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Academics: Interim courses

Ethiopia: Communities of Hope

Curious cheetahs in Ethiopia

Course structure

This interdisciplinary course travels to Ethiopia. Its beautiful physical landscape includes the Rift Valley, mountain ranges, plains and the headwaters of the Blue Nile. Although Ethiopia boasts a surprisingly rich history and culture informed by two thousand years of Christianity, it is also challenged by severe poverty, minimal infrastructure and the AIDS epidemic. In the capital city of Addis Ababa, students celebrate Ethiopian Christmas with host families. Visits to orphanages and clinics highlight the reality of HIV-AIDS in Africa as well as current treatments and health services. In a 5-day trip to the southern region, students have first-hand exposure to Ethiopian culture, including a home stay in a rural community and a game safari.

A second overland trip crosses a variety of geographical and cultural terrains in northern Ethiopia. The trip includes the historical attractions of Gondar, Axum and Lalibela. Students are personally challenged as the complex realities of Ethiopia are explored. Briefings occur at the US Embassy and a variety of successful health and development projects as well as both Coptic and evangelical churches. Students will have opportunities for interactions with Ethiopian educators, social workers, nurses, pastors, and development workers as well as with foreign missionaries.

The general schedule goes as follows:

  • 1 week will be spent traveling in southern Ethiopia
  • 1 week in northern Ethiopia
  • 1 week in the capital city of Addis Ababa

Next offered: January 2014
CCE credit: Available

Course grading

Student learning objectives: appreciate the scope and implications of HIV-AIDS in Africa; understand how geography, history and religion shape Ethiopian culture; enjoy first-hand encounters with inspiring Christian leaders and development workers; gain skill and experience for living and working in a variety of cultural settings different from our own; and strengthen their understanding of the complexities and challenges of development efforts In Ethiopia. Pre-trip preparations include meetings in the fall and advance readings.

Evaluation is based on:

  • student presentations before travelling,
  • a test en route to Ethiopia,
  • directed journaling while in Ethiopia.


Johnathan Bascom, GEO Department

Mary Vander Wal, Nursing Department

Tuition and fees

Fee: $3,750
Prerequisites: None

How to apply

1. Go to the off-campus programs (OCP) website and print an application for an off campus Interim. Also, print one or two recommendation forms from the OCP Web site as these must accompany the application.

2. Application items can be given to Prof. Bascom, North Hall 085.