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Alabama Action Abroad to hold info meetings

Alabama Action Abroad is a program that educates students about local culture and needs of areas in South America, while learning leadership skills along the way. Photo courtesy of Alabama Action Abroad

Peyton Shepard

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Alabama Action Abroad is a program designed to teach students about local culture and needs of communities in South America as well as develop leadership and teamwork skills. The group organizes two week-long trips at the beginning of May – one to Costa Rica in the Talamanca Province, and a second to Ecuador that covers studies of both the Andes and the Amazon cultures.

The organization will hold information sessions Wednesday and Friday to answer questions about its 2015 trips.

Burke Smith, a senior majoring in chemical engineering and former 
student director for Alabama Action Abroad, said the program centers highly on 
community service.

“We partner with a group called Outward Bound that assigns us tasks for the local communities,” he said.

On previous trips, the group has worked with communities in Ecuador to conserve rain forests. Other service projects include food distribution, clean-up efforts and aqueduct construction.

Joey Cooper, a junior majoring in engineering and a student director for Alabama Action Abroad, said the trips are meant to be more about service learning for the students who attend.

“Students should also expect to be self-reflective and to learn things about themselves in addition to the information provided that pertains to the daily activities of the program,” he said.

Smith said the educational value of the trip comes from learning about the culture of the area but agrees there is more to the trip than just conventional 
classroom learning.

“The focus isn’t so much on studying, like in study abroad programs, as it is service and serving the community in these places,” he said. “We do work to incorporate some element of education during the semester before the trip, however. There’s a heightened awareness that comes with meeting these people, learning what their culture is like and how it’s the same as yours that makes it better than traveling to study.”

Alabama Action Abroad will host two information meetings, Wednesday at 6 p.m. in 280 Nott Hall and Friday at noon in 292 Nott Hall. Information and applications can also be found at 
sites.google.com/site/bamaactionabroad.

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Alabama Action Abroad to hold info meetings