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WSU internship to aid poor in Malawi

WSU International Programs will expand its internship program this summer to bring help to one of the world’s poorest nations.

The nine-credit program, which will run from June 28 to Aug. 5, will send four WSU students to Malawi in southeastern Africa. International Christian University in Japan, Bunda College in Malawi and the nonprofit organization Total Landcare are partnering with WSU to make this opportunity possible. WSU students will work in a multicultural environment with eight Asian and four African students.

The first half of the faculty-led program will consist primarily of surveying and research while the second half will involve more hands-on work such as small-scale farm development in irrigation, tree planting, well building, mushroom production and plantation work. During that time students will be working with each other as well as with native villagers throughout several locations in Malawi. They will also attend weekly seminars that examine the different development efforts being conducted there and local cultural events with their Malawi colleagues.

“This is great for students who want to have an international experience with a more focused direction,” Faculty-led Programs Specialist Laurie Quiring said. “There is a lot of learning that takes place with this type of hands-on service.” WSU students will be able to work with Ralph Coolman, associate director for Community Collaborations in International Research and Development, to gear the program credits toward their majors. Coolman will coordinate the program at WSU through an online class that will introduce them to Malawi, examine cultural differences and form teams for fieldwork before arrival into the country.

For students interested, Coolman said the applications will be reviewed with the hope of representing the diversity of students at WSU.

“This is a unique global program,” Coolman said. “Students will learn the skills they will need throughout their working lives. My hope is that the four students on this internship will be better prepared to create solutions to a global problem by collaborating with a multicultural team in a spirit of collaboration and respect.” This is the third hands-on service-learning project funded by The Japanese Ministry of Education through International Christian University. The last two were held in the Philippines and India. Coolman said the hope is to continue to expand the Malawi program into the future by having the students identify the projects that have the greatest potential for positive impact on the villages they will work with this summer. “In the short-term I hope students will have a good experience,” Coolman said. “In the long-term we want to identify development projects and keeping them going into the future.” Interested students can contact Ralph Coolman at

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