Thursday, April 13, 2017



Wow! What a busy semester it has been preparing for our upcoming trip to Botswana. It seems like just a few weeks ago we were beginning the semester and talking about our general fears and now we're suddenly about two weeks from hopping on the plane.


Our class has been a unique ISLP group since there are only six students traveling and two faculty members along with the ISLP staff members. The small number of students has its upsides and downsides as most things do. We have become close friends extremely quickly and the small number of students have allowed us to have more in depth discussions about everything ranging from culture and religion of Botswana to our travel fears. The down side to a small group is the added work for each of us to ensure we have enough lessons planned for our students in Botswana. But this has not stopped us, we are a very motivated and dedicated student group so we've all spent many hours inside and outside of class planning lessons and trying them out.


With that being said, we've finalized all our lesson plans are we're now teaching the rest of the class members so we are all able to share our knowledge with the students in Botswana. In the attached picture, Leah is teaching us how to count calories by burning food. We were all so intrigued by setting Fritos on fire and we have no doubt that the students will be equally intrigued. After we burn the food, we'll be teaching them how to weigh the items and complete math to understand how many calories are in food and what a calorie is.


In addition to the calorie counting experiment we have a few other engineering experiments we plan to take and share with the students as well. We will be completing a colloidal suspension, catapult and a rocket. In addition to the four engineering students (Leah, Meredith, Josh and Kyle) and their experiments there are two other students attending as well (Zahara and Alana). Zahara, a sports sciences major, plans to teach about planting flower and how they can help the environment as well as some yoga exercises that can be so important to living a healthy life. And Alana, an anthropology major, plans to teach the students about good dental hygiene habits as well as self-love and bullying prevention. Combining our unique majors as well as campus experiences has allowed us to create a jam packed curriculum with a variety of both fun and educational lessons for the students in Botswana to complete.


For over half of the class this trip will be our first trip abroad! I think this brings us both fear and a lot of excitement. I know for myself I've always wanted to travel the road less traveled and the thought of a trip to Africa seems like a great road to travel and experience a completely different and unique new culture. We've all been getting our immunizations and researching information on what we can expect when we arrive. I think there are some nerves for the 18-hour flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg but with such a fun and upbeat group I have no doubt we'll make that a fun experience too.


I’ll try to blog again before we leave on April 29th about our final preparations and hopefully we'll get some wifi in our hotel in Botswana so we can send our family and friends updates about all the fun we're having when we get there. Only 16 days and we're on a plane headed to Africa!


-          Meredith Cooksey (Chemical Engineer, Senior)

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