Study Abroad Students: Ambassadors for SEGA

Nurturing Minds Executive Director, Laura DeDominicis, writes about the 2017 SEGA Study Abroad Program

 Esther and Jacqueline with New Hampshire based 2017 English Fluency trip participants.

Esther and Jacqueline with New Hampshire based 2017 English Fluency trip participants.

This fall, for the third year, Nurturing Minds ran a five-week study abroad program bringing two SEGA students to the United States to study English intensively, experience a cultural exchange and act as ambassadors for their school. Esther and Jacqueline were the two talented girls selected for their strong leadership potential, academic performance, excellent behavior and because they are both confident and respectful.

The girls arrived in Boston in early November and were accompanied on their long journey from Tanzania to the U.S. by four of our English Fluency volunteers from New Hampshire who were just returning from spending two weeks teaching our youngest students English at SEGA. Once in the U.S. the girls started English classes right away. They absolutely loved their school OHC (Oxford House College) located in Boston’s Quincy Market and feel they learned a lot including lots of new vocabulary and idioms. After their final day of class their teacher treated them to ice skating in government center! Definitely an experience to remember.

 Esther and Jacqueline with their host families in Newton, Massachusetts.

Esther and Jacqueline with their host families in Newton, Massachusetts.

Each girl stayed with a host family and was able to make a deeper connection with teens their age as well as become immersed in what daily life is like living in the U.S.

“Jacqueline quickly became a member of the family, doing homework at night with my kids and helping prepare meals. Her passion to fight for girls’ rights is so inspiring and I have no doubt she will be able to make real change in Tanzania in the future.” –  Marian McDonagh, Jacqueline’s Host Mother

Finally, the girls took a week-long road trip to meet with Nurturing Minds’ supporters and school groups in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New York City, Connecticut and New Hampshire.  Times Square was one of the biggest highlights! In each location they visited they shared their stories and journeys from attending primary schools where 500 students shared 2 teachers and often one book, to walking long distances to get to school, and needing to help their families with farming at the end of a long school day. Despite these hurtles once at SEGA both girls have thrived and have great ambitions for their futures. Esther would like to be an economist so she can improve the livelihoods of the people in her community so that they can afford to send their children to school. Jacqueline, who was SEGA’s Head Girl this past year, dreams of pursuing a law degree so she can fight for girls’ rights in Tanzania!

– Laura DeDominicis

 Esther and Jacqueline visiting Times Square with Nurturing Minds Advisor (and Esther’s sponsor) Amanda Opinsky.

Esther and Jacqueline visiting Times Square with Nurturing Minds Advisor (and Esther’s sponsor) Amanda Opinsky.

 Meeting Liberata Mulamula, former Ambassador of Tanzania to the United States and Tanzania’s current Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Meeting Liberata Mulamula, former Ambassador of Tanzania to the United States and Tanzania’s current Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

 Esther and Jacqueline spent a day visiting Columbia University. They were given a tour of the College of Dental Medicine by two Columbia students who had spent their summer at SEGA conducting oral hygiene surveys and teaching the students proper oral hygiene management.

Esther and Jacqueline spent a day visiting Columbia University. They were given a tour of the College of Dental Medicine by two Columbia students who had spent their summer at SEGA conducting oral hygiene surveys and teaching the students proper oral hygiene management.