100 things to do before you die? Study Africa.

Pick up a National Geographic, watch the Discovery Channel or surf the web and you'll likely only skim the surface of this nation of contrasts. But for Ruth Anaya getting people to truly grasp an understanding of the urban and rural societies of Africa is a passion close to her heart. Combining her life experience, her work as a Professor of Social Sciences in Nairobi, Kenya and her love for African peoples. Ruth has created a unique travel studies program offered only through Trinity Western University.

Called simply “Kenya Travel Studies,” the program pairs a lust for travel with soul-satisfying humanitarian and professional development work. Travelers will not only see Kenya but will also come away with university courses such as Anth/Comm/Ling 302 - Cross-Cultural Communication, IDIS 450 - Transformational Development and Leadership and Geog 262 - Developing World Urbanization. The courses offered this coming summer cover first hand exposure to extremely important African issues such poverty, gender studies and Aids. In-depth group discussions will be part of the study, helping westerners understand the complex cultures that make up Africa.

Says Anaya, “The word 'stretched' describes the search for understanding Africa's diverse realities. A pre-school orphan silently holding your hand. The girl-child being mother to her siblings. Barefoot boys playing soccer, simply glad to have a ball. Africa's children, people and environment magically touch the soul, forever leaving it changed. I think the greatest value of this dramatic learning adventure is in its transformative capacity. And so for those who can dare to risk facing cultural stereotypes, or social and economic inequities, we provide opportunities for engagement, discovery and insight.”

Anna Starnes who was part of the Kenyan travel studies program last summer says, “To describe the value of the Kenya Travel Study in a tangible way is difficult task. I have learned bountiful amounts of information and life lessons and even today I am still continuing to learn from that Travel Study. The professors, guest speakers, other students, and people we unexpectedly met as we traveled all helped shape the extraordinary education I received in connection with this Travel Study.”

The deadline for application to TWU Travel Studies is January 31, 2007. Those interested in the program can call Ruth Anaya at 604-513-2121 ext 3143 or send an email to rutha@twu.ca.

Prof. Ruth Anaya specializes in the area of culture and leadership. Her success in blending these themes earned her the 2005 “Deans' Innovative Teaching Award” in recognition of course/program development for on-line formats of Cultural Anthropology, graduate courses in acculturation and cross-cultural leadership, and the annual Travel Study programs to Kenya and Guatemala.

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 39 major areas of study ranging from business, communications and education to biotechnology and nursing, and offers 15 graduate degrees in such areas as counseling psychology, business, the humanities, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2007-10-11
Author: Erin Mussolum