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Explore Africa 2008

June 29 - July 3 (Residential)

July 4- 20 (Travel Portion)


An MSU Residential Program for Students

Much of the news that we read or hear about Africa in the press is largely negative. Explore Africa at MSU will challenge these stereotypical representations by presenting Africa in all of its rich cultural, social, economic, and political diversity. Students will be encouraged to critically look beyond the current images of Africa in order to gain a more complete and comprehensive understanding of the continent of Africa, past, present, and future.


Explore Africa will offer activities that give special attention to the arts and cultural expressions of Africa, such as art, music, dance, literature, and cinema-- components which are often omitted in American schools.

2006 Program Video

Curriculum Brochures and Applications Faculty and Staff Costs and Transportation
Dates Eligibility Special Teacher Component Further Information
Sponsors and Ideals Residential Living and Student Conduct Passport Information
Teachers who would like to be participants in the program can do so as well.


  • Informal sessions concerning African art, history, culture, society, and politics of the Eastern and Western Provinces of South Africa
  • Daily language classes in isiXhosa

Passport Information:

Students should apply for their passport when completing their application. Due to the changes in the US laws, the processing time for passports has greatly increased. Passport forms are available at most post offices and can also be downloaded from the internet. If you already have a passport, make sure it is valid until at least six months after your return date.


Faculty and Staff:

John Metzler, Assistant Professor of African Studies and Teacher Education, and Coordinator of Outreach
Programs for the African Studies Center, Michigan State University. Dr. Metzler led the team that developed Exploring Africa, a virtual curriculum that students will use as a core resource in the web-based projects. Dr. Metzler has taught and done research in Africa since 1972, where he started his career as a high school history teacher. Each summer since 1993 he has lead an MSU study abroad program to southern Africa. In addition, he has taught courses on Africa in US high schools and universities since 1979. Dr. Metzler has been the instructional leader for Explore Africa at MSU since 2002.

Steve Sharra is an award winning author of children’s literature from Malawi. He recently completed his Ph.D in education and African Studies from MSU. Steve is an experienced teacher, having taught literature and writing in Malawi and at MSU. He has a deep commitment to promoting the accurate teaching of Africa. Summer 2008 will be Steve’s third summer with Explore Africa @ MSU.

Lindile Ndlebe will serve as our isiXhosa instructor. Mr. Ndlebe teaches isiXhosa as well as other South African languages at MSU. This is his first year participating in Explore Africa.

Heidi Irvine will serve as our African art instructor. Ms. Irvine recently was awarded Michigan Art Teacher of the Year honors. This is her first year of participating in Explore Africa. Ms. Irvine is a high school art teacher at Holt High School. She will be also traveling to South Africa as a chaperone.

Maria Kujenga will serve as our African music and dance instructor for the fourth year. Ms. Kujenga is
an enthnomusicologist and music instructor. She has studied dance and music in Zimbabwe and has taught
African music and steel drumming in community music education programs in the Lansing area.


Brochures and Applications:

Call 517-432-2129 or view them online.

Explore Africa-Student Brochure

Explore Africa-Student Application




The cost of Explore Africa at MSU is $450 per student. This amount covers all instruction, recreational activities, room and board, and supplies. We ask that a $50 deposit be paid with the application, and the remaining $400 be paid within three weeks of acceptance to the program. An optional travel component is available. Students will travel to South Africa from July 4 - July 20. Full deposit will be returned to students who are accepted but decide not to attend. Tuition will be refunded only if there is a medical or other emergency reason that a student cannot attend.

Students participating in the optional travel component to South Africa must submit an additional deposit of
$450.00 with their application with the remaining travel fee of $3,250.00 paid after acceptance to the program. Full deposit will be returned to students who are not accepted into the program. Students earning MSU credits will be “e-billed” through their MSU NetID accounts.

Program costs do not include personal spending money or transportation to and from Michigan State University. It is the responsibility of a parent/guardian to arrange for the student to arrive by 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 29, 2008, and arrange for the student to be picked up on Friday, July 4, 2008 by 2:00. Lansing's Capital City Airport, located 20 minutes from Michigan State University, provides air transportation services for the mid-Michigan area. Parents are responsible for transporting their child from the airport to and from the MSU Campus from the airport. Michigan families must plan to meet their students at Detroit Metro Airport upon returning from South Africa.

*Non-MSU students pay a Lifelong Learner rate, regardless of state of residence.

Limited financial aid is available for the residential component of the program, based on financial need.



Program costs do not include transportation to and from Michigan State University--parents/guardians are responsible for picking up and dropping off the students.


Residential Living and Student Conduct:

Students will be staying at McDonel residence hall on campus.Two students will be assigned to a room. There will be an on-site coordinator and two Resident Advisors (RAs) who will help to provide a safe and comfortable atmosphere for the students for the duration of the program.

Explore Africa at MSU sets the highest expectations for its participants in both academic participation and personal deportment. Students will be dismissed from the program for use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs, and for behavior that threatens the safety of themselves or other students.


Eligibility and Admissions:

For Exploring Africa at MSU 2008, students should meet the following requirements:

  1. Be entering grade 10-12 in 2007/2008 with a high GPA in strong academic subjects and/or high test scores on the MEAP or nationally standardized tests. (See brochure for details.)
  2. Have a desire to work in an academically challenging environment
  3. Have a positive recommendation from a current or recent teacher

Students will be accepted based on the strength of their applications. Applicants will be notified of their status within three weeks of the receipt of a completed application. Completed applications will include the following:

A completed and signed application form
An official high school transcript
An educator recommendation
A student essay
A deposit check for $50 made payable to Michigan State University

Further Information:

If you have general questions about this program, please call Kathee McDonald , Director of the Office of Gifted and Talented Education, at (517) 432-2129. If you have questions about the curriculum of the program, please call John Metzler , Outreach Coordinator for the African Studies Center, at (517) 353-1700.


Sponsors and Ideals:

Explore Africa at Michigan State University is a residential program for high-ability students entering grades 10- 12. It is sponsored by the Office of International Studies and Programs, the African Studies Center, the Office of Gifted and Talented Education, and the Honors College at Michigan State University.

Africa, the second largest continent in the world in both physical size and population, has for the most part been "under" taught, marginalized, and often grossly misrepresented in the textbooks and classrooms in America, as well as in our media and popular culture.

Explore Africa at MSU will challenge the status quo by offering students content, materials, and learning activities that facilitate a comprehensive study of the African continent and its societies and peoples in their tremendous activity.

Applications Available November 2007
Applications Due April 4, 2008
Program Dates

June 29 - July 3, 2008 (Residential)

July 4 - 20 (Travel Portion)




Director: Kathee McDonald

186 Bessey Hall

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI 48824-1033

Phone: 517-432-2129

Fax: 517-353-6464