Amber Reichard

International Experience Country:
South Africa
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

University of Pittsburgh | Johnstown

Heinz Programming Area:
International Experience Summary:

In the summer of 2013 Amber Reichard experienced the greatest adventure of her life. She traveled half way across the world from the small town of Shippenville, Pennsylvania to a place on the continent of Africa known as Stellenbosch, South Africa. She met the most carefree and genuine individuals in this beautiful area. In her studies at Stellenbosch University, Amber took two interesting and life-changing classes. The first taught her about South Africa’s political history of Apartheid. Her compassion grew during her visit to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years for leading political protests against segregation. After taking this short class on Apartheid her journey continued during a Service Learning class. She learned about the importance of engaging in sustainable activities rather than completing community service in a single area so that the recipients can continue to grow even after the community development workers are no longer there. One of the most rewarding experiences for Amber was encouraging one young boy to follow his dreams of singing by helping him to publish a music video on YouTube. By opening her eyes to the lifestyles and stories of people from the Kayamandi Township, Amber grew to appreciate the value of living simply so that others can simply live. Without a doubt South Africa now has a piece of Amber’s heart and she plans to return there to care for it someday.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

My CEE was effective in raising awareness against both human trafficking and domestic violence through the combination of actions/events that took place. First of all, my group members and I were successful in getting approximately 80 students to sign up for our 5k by sitting at a table and taking sign ups a couple of weeks prior to the race in the Student Union on campus. My group members and I were also effective in advertising our event by displaying various flyers on campus, creating a Facebook Event to advertise, and by creating an e-mail account where registrants could sign up. On the day of our event after we finished with all of the many pre-race preparations which had to be done then, we arrived early at the University Wellness Center to pre-register any remaining individuals and hand out materials. When the time came to start our presentation, my campus coordinator introduced the group members. Next we each took part in reviewing a portion of a Power Point Presentation that we had prepared to introduce basic statistics and definitions about human trafficking. Remove: then, I discussed human trafficking in South Africa for about 8 minutes, while my group members discussed human trafficking in Cyprus and England (each for about 8 minutes). I tied my personal experience with talking to children in a low SES township in South Africa into my presentation in order to make my portion of the presentation more interesting. After my group members and I each discussed human trafficking in the countries that we studied abroad in, we dedicated a final portion of the Power Point to discussing domestic violence on a local level. Next we had a speaker from the local Women's Help Center discuss statistics and signs of domestic violence in order to raise awareness on violence on a local level. At the conclusion remove: of the presentation by a representative from the Women's Help Center, we opened up our presentation for questions and thanked all individuals for attending. Then, we discussed an approximate time that the 5k Run/Walk on Campus would be occurring. Once we had everyone lined up at the start line, we started three separate waves of individuals about 5 minutes apart. Throughout the race, we had three different tables set up: one for participants to identify the location of South Africa, Cyprus, or England on a map, one for individuals to identify a sign of domestic violence, and the final table for individuals to tell something that they learned from the day's presentation.