Interdisciplinary Studies

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Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Has this seminar been offered before?

 A: This is the fourth time we have had funding from the US Department Education for similar seminars. The first two explored issues in southern Africa and visited Botswana, South Africa and Lesotho. The most recent seminar explored political and social relations of South Africa and Lesotho. The current seminar will focus on Sesotho culture in South Africa and Lesotho and will focus on curriculum development.

 

Q: Do the leaders have experience running seminars in southern Africa?

A: Professor Denham has been director or co-director of all three of the previous seminars. He has traveled in southern Africa many times. Ms. Densel, the curriculum specialist was a participant in the 2008 seminar and has been involved in artistic and curriculum development projects in Tanzania.

 

Q:  How much time is spent outdoors during the typical day and what will the weather be like?

A:  Some days have group activities that are our-of-doors that are somewhat optional. These would be more recreational in function. Participants typically take hikes, walks, pony (horse) rides, etc. In Lesotho our lodging is in a group of houses in a common area and walking from one place to the other involves going outside, although for short distances. We will visit a wide variety of places (museums, government offices, historical sites) that require extensive walking and much of it is outside, often for more than an hour at a time. One week in Lesotho will be spent teaching in a school in the morning and in a community center in the afternoon. Most of the time at the school will be spent in-doors, but some of the time at the community center will be out of doors, for one to three hours a day, and we will be walking to and from these sites. Some lectures are given out-of-doors and usually in the sun, since the air temperature is fairly cold, but the sun is warm. In fact, since the temperature may be quite low and indoor heating is limited, we do tend to spend significant amounts of time out-of-doors, and especially in the sun, for warmth.

We will be traveling in South Africa and Lesotho in their winter months. This means that the temperature will often be below freezing during the evenings and sometimes as high as 65 degrees F during the day. The winter is also the dry season in this part of the world and consequently every day will have bright sunshine. There may be some snow in Lesotho, but there will be very few (if any) cloudy days. Lesotho is quite high in elevation and consequently the sun's rays are especially strong. Every day, the sun will be very bright and there will be no significant cloud cover. We recommend that participants use sun-screen.

A person who is very sensitive to sun light could  manage the trip, although there would be times where they would miss out on some lectures and other experiences. Some of the more intensive and extensive out-of-door activities (hiking, safaris, etc.) which are optional, could be skipped but on past trips this would somewhat isolate the participant from significant portions of the experience.

 

Q: I can only attend one of the two mandatory meetings in Toledo?  Will this automatically disqualify me from participating?

A: The two meetings in Toledo are extremely important. The first one is essential for travel planning, group building and preparing the lessons that will be taught while the group is in Lesotho. The second one is very important for finishing up the units that we will be publishing and helping participants work on their dissemination plans.

That said, if we were short of highly qualified applicants and you met our priorities, and if you had a good reason for missing the second Toledo session, you would be considered for acceptance.  If you had to miss the first session in Toledo, your chances of being chosen would be quite small.

 

Q: Are there any residency restrictions with the program?  I do not live in Ohio and do not attend the University of Toledo, but I am very interested in your program and would be willing to travel to participate. 

A: There are no residency restrictions on who can participate,  other than being a US citizen or permanent resident. (although see the web site for the specific participant requirements and selection priorities). Previous seminars have involved individuals from many states in the Midwest, as well as the east west coasts.

 

Q: Does $895 cover all costs?

A: The costs are described elsewhere on the website. All participants will pay $895. In addition, participants are responsible for other costs including:  personal expenses in Africa (such as laundry, purchases of souvenirs and such, cell phone usage, and tips). It depends on what you purchase, of course, but tips, laundry, and incidentals would probably be $250 or less out-of-pocket. But participants will be in southern Africa for 5 1/2 weeks, so you would need to budget some money for a wide variety of personal things. There are two or three books you would be expected to read. You can probably find these at the library, but if not, you would need to purchase those.

You will be responsible for expenses associated with attending the pre-travel and post-travel workshops in Toledo. So your transportation, meals and lodging from your home to Toledo would be at your expense. The leaders can probably find housing for participants traveling overnight, or hotel rooms could be shared.

If participants take courses for credit, tuition and fees would be in addition to these other costs. See the web page on "Academic Credit" .

 

Q:  Are there any scholarship available?

A: The program itself does not have any scholarships. It already covers over $5,000 of program costs per person. Some school systems have helped their teachers financially; in fact, some have covered the entire $895.

 

Q: Is there college credit along with this seminar?

 A: College credit is available at the graduate level (in Art Education or Political Science), undergraduate independent study, and continuing education. See the web page on academic credit and contact the director with specific questions. Any costs associated with academic credit is the responsibility of the participant.

 

Q: What do you mean by “departure city”?

A:  We anticipate that the departure city will be the closest major airport to the participant's home. This is somewhat related to airline schedules and fare structures. ON prior trips, participant’s fare covered their trip from the closest major airport to their home to a major east coast airport where everyone met and flew on the same flight from the US to South Africa.  

 

Q: I am applying for other summer opportunities. If I was accepted into your program, would I be able to wait until February or March to accept?

A: We anticipate notifying those accepted to the program in late-January. We will need an answer about two weeks later along with a $400, non-refundable deposit. We would not be able to hold your space. People will need to make their summer plans as soon as possible, and the distance-learning part of the seminar will begin by the first of February.

 

Q: In preparing for the travel part of the seminar, could you summarize what the workload will be? From the impression that I'm getting from the site that it might be quite a bit.

A: The preparations are significant. This is not a tour of southern Africa, but a curriculum development project, some of it taking place abroad. Adequate preparation is essential. Assigned readings will be the equivalent of at least four books. It will include two or three books plus articles and other reading and research. Some of the reading will be about South Africa and Lesotho. Some will be about the integration of social studies and art education. We will expect significant interaction on-line, in addition to doing the reading, requiring at least an hour every other day from mid-February until departure. This interaction will be about the reading but also about the practical preparations for six weeks in Africa.

You will also be responsible for planning about a week of lesson plans for teaching in Africa. For five days, participants will teach fifth and sixth graders for four hours per day and at a community center for two or three hours a day. We will probably divide teachers into teams, ideally an art and a social study teacher. This will require preparation, getting together supplies, etc.

 

Q: When are the pre- and post-travel workshops in Toledo? Are they during the school day or in the evenings and for how will they last?

A: The two workshops will begin around 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday and will end late afternoon on Sunday. If you have to travel very far to Toledo, you may need Friday and Monday as travel days.

 

Q: Do I need access to a computer and the internet to participate?

A: Yes. Communication will take place primarily by email and other electronic means. Prior to departure you will participate in what is very much like a distance-learning course. Materials will be distributed through this means and participants will be expected to be active participants in the discussions and other  on-line activities. Lessons will be prepared cooperatively by participants for use while we are in Africa and that will also take significant on-line interaction. During and after travel, the group will also prepare curriculum units for distribution on-line. Some of this material will include video, audio and other electronic resources.

 

Q: How many participants will be chosen to participate?

A: There will be approximately 12 participants. The final number is dependent on a number of factors, including exchange rates and final costs of transportation and lodging.

 

Q:  I have completed two Fulbright Hays Summer Seminars: one in 2005 and the other in 2010. Am I eligible?

A: The US Department of Education regulations say that

  • “Individuals may be awarded a total of four lifetime short-term Fulbright awards (2 months or less). Short-term awards would include Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad, Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad, etc.
  • “Short-term award recipients become eligible every two years. (A Seminar 2008 participant could receive a group Projects Abroad 2010 award and vice versa).”

 

Q: My question concerns qualifications. I am a teacher-librarian. I hold two teaching credentials - one in English and the other in Library Media. Am I eligible?

 A: Yes. Our eligibility statement (see the “Selection Criteria” page on the website) says that “school administrators, media experts and teachers who are internationalizing school programs and/or curriculum” are eligible. To be most competitive you would need to show how your participation in the seminar would help internationalize the curriculum in your school and/or system, and how you could contribute to the curriculum development part of the program.


Q: I would like to get started on learning more about Lesotho and South Africa, even if I am not accepted. Do you have any suggested readings?

A: Material on South Africa is plentiful. There is less about Lesotho. Some things you could read up on would be short histories of South Africa, e.g., Worden, The Making of Modern South Africa or Thompson, A History of South Africa. You could also start reading some some basic tour books, focusing on general history and travel in South Africa and Lesotho. We will be spending most of our time in Lesotho and the Free State in South Africa.

A book that you could look at (it won’t be required reading—at least all of it won’t) is John Peffer, Art and the End of Apartheid, if you can find a library that has it.  Another interesting book (although it may be expensive) is the Detroit Institute of Art’s catalog for the collection called “Through African Eyes.”

You could watch the movies Amandala and Invictus and others.

Then you could do on-line reading/research especially on Lesotho. Check out sites like:

http://www.morijafest.com/

http://www.southafrica.info/about/arts/

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2831.htm  

http://www.state.gov/p/af/ci/lt/index.htm

And then do some research on the integration of art and social studies and  the use of art in teaching social issues.

 

Q: What about safety of the travelers during this trip?

A: We take issues of safety very seriously, and work both in our planning and in-country to keep everyone safe. This will be the fourth seminar we have taken to southern Africa. Each of the first three were for five to six weeks. The only time that we have had the least problem was in 2003 when a participant had her ATM card stolen. This, of course, also happens in the US all the time.

We will be staying in hotels and guest houses. The most dangerous place (in terms of the crime statistics) may be the first six or so days in Johannesburg. However, we are staying in a very safe neighborhood in a hotel. We will walk the area at night, although we recommend that people not go out alone at night, just as we would in any urban area anywhere in the world. In Bloemfontein we are probably staying at a game lodge, where there might be some danger of a donkey or springbok startling you, but that is about it. In Lesotho we will be staying in Roma at the Trading Post Guest House. It is surrounded by a wall (as is almost everything in Africa) and is extremely safe. We walk around the grounds alone at all hours of the day and night.

All that said, things can happen. We take every precaution but we will be traveling in two poor countries. The crime rate is quite high in the region, but we avoid known areas of danger. The seminar director has traveled extensively in South Africa and Lesotho over the last 15 years. We will also have with us an experienced driver/guide, who is South African and is extremely knowledgeable. 

Also, there is some additional risk in the sense that medical care may not be as immediately accessible as it is in the U.S. There is excellent care available, but it sometimes requires travel and other arrangements to access it.

 

Q: What kind of lodging is provided?

A: Accommodations will be in hotels and guest houses. All will have the normal amenities, including private bath. For most of the trip, participants will room with another participant of the same gender. Although we will visit a wide variety of people and places, we will not be staying in any private homes.

 

Q: Is it possible for a companion to accompany me? Or join me for just a portion of the trip?

A: No companions are allowed to travel with the seminar group. The U.S. Department of Education prohibits anyone to travel with the group except sponsored participants.

 

 

Last Updated: 3/22/15