We intentionally focus here on the experience of Black students because the cultural exchange between Black students and African people, culture, and thoughts while studying abroad in Africa can be meaningful but uniquely complex.
We want to make participation in USP as available and valuable as possible for Black students. In addition, much of the information in this section applies to other students of color that have attended or may attend USP such as Native, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Arab, and other students of color.
We know that the experiences of Black students and other students of color in Uganda are different than those of their White peers. While the racial and ethnic makeup will vary from semester to semester, USP enrollment is disproportionally White. This is not by design, or intentional, but the result of a long history of inequity in North America.
We are committed to doing better—both in recruiting students of color to USP and providing the support they need throughout their experience on USP. We believe that the voices of students of color are not only important but vital for the critical, self-reflective learning and growth we desire for all participants of USP.
Issues of race, power dynamics, economics and privilege are inevitably an explicit part of a program that brings North American college students to study in Uganda. These dynamics exist between our students and our Ugandan hosts, but they also exist within the group itself (which consists of a majority of White students).
There are also unexpected ways that the context and realities here (in Uganda and with Ugandans) can lead to some Ugandans treating students of color, and particularly Black students, differently from the way they treat White students. Sometimes this can be positive, but it can also be negative. We are committed to exploring and understanding these realities, even as we do our best in assessing, developing, and employing a variety of ways to support our Black students and other students of color so that they have a positive and valuable semester in Uganda. Some of these things include:
- Specific orientation for the Ugandan hosts who form the core relationships for any USP student, including UCU students, host families, and internship supervisors.
- Specific engagement with interested Black students and other students of color regarding their unique experience and specific support that can help ensure a positive and valuable semester for them.
- Intentionally creating space for students of color to process ongoing realities they are experiencing.
- Intentionally creating space for White students to discuss their roles and responsibilities with Black students and students of color within and outside the classroom. This is also to help them understand how their experience with Ugandans might be different than their Black peers.
- A commitment to discussing, addressing, and redressing dynamics of power in our classrooms and spaces of learning.
Support from Black Alumni and Other Alumni of Color:
We can connect Black students and other students of color with alumni so that current students can receive advice and encouragement as they move through the entire USP process from application to preparation, to the semester in Uganda, to re-entry.
- At any point during the process (from applying to USP through retruning home afterwards), you can let the USP Director, Rachel Robinson, know of your interest in being connected with an alum of color that shares your particular background.
- In an effort to make participation in Uganda Studies Program as available as possible for Black students, we encourage all Black applicants (members of the African diaspora) to complete the application or please email the USP Director, Rachel Robinson for specific scholarship opportunities.
- For additional scholarship opportunities, see our Scholarship page.