky., one of the student travelers, said, "I came back from this trip grateful for all God has created."

Brent Hippler of Manchester, Tenn., another student participant, was amazed by the contrast in how people live.

"We met two indigenous tribes that still live now in much the same way they lived hundreds of years ago - living in mud huts, raising cattle and trading with travelers," Hippler said.

"That anyone could be so content with so little, for these people are some of the poorest on earth, is shocking to a Westerner, but not hard to believe when one stops to take in the beauty of Kenya."

For more information, contact Wigginton at 789-5037.

- Ashley Sidebottom is a staff writer at Campbellsville University.