South Africa Initiative Once Again Brings Rutgers Students Across the Globe to Work and Learn

This summer a diverse group of students and educators participated in the 12th annual Rutgers Graduate School of Education South Africa Initiative (SAI).

SAI is an interdisciplinary program that bridges cultures by providing educators an opportunity to exchange information through service-learning, training, and distance technology leading to pedagogical gains for students and educators in both South Africa and the United States. It was launched in the fall of 2001 to provide access to knowledge, support, and resources that are critical to student achievement. Participants enroll in the 3-credit hybrid course “Special Problems in Educational Theory: Exploring Race, Culture & Society: Post-Apartheid South Africa” which explores the complex social and educational issues facing South Africa through lectures, discussions, readings, blogging, and two-weeks of cultural immersion.

The 2014 SAI immersion course began with group activities, training in blogging and lectures by Rutgers educators and SAI alumni. During the first week abroad, the program’s eight participants visited museums which illustrate the history of South Africa and the struggle to end Apartheid. The group also visited three organizations in Johannesburg that work with at-risk youth, devoted to empowering orphans and youth.

The second half of the trip was spent at the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein. While here, the group attended lectures with nationally renowned South African scholars, including the Rector (President) of UFS, Dr. Jonathan Jansen. They learned about South Africa’s history, language, culture, politics, and education system. Along with daily lectures the participants visited local organizations dedicated to uplifting disadvantaged children and communities affected by poverty. 

The participants shared their reflections and educational experiences abroad via individual blogs. You may view the blogs below:

Enrique Noguera–

Liza Levitt-Tighe–

Marleni Marte –

Rasheeda Williams –

Maraina Montgomery-

Lissette Carrion-Trujillo-

Kelley Williams –


To learn more about SAI, visit the program webpage here