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Amanda Schuyler, Social Studies, poses on top of a car with people she met on the trip. She stayed in Masindi, Uganda for 25 days.

Mariana Bendinelli

On July 2, 2018, Amanda Schuyler, Social Studies, took a trip to Masindi, Uganda to work with educators and help them build better schools through a program called LLTR (Limited  Resource Teacher Training). She had a 15-hour flight from Chicago to Dubai and a layover to Uganda.

“I left July 2, it was a 15-hour flight from Chicago to Dubai. I had a layover in Dubai and then we flew into Uganda so I got to Uganda by July 4. I don’t really like planes so that was a little rough for me, but knowing the destination and what I was going to be able to do and experience, I pushed that out of my head,”  Schuyler said.

While in Masindi, Schuyler worked with head teachers in the schools and helped them with problems. She had conference days where the teachers talked about what was going on in the schools and what they could do to help.

“We had three team leaders that set out the course for us. We worked with the head teachers in Uganda which are basically the equivalent of a principle. We had four conference days where we sat down with the teachers as a group with all of the head teachers, there were 34, and we would talk about like ‘You have attendance issues, what could we do to fix those issues?’” Schuyler

While she was there, Schuyler made many connections with teachers and people from Masindi. Some of her favorite memories are the relationships that have carried on outside of the trip.

“One of the head teachers, he was just an incredible man. One of the days, his partner had to leave and he looked up at me and asked ‘Hey would you be my partner?’ and I said ‘Oh my god absolutely!’ and from that moment on, he would always sit next to me, he would always work with me, when ever I came to his school me and him would always have a conversation,” Schuyler said.

While Schuyler was talking with the students, she had a few difficulties with the language barrier. The students are taught their native language and English during primary school. Since there are multiple native languages, they are all taught English to help with communication.

“When we would ask them a question, we would have to pause, like a huge pause, because they would soak it in English, they would translate it in their head in their native language, they would answer it in their head in their local language and then they would spit it back out in English. So it was really awkward the first couple times because you would just have this really long pause,” Schuyler said.

Because of the influence of her trip, Schuyler plans on going back next July to be a team leader with a few of the people she met.

“I wanna go back to the same place and work with the same teachers in July again next year and I would go back as a team leader. So I would be in charge of all the other teachers and set up the course and stuff,” Schuyler said.

During Schuyler’s interview to go on the trip, she was asked if she had any reservations or worries about going to Africa and she said no. Schuyler explained to me that she had no worries about going and wasn’t scared before going.

“I wasn’t afraid at all. I don’t think you should be scared to go to another country or travel to another country. They were so friendly and helpful. Just because it’s Africa doesn’t really mean it’s a scary place. They were just as nice and just as friendly as people in the United States,” Schuyler said.