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Students from Africa share new experiences




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Students learn to be leaders during two weeks on campus

 

• 72 students from Africa will be on campus for two weeks. 

• One students said the trip changed his perspective perception of America. 

• The students, most of them in high school, will be at Ball State until April 16.

Students from across Africa have come to Ball State as part of a program looking to help them become leaders in their home communities.

Students from across Africa came to Ball State as part of a program looking to help them become leaders in their home communities.

As a part of the  Pan-African Youth Leadership Program, 72 African students are on Ball State’s campus until April 16. The mostly high school students were the highest scorers of a youth council exam in sub-Saharan Africa.

Cavin Finnes, a student from Namibia, said his perception of America has largely changed because of his experience. 

“I had expectations of what Americans were like from the media,” Finnes said. “But [Muncie] is a warm and friendly community next to what we get to see on TV. This is more relatable, more like home.” 

He said Ball State was nothing like he thought it would be, either. 

“When we think of a university, we think of it being serious — like, ‘Oh, we have to study,’” Finnes said. “People still have the work ethic here, but it’s more relaxed and calm than I thought.” 

The students arrived Thursday and are currently splitting their time between activities on campus learning about leadership, civic duty and responsibility and spending time with their host families to experience American culture.

Finnes said when he returns to Namibia, he hopes share some ideas he has learned with others in his hometown. 

Brian Sibanda, a student from Zimbabwe, said the experience has shown him how small the world can be when people are united.  

“We’ve got so many things separating us, but we all have a common goal — to be agents of change in our own country,” Sibanda said. 

He said the experience has been rewarding, but also stressful. 

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity I have as a leader, and I have to utilize all of it,” he said. 

He said Ball State was nothing like he thought it would be, either. 

Louise Mandumbusa, a student from Botswana, said the trip has been fascinating.

The students volunteered at Second Harvest Food Bank, which Mandumbusa said was a new experience. 

“You don’t have the opportunity to do things like this [at home],” she said. 

Chimwemwe Banda said people don’t usually help others just for the sake of volunteering in her home country of Malawi.  

“Here, people are very willing to help without getting anything in return,” she said.  

Banda said one of the best parts about the program was getting to meet other African students from different countries. 

She said she wanted to bring home an idea that someone told her here, something she hasn’t heard back home.

“I want to tell people that if you believe in yourself, everything is possible,” she said.

Students from across Africa have come to Ball State as part of a program looking to help them become leaders in their home communities.



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