University of Washington

Experiential Learning

The African Studies Program  offers a wide variety of opportunities for students to engage in community-based learning. The African Studies Program has been reaching out and forging partnerships with local African communities and African and Africa related organizations. These partnerships foster a broader and richer understanding of the social, economic and political challenges that Africans face in the greater Seattle area and in Africa itself, and of the potentials for addressing those challenges. 

Examples of previous experiential learning projects include: 

  • Independent study

      • Students have worked to develop and present materials on Darfur and related human rights issues in local high schools for the Save Darfur coalition.
      • Students have research child development and services for children orphaned during war, then followed up this research with hands-on experience working in an Eritrean orphanage during the summer.
  • Course-Based Service Learning Examples

      • Professor Ron Krabill’s course on Institutions and Social Change allowed to students to work with local East African media to study which programs can enhance the adjustment process of refugees and immigrants.
      • Professor Nancy Farwell’s course on Communities in Transition: Empowerment Practice with Refugees and Immigrants encouraged students to help design programs and develop funding proposals in key areas of need identified by partner African immigrant and refugee service agencies including Horn of Africa and Refugee Women's Alliance.
      • Professor Rachel Chapman and Professor James Pfeiffer's course entitled Africa Living with HIV/AIDS offers students the opportunity to get involved with Seattle area organizations that work on HIV/AIDS issues.

The African Studies Program is delighted to work with students and faculty to support their specific interests in getting involved, developing partnerships, and arranging academic credit. If you’re interested in experiential learning, please contact the African Studies Program Office by telephone 206-616-0998 or by email  Another way to get involved is to participate in IE3 Global Internships, many of which are located in Africa.

Here are a list of Africa-related organizations in Seattle that students can volunteer / intern with:

East African Community Services

7054 32nd Ave. S, Suite 207, Seattle WA 98118 | Tel: (206)721-1119 | Fax: (206) 760-7735


Carrie Walther, Education and Volunteer Coordinator

East African Community Services is an inclusive organization that is dedicated to improving the well-being and quality of life of refugees and their families in King County, while at the same time encouraging clients to preserve their diverse cultural heritage.  EACS brings together members from the major sectors of the East African refugee community and serves more than 1,000 clients annually.  Recent years have seen extensive growth at the agency, including a 300% increase in the operating budget since 2006 and diversified programs with dedicated staff.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities:

- After-School Tutoring

- Computer Literacy Instructor

- ESL Talk-Time Facilitator

- Citizenship Instructor

- Administrative Support

How to Apply: Send your resume and statement of interest to the Volunteer and Education Coordinator, Carrie Walther, with your position preference and availability.

Refugee and Immigrant Children's Program

433 Minor Avenue N., Suite 100, Seattle WA 98109 | Tel: (206) 694-5700

Since 1980 the Refugee and Immigrant Children's Program has provided safe haven to refugee children who are resettling alone in the United States.  Through our program, children are welcomed by foster families who have made a long-term commitment to their care.  We serve children, primarily teenagers, from countries throughout Asia, Africa and Central America.  The children come to the U.S. without families as 'unaccompanied minor' refugees or asylum seekers.  they have left behind war, persecution or instability that separated them from their families.  We have cared for refugee children from Burma, Bhutan, Sudan, Congo, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Honduras and Guatemala in recent years.  The youth are placed in long-term foster care until they complete their schooling or turn 21 years old.  Refugee youth tend to be education-oriented and want to improve their lives through opportunities available in the U.S.  The program provides supportive services to make a child's placement successful and prepare the child to live independently as an adult.

African Studies Program
University of Washington
419 Thomson Hall
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195

Ben Gardner / Chair
Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell

Monica Rojas-Stewart
Assistant Director
206.616.0998 office
206.685.0668 fax

Harry Murphy
ASP Librarian