International Development Students in Senegal and Beyond
“The issue with just learning in class is that it all seems abstract,” says Dr. Leah McMillan, Assistant Professor of International Development. “Students need to see the people they are helping and they need to see that what they are learning in class is really useful for development.”
Tyndale’s International Development program is unique in that it is part of a B.A. in Business Administration, allowing students to study International Development from a business perspective. All of Tyndale’s International Development students must go on a one semester internship abroad where they learn the practical applications of the knowledge they have gained in class.
“It was a three month program packed with pragmatic challenges that called for wise decisions and tactful problem solving skills as most of the challenges were life changing and economically related,” says Josh Okello, a Tyndale student from Kenya who plans to use his experience to help him with his own not-for-profit development work in his home country. “Senegal, being a developing country, was a gateway to understanding future issues in the field of international development and how to fight poverty through ministry and Christian organizations.” Josh’s internship was in Senegal, West Africa from January to April this year.
“I’m really choosy in making sure that the students get to do something meaningful,” says Dr. McMillan. “I try to organize the internship around their passions.” While they are abroad, students are also able to complete foreign language requirements in an immersive context.
This fall, Sandra Younan will begin her International Development internship in Lebanon. “We have learnt what development techniques have failed in the past, but more importantly we have looked at how to properly help a community with their needs - not what we think they need,” says Sandra about her experience in the program thus far.
“International development is a calling,” says Josh Okello “it is for people who are willing to step out of their comfort zones to share their love with the whole world, the hurting, the sick, the poor and the voiceless.”