Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A trip to Africa turns a professor into a development advocate

A professor who did some volunteer education work in Africa now wants to spread the word of what he experienced on the trip. Professor John Alsup says the trip changed his perspective and is now working with international students and will teach more about development issues at Black Hills State University.

From Rapid City Journal, writer Kayla Gahagan has this story on how one volunteer trip impacted John Alsup's life.

Alsup ended up traveling to Africa in July and August of 2007 to teach math in a rural village deep in Tanzania with the help of Global Volunteers, an organization that facilitates nonprofit, short-term volunteer work for people in education and health services.

Alsup shared his work with students and staff at BHSU earlier this year. He has also been called to share with others around the world. Since his trip to Tanzania, Alsup has traveled to Korea, Europe and Greece, as well as several conferences in the U.S., to speak about his trip and his work.

“My passion is education within the developing world,” he said.

His trip to Tanzania was “life-changing,” he said. Many of the African villages have been stricken with HIV and malaria. Poverty is a way of life, and education is often one of the only ways to escape it.

While in Africa, Alsup taught elementary and high school math to 80 students in a packed classroom.

“It was an amazing experience,” he said.

His goal now, he said, is to bring awareness to people in the U.S.

“I want to highlight, emphasize and bring awareness without being righteous about it,” he said, so people will be more conscious of the developing world.

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