Tyler Campbell - CFANS Study Abroad Program

Spring Break 2016



When I first signed up for South Africa:The Many Faces of Economic Development study abroad program, I had no idea what to expect. I knew that I wanted to learn more about economic development in struggling countries, but nothing past that.

Looking back on the two weeks I spent in South Africa, I can confidently say that those two weeks have had more impact on my educational career here at the U than anything else. I ended up coming back to the states with not only incredible memories and pictures, but also with several close friends that I did not know prior to the trip - faculty included.

The trip has even inspired me to apply to graduate school in hopes of examining economic development a bit further. 

Economic development takes many faces, hence the title of the program. A country can be in economic trouble because of many different factors including institutional failure, poor governance, poor access to education, etc. Throughout our time in South Africa, we saw firsthand both sides of the coin.

The Eastern Cape is a state that is struggling to find its economic foundation and is a place where poverty does not go unnoticed. Conversely, there are parts of Cape Town that look like they could fit right into downtown Los Angeles.

The entire experience was both eye-opening and empowering in the sense that, if approached the right way with hard work, something can be done to level the playing field. I have and will continue to hold international programs in high regard. If you're reading this and have not done so already, STUDY ABROAD!