College of Human Sciences students will travel to Chile and South Africa for two new study abroad programs. Students will perform service learning work including helping South Africans to set up small businesses. Contributed photo.
College of Human Sciences students will travel to Chile and South Africa for two new study abroad programs. Students will perform service learning work including helping South Africans to set up small businesses. Contributed photo.

College of Human Sciences offers new international programs in Chile, South Africa

Two new study abroad opportunities offered by the College of Human Sciences will allow Iowa State University students to study in South Africa and Chile this summer.

Apparel, merchandising, and design students will travel to South Africa to learn about small-scale garment production. Meanwhile, a visit to Chile will introduce students interested in education and human services to social services in that country.

Both new programs combine hands-on experience with cultural exchange and service learning. Students can apply online to participate in any College of Human Sciences study abroad program. The application deadline is Jan. 15.  

“These programs give students a direct educational experience alongside faculty within their discipline,” said Catie Funk, administrative specialist for the college’s international programs. “Students in both programs will interact directly with students on other college campuses.”

Growing small-scale businesses

The apparel, merchandising, and design study tour in South Africa is a two-week program beginning May 10.

During the first eight days of the tour, students will perform service learning activities in a rural area of the Limpopo province in partnership with Blessman Ministries, an organization helping South Africans set up small businesses.

Iowa State students will train local people on sewing machines, patternmaking, and best practices for garment production. They will also teach people how to mend clothes and make them last longer.

“We really focus on the service learning component,” said Christina Denekas, a lecturer in apparel, events, and hospitality management who’s director of the South Africa study tour. “That is something that students often feel is missing from the textbook side of things.”

During the second part of the trip, students will visit the University of Pretoria in the Gauteng Province, where they will work with students majoring in apparel and hospitality in the Department of Consumer Science.

Before the tour, Iowa State students will meet South African students via Skype. Together, they will research similarities and differences in their cultures and work to develop a clothing product that can used by both cultures, Denekas said.

Discovering human services worldwide

During the human services and education tour in Chile, students will visit schools and social service agencies to get a firsthand look at the way Chile provides its education and human services. The trip is scheduled for May 11 to 23.

While the program is sponsored by the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, it’s open to students in other social science disciplines such as education, sociology, psychology, and gerontology, said Carla Peterson, associate dean of the College of Human Sciences and director of the Chile tour.

The tour will allow Iowa State students to collaborate with those that serve vulnerable populations including children with special needs, single mothers, and the elderly. They will also gain an understanding of historical and cultural influences on Chile’s education and human services systems.

That hands-on experience may be especially relevant for applying social services in rural parts of the United States, Peterson said.

“Chile is a very agricultural country with a small population. Large parts of the country are sparsely populated,” Peterson said. “How do you spread those services across a vast area?”

Gaining international perspective

Benefits to studying abroad include gaining international experience that can help students advance their careers. It’s one of the first things employers look for, Funk said.

“It’s always helpful to visit a place that isn’t totally familiar,” Peterson agreed. “We can always integrate that knowledge back into what we do.”

Students interested in studying abroad have a variety of options for financial support, including an $800 scholarship awarded to any student accepted into a study abroad program sponsored by the College of Human Sciences.

RELATED STORIES:

Human Sciences students gain new international experiences

Partnership aims to improve South African business outcomes

Iowa State, University of Pretoria partner for program success

KEY CONTACTS:

Catie Funk, administrative specialist, international programs, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, 515-294-1010, cfunk@iastate.edu

Carla Peterson, associate dean for research and graduate education, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, 515-294-7804, carlapet@iastate.edu

Christina Denekas, lecturer, Department of Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management, Iowa State University, 515-294-7821, cdenekas@iastate.edu

Meghan Brown, graduate assistant, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, 515-294-9424, hsnews1@iastate.edu

  • Quick Look

    Two new study abroad opportunities offered by the College of Human Sciences will allow Iowa State University students to study in South Africa and Chile this summer. Apparel, merchandising, and design students will travel to South Africa to learn about small-scale garment production. Meanwhile, a visit to Chile will introduce students to human services in that country.


  • “We really focus on the service learning component. That is something that students often feel is missing from the textbook side of things.”

    Christina Denekas