The UCU East Africa Program was established in 2006 and has been running in its present form since 2008. It was developed by a group of UCU academics in response to the students’ wish for experiential learning and the dream of contributing to making the world a better place.

In a general sense, the program intends to expose students to global diversity, connections and challenges, inspiring principles of global citizenship. More specifically, the program aims at preparing students for work in the area of international development. It is interdisciplinary in nature; students admitted into the program come from different academic backgrounds. For example, they can be students in the medical track with an ambition to work in public health, or students of performing arts, interested in community theater as a medium of facilitating social change. They can be economics students interested in micro-finance, or students dedicated to sustainable development and safe-guarding environment. The program is intended for any student who wants to apply their chosen discipline to understanding global issues.

The UCU East Africa Program is open for 2nd and 3rd year students who have fulfilled their breadth requirement. Participants are selected based on their genuine interest in development issues, interdisciplinary and cross-cultural interests, and intellectual and emotional maturity.

The program consists of:

  •  a level 2 preparatory course at UCU during the Spring semester, The Theory and Practice of Development  (UCINTDEV21)
  •  a level 3 field course on site in East Africa, East Africa Field Course (UCINTDEV31)
  •  a level 2 internship at a host organisation in East Africa, (UCACCINT21)

The three courses may count towards the 180 credits required for a bachelor diploma. The UCINTDEV31 may be used to count as a third level 3 course for a Social Science or Humanities major, but it does not complete a track. Otherwise, these courses do not fulfil any particular graduation requirement.

Comments from program alumni include the following:

“The internship greatly complemented my education at UCU by providing a practical understanding of the various theoretical concepts concerning development I had studied. I learned a lot from what I saw, heard, and experienced. I am grateful for the opportunity as it was truly an unforgettable experience.”

“I learned valuable lessons from my experience in the field. The UCU East Africa program allowed me to meet fascinating and extraordinary people. I also learned the value of nature and became committed to conservation. I learned  a number of things about myself, which I could only have discovered in difficult moments that put one to the test. This has been one of the most precious experiences I have ever had.”

Comments from host organisations on the work that the students carried out include the following:

“Our UCU interns delivered an in-depth research report. The document will be immensely useful in informing our advocacy and lobbying for durable solutions to the problems of internal displacement.”

“UCU produced a detailed report on food security at the household level. Their scientific approach towards food production and agricultural practices will help us identify workable solutions that will enable the community to be food secure.”

“The UCU students managed to undertake an impressive amount of work during the relative short duration and produce a report that was clear, well organized and that provides a nuanced and well substantiated description of the key components of the program.”

Dr. Bas Defize is the Program Administrator, and can be contacted at L.H.K.Defize@uu.nl.

Dr. Longina Jakubowska is the Program Director and can be contacted at L.A.Jakubowska@uu.nl

Students considering this program should discuss the timing of it in their curriculum with their tutor.

Also make sure to read the information booklet, check out the presentation, and if case would like to apply, please fill out the application form.