Africa International Business InternshipLocation of Program: Malawi, Zambia and South Africa (Africa) Year: 2017
Program Director(s): Kristie Seawright and Larry Baxter
Participating Major(s): All Engineering and Technology Students
The Africa International Business Internship gives participants the opportunity to use their engineering and business skills to create profitable business ventures for Malawian villages. Social, economic and environmental issues created opportunities for the participants’ innovation and creativity to flourish.
Recap of the Year:
Students met with leaders from all over Africa, including political and government, humanitarian, and business leaders. The students asked questions to learn of the different opportunities, issues, and challenges of leading in each of these contexts. Each student learned how to work with a team on a project and use his/her influence to help the Malawian villages understand the benefits of the projects.
Students experienced first-hand how a Malawian village culture works and how to solve problems according to African culture and using the resources they have readily available. This experience taught students to understand and factor in cultural differences to their engineering solutions. They were able to see for themselves unique problems inherent in living conditions vastly different from their own as well as the commonalities that exist across cultures.
This study abroad is unique because technical skills needed to be applied with many constraints. The lack of resources available in a third world country highly tested the student’s ability to innovate and adapt. The students were able to bring together theory and real world application and discovered that lack of resources can inspire creativity and innovation.
“I think going to Africa gave me a more positive outlook on the world and made me want to seek foreign opportunities for the rest of my life”- Taylor Farnsworth
“This experience showed me how complicated third world problems are. It really takes love and patience to help people in a country like Malawi. Even with seeing firsthand how overwhelming some of the problems in these countries are, actually working with the villages gave me a lot of hope for these wonderful people.”- Daniel Flinders