Honors student makes an impact in Namibia

The opportunity to study abroad is a once in a lifetime experience for any college student. The chance to live, breath, and feel another culture in the flesh is the ultimate learning experience. UA Honors College Senior and first year graduate student, Katie DiBene, for example, spent her summer in Namibia, Africa.

DiBene is a dedicated individual. Not only with her academics, but making sure that she is retaining and utilizing the information that she learns. As an Environmental Science major, she is determined to make her degree count.

“As an honors student, I have learned to push myself, so I always do a little bit more of what is expected from me,” said DiBene.

DiBene’s study abroad program took her into several villages in the Epupa Falls region of Namibia where she was directly interacted with the people of the village and made a true impact on the community through her efforts.

“This program went beyond just sitting in class reading off lecture slides or reading a set number of pages from a book. Studying abroad, in my opinion, is the most enriching way to learn because it takes what you learn and applies it to real life situations,” said DiBene.

Throughout her time in Namibia, DiBene’s main purpose was to improve water quality and make human health impacts. In her studies, she not only gained valuable knowledge for herself, but she was able to make a difference in a community where her impact is still being recognized today.

“I did a project where I tested water quality in different villages for E. coli and other things that make you sick,” said DiBene. “I got feedback from villages asking if I could go to their government to fix the situation for them.”

Even as a university student, DiBene’s impact on the community of Namibia was recognized and appreciated. That recognition has led to her continuation of the project even after her return.

“I am going to write a letter to Bill Gates and see if we can do something, because there is not that much research about the water quality there, and since I now have this research I can do something to help them.”

The impact of studying abroad affects each student in a different way. Whether your mission is to help others or find yourself, studying abroad is the perfect opportunity to broaden your horizons.

It goes “beyond just sitting in class reading off lecture slides or reading a set number of pages from a book,” said DiBene. “Studying abroad, in my opinion, is the most enriching way to learn because it takes what you learn and applies it to real life situations.”

If you are a student that wants to enrich your academic experience by studying abroad, please visit www.honors.arizona.edu/studyabroad or https://global.arizona.edu/study-abroad for more information on both honors and non-honors study abroad opportunities. 

Photo credit: Tom Wilson