Nine APU students, one instructor, a nurse and a graduate teaching assistant journeyed to Malawi Africa for a course called “Community Psychology in Action: Malawi Africa.” Community Psychology explores the relationship of the individual to communities and the wider society. The goal of community psychology is to enhance the quality of life through collaborative action and research. More specifically, the class explored how to make one useful and integrated in a community with only three weeks….
How does this translate to actual learning and experiences? The APU class fully embraced the idea of active learning by immersing in the daily activities and rhythms of village life in Malawi. We rode in dugout canoes and fishing boats, we walked miles to wait in the sun for the occasional motola, we went to villages to work on a research project that measures the growth rates of the orphans, we played football and ran in the early morning with the local people, we attended church, we shopped at the local markets, we laughed, conversed, and made mistakes. As one student said “It was tough for me at first. I thought go with it, go experience it. This is how things are here, enjoy it. I had support from my classmates in the uncomfortable… And we became a family.”
This class was so successful that one student plans to return in April 2011 to teach in the local Malawi school. Malawi is known as the warm of heart of Africa and its community and people did indeed warm our hearts forever.