Serving Students in South Africa

Rebecca Blaufuss and Molly Brennan add Honors challenge to trip

Molly Brennan ’19 recalls being impressed when she learned that her friend’s sister was an engineer building an irrigation system in South Africa. “I realized that I didn’t have to be a doctor to help people,” she said. “I could be an engineer.”

Brennan helped young students in Cape Town as part of an Elmhurst College service-learning course, South Africa Service and Interdisciplinary Study. The students were assigned either to a preschool or elementary school for 10 days, or worked with the Mustadafin Foundation, a community organization that deals with humanitarian and social issues. The trip concluded with a visit to a wildlife preserve.

Brennan and Rebecca Blaufuss ’18 each did an extra project to earn Honors credit.

Blaufuss, an elementary education major from Cleveland, Ohio, wrote a paper comparing South African and U.S. schools in the methods and standards used to teach math. “I [was] interested in getting exposure to another country’s education system,” she said.

Brennan, a computer science major who grew up in Chicago suburb of Tinley Park, planned a project on the history of South Africa’s music culture. She was inspired by education professor Therese Wehman, one of three faculty members who led the trip.

“This is once in a lifetime, an experience that will change your life,” she recalled Wehman saying. “I had a gut feeling that I needed to do this.”

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