Students Lured by Atypical Opportunities Abroad
Angela Rumsey poses with Ugandan children in Busia, a rural area in eastern Uganda.
April 30, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – When junior Jacob Weis decided that he must study in Uganda, he
looked to Illinois Wesleyan for his opportunity. “I transferred from another university
to Illinois Wesleyan so that I could spend a semester in Africa,” said Weis, who will
study this fall in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city, and will also visit Rwanda as part
of an Illinois Wesleyan-affiliated study abroad program, School for International
SIT offers field-based, experiential programs for undergraduate students in nearly
50 countries on six continents. Weis chose Uganda after viewing the film Invisible Children, a documentary about the effects of the on-going civil war on the people of Northern
Weis has spent his time at Illinois Wesleyan preparing for the trip, during which
he will focus his studies on the Ugandan educational system. “I hope that through
my studies I will be able to see what needs to change to help Uganda progress as a
country,” said Weis. He plans to research Ugandan culture, educational opportunities,
teaching style, opportunities for higher education, and how middle schools are run.
Illinois Wesleyan junior Angela Rumsey was also inspired to travel to Uganda after
seeing the film Invisible Children. A Lombard, Ill. native, Rumsey traveled to Kampala, where she attended classes and
completed a six-week internship through SIT during the Fall 2007 semester.
“I lived with a Ugandan family in Kampala, which is a very modern city, went to school
on weekdays, hung out with friends—both Ugandan and American—and went out to eat,”
said Rumsey. “In theory, all these things seemed like home, but they were still very
The anthropology and international studies double major with a concentration in development
studies chose the SIT program because “I was more interested in being active than
just sitting in a different university,” said Rumsey. “I interned with Child Restoration
Outreach, an organization that works with disadvantaged children, where I worked with
them in classrooms, counseling sessions and just playing outside. It gave me experience
that I could have never received just by going to class, even if it was in a different
country and culture.”
Rumsey notes that her work with the SIT program in Uganda not only expanded her knowledge
base, but also enhanced her sense of independence. “I am certain, now, that I will
live and work abroad for a while in my life. I'd love to go back to Uganda but I have
a long list of places to visit,” said Rumsey.
Myla Green, wearing purple, with her co-workers in Andhra Pradesh, India.
According to its Mission Statement, Illinois Wesleyan prides itself on an education
that prepares students to be part of a “global society." Alumna Myla Green takes
this to heart. Since graduating in 2007, Green has been living and working for a non-governmental
women’s rights organization in Andhra Pradesh, India through an American Jewish World
During her work in India, the women’s studies major from Ashland, Mass. has found
that a May Term trip to South Africa helped prepare her for life in a developing
country while her studies at Illinois Wesleyan have been instrumental to her work.
Coursework she completed for her degree has aided her in “making linkages between
women’s issues and greater patriarchal society, having a grasp of women’s roles in
international development, and developing a gender perspective,” said Green, whose
work focuses on research and education relevant to women’s issues.
Among her projects, Green has created a 30-day gender and human rights course, which
she says was largely informed by content from her own women's studies courses at Illinois
Wesleyan and Oxford University, where she spent her junior year through an Illinois
Wesleyan exchange program. “A coworker and I gave a shortened version of the course
to the staff in our office, and now we are advertising it at local women's colleges
and plan to offer it as a certificate course,” said Green.
Upon returning from India, Green hopes to work at a non-government organization in
either New York City or Boston. “I am currently applying and interviewing for more
fellowships and I hope to work internationally again in the not-too-distant future,”
For additional information about study abroad opportunities at Illinois Wesleyan,
visit the International Office Web site at http://www.iwu.edu/studyabroad/. For more information about SIT, visit http://www.worldlearning.org/323.htm.
Contact: Jessica Block ‘09, (309) 556-3181