BC Alumni Abroad: South Africa 2015

October 21, 2015

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In May of 2015, 33 Bridgewater College alumni and friends, along with President and Mrs. Bushman, journeyed to South Africa. The trip was led by Dr. Jamie Frueh, Professor of History and Political Science and Director of the Center for Engaged Learning, who, since 2007, has led both students and alumni to South Africa on six occasions. Frueh has made many personal trips to the nation, as well—so many that he says, “I have spent more than two years of my life in South Africa, if you add it all together.” Below are some impressions of the 2015 trip from Frueh and alumni who participated.

Jamie Frueh, Professor of History and Political Science

“The Alumni Abroad trip to South Africa and Zambia was an adventure in the best sense of the word. We experienced the natural topographical beauty and animal wildlife of Africa first hand, and there were many opportunities for everyone to push the comfort zones typical of our own culture. More importantly, we interacted with people who understand the world so differently and learned about their cultures and values. Besides organizing a trip that would maximize these experiences, my contribution was to provide occasional presentations on the historical, social, economic and political context of what we were seeing. Doing all this with members of the BC community from ages 19 to 85, including President Bushman and his family, was a real treat that only further solidified my connections to Bridgewater and the amazing people that come together at this institution.”

Louis Sanchez, Admissions Counselor and BC class of 2010

“It was a rewarding trip in that we were able to learn about a new culture while traveling throughout the country. Combining learning with travel is really amazing. I was impressed that no matter where you go, even in areas with extreme poverty, you’re welcomed with open arms.”

Wayne Spangler, BC class of 1953
Carol Spangler, BC class of 1956

“This trip showed us some of the natural diversity of the land— vineyards, sugar cane and aloe fields, penguins and rock rats. And, of course, the wild animals that so many go to see. The tour of Mandela’s prison on Robbens Island was sobering. We were touched by the words of our guide who was also a political prisoner there with Mandela. Wayne’s most exciting excursion was his early morning microlight flight over Victoria Falls. It was fun being in the same hotel as the President of Zambia who was there to open a UN conference. Carol enjoyed watching the baby lion play with Wayne and, as the oldest female in the group, playfully accepted being called Mama, a term of respect for older women in South Africa. Our canoe trip on the Zambesi River showed that the two of us still have things to learn after 61 years of marriage.”