As anyone who has participated in this program will attest, there are no words or pictures that can begin to adequately capture the beauty of the scenery or hospitality of the people in Cape Town. Therefore, this blog is merely intended to provide an overview of the program and a glimpse at some amazing adventures and life-changing experiences had by the students and staff of this program who have traveled together as co-educators and companions on the journey. As Resident Director and Faculty Advisor since 2008 it has been a privilege and honor to accompany an incredible variety of wonderful UConn students to a place we have all come to know and love.

In peace, with hope,
Marita McComiskey, PhD,
Assistant Professor in Residence
Women’s Studies and Cape Town Study Abroad
University of Connecticut

Where are they now?

Former participants were asked to send updates on what they are doing now.  Their responses will be posted as they are received.


Jung Cho interned at the Treatment Action Campaign during the spring semester of 2008.

Mia & Jung in South Africa 2008

Since being in Cape Town, South Africa in Spring 2008 as an intern at the Treatment Action Campaign in Khayelitsha, Jung continued her UConn study abroad adventures to study foreign policy and international law at Yonsei University, South Korea and had previously participated in the Service Learning in Dominican Republic Uconn summer trip in 2007.  Upon graduating from University of Connecticut majoring in International Human Rights & Health and Political Science, she ventured to American Samoa as a WorldTeach volunteer to teach sixth grade mathematics and English. More recently, Jung worked at the Office of Strategic Partnerships at Hartford Public Schools in Hartford, CT as an AmeriCorps Public Ally and also initiated a youth service-learning leadership development program to engage Hartford high school youth in community activism. After a short summer in Kigali, Rwanda to help open a new school for Rwandan youth,  Jung went to the Harvard Graduate School of Education to study Education Policy and Management, where she was the Tri-Chair of the 10th Annual Alumni of Color Conference, research assistant at The Harvard University Achievement Gap Initiative, and also a graduate intern at Boston Public Schools Office of English Language Learners.
In summer of 2012, Jung was the founding Operations Director of Uplift Education's new schools in Texas, Uplift Meridian Preparatory and Uplift Mighty Preparatory, which serves students from low socioeconomic families in southeast Fort Worth. She continues to pursue social justice and create new opportunities for young people today with the same fervor that was experienced in Cape Town. To contact Jung email her at jcho@uplifteducation.org

Alla Ostasiewicz interned at the City of Cape Town Department of Arts and Culture during the spring semester of 2008.

Alla's update:
16 Sept 2012

I'm currently working at AmeriCares, a nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization which provides immediate response to emergency medical needs – and supports long-term humanitarian assistance programs – for all people around the world, irrespective of race, creed or political persuasion. I work in the communications department as Senior Associate in Multimedia, which means I support all of our photography/video work, doing everything from taking pictures to editing videos to maintaining a database of our archived media. It’s a perfect fit for my degree and experience in the arts and international non-profits. I love the organization and the people I work with, and I have even had the opportunity to travel domestically and internationally. 


Katy Sileo was in Cape Town Jan-May 2008. She interned at the Gender Equity Unit at the University of the Westen Cape and did her activist project at the Place of Hope.

Katy playing with some children
for part of her activist project (2008)
Katy's update
12 Sept 2012

After spending the Spring 2008 semester in Cape Town and interning at the Gender Equity Unit, I graduated in 2009 with a BA in Psychology and Women's Studies. My time in South Africa sparked my interest in global health, particularly HIV/AIDS. I worked post-graduation for several years at the Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention (CHIP) on PEPFAR-funded Prevention-with-Positives programs with military soldiers in Uganda, Mozambique, and Ethiopia. I have continued to pursue this interest as a Master of Public Health (MPH) student at the University of Connecticut Health Center. I am currently working in the Health Center's Department of Community Medicine and Health Care on faculty-led research aimed to reduce risky behaviors among sex workers and fisherman in Uganda and will be conducting thesis work on the integration of family planning and HIV services in resource-limited countries.

Katy 2012


Mia Freedenfeld participated in this program January - May 2008, during her sophomore year.  While in Cape Town she interned at Place of Hope.   Mia has continued her commitment to working for social justice and looks forward to the day when she can return to South Africa.

Mia's update:
9 Sept 2012

My name is  I was part of the 2008 Cape Town, South Africa study abroad group. While there I interned at Place of Hope, a domestic violence shelter for women and their children. At Place of Hope I was a receptionist and worked in the day care and held after school groups for the older children. Working at POH opened my eyes to the struggles that women face and the influence it has on their children across domestic violence victims but also specific struggles for the women of South Africa. I carry the stories that I heard and the experiences that I had there with me everyday and think back on the women with admiration at their strength and courage. I will never forget the lessons I learned and hope that I found at POH. My volunteer project was at Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust where I did data entry and worked with the social workers and counselors at the center. I was deeply influenced by the stories I heard and read about but inspired by the spirit the workers had for changing the status quo.

 South Africa confirmed by aspirations for social justice work. I knew that there was no way I could exist in the world without working to change it. I graduated in 2010 from UCONN with a double major in Women's Studies and Sociology and a minor in Criminal Justice. While at UCONN I was very involved with the Women's Center and the Violence Against Women Prevention Program. I now work at Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services as the Resource and Projects Coordinator. I hope to return to South Africa someday, and know that the spirit of Ubuntu and South Africa is with me everyday.


Sarah Stockmann participated in the UConn in Cape Town Study Abroad Program in 2008. While living, learning and working in South Africa she interned three days a week at Christel House School.

Sarah with her class at Christel House School 2008.

An education major, Sarah graduated from UConn in 2010 and has continued her commitment to working for human rights and social justice in many ways.

Sarah's recent update:

3 Sept 2012

I'm leaving tomorrow to be an environmental education volunteer with the Peace Corps in Nicaragua.  I was in Honduras as a youth development volunteer from July 2011-January 2012, but they evacuated us all due to security concerns, so now I am on to Nicaragua!  My blog (for both Honduras and Nicaragua) is sarahpeacecorps.blogspot.com


Sarah Schneider participated in the Cape Town Program in 2010. While there she interned at Thondokhulu High School, then returned to UConn for her final undergraduate year, graduating in 2011.  Below she describes her experiences--then and now.

Sarah at Thondokhulu High School in 2010.
In addition to teaching English there three days a week,
she also helped conduct after school book clubs in the townships.
Sarah's recent update:
3 Sept 2012

I graduated in 2011 with an English major.  In Cape Town, I interned at Thondokhulu High School, where I taught English. As one of my many activist projects, I worked with another intern at an after-school book club.  The book club took place once a week at Thondokhulu and we travelled into the townships a couple of other days a week to conduct book clubs at the schools there. As much as I loved teaching, it was ultimately the book club that had the greatest affect on me.  The enthusiasm for reading and learning was unmatched by anything I've ever seen from high school students, and the intimate relationships I formed with such students shaped me forever.  I loved working with students one-on-one and I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. I vividly remember walking to Thondokhulu one day with Leah (another UConn student-intern) and discussing the idea of Speech Therapy. I knew after that conversation this was definitely something I wanted to pursue after leaving South Africa. 

So upon returning I frantically switched my schedule around to get all the prerequisites I needed to apply for grad school, applied, was miraculously admitted, signed up for my classes…I was all set to go. Then, a few days before orientation, the adventurer inside of me took over. I couldn't help but cease the opportunity to take up another teaching job in Budapest, Hungary.  ((As a side-note, I truly think I was able to embrace this opportunity and understand it was the right move as a result of the Myers-Brigg test we took prior to going to South Africa. I am now able to understand and appreciate my decision-making process as an ENFP and truly use it to my advantage.))  So with my experience of traveling to South Africa as a foundation for my ability to adapt in a place so different from home, I thrived.  I travelled the world, soaking in the experience. I know with every fiber of my being I made the right decision, and I couldn't be more thankful. Now, I am two days into the same program for Communication Disorders I originally set out to complete. While the wanderer in me is pained with the longing to see new things, stretch my limits, and challenge my comfort, I know this is a practical step to accomplish what I've now known for years is a career in which I can thrive.

Sarah on a trip to Mostar, Bosnia 2012


Katie Welsh Laliberte was in Cape Town January- May 2008 where she interned at Black Sash before heading back to UConn in time for her graduation as an Honors student majoring in French Literature and African Studies.

Katie's update:
3 Sept 2012

I graduated from UConn in 2008 with degrees in French Literature and African Studies (an independent major) and minors in Human Rights and English Literature. While at UConn, I studied abroad for a year in Paris, did a summer SIT program in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania and spent the last semester of my undergrad interning at the Black Sash in Cape Town. This exposure to a paralegal aid and lobbying organization greatly influenced my decision to apply to law school two years after graduating and I am currently completing my final year at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Ontario, where I lives with my husband. I summered at a mid-sized law firm in the city and will return there next year for the uniquely Ontarian requirement of articling for ten months prior to being called to the bar in 2014. I have not yet decided in which area of law I would like to practice. 


Katherine Bradbury was in Cape Town January - May 2010 where she interned at Black Sash.  After graduating from UConn in May 2011, Katherine was awarded the Goldstone Fellowship through the Human Rights Institute at UConn. She spent a year in The Hague, Netherlands interning, and subsequently working, for the United Nations' International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Katherine is earning a master's in Comparative Politics (focusing on conflict studies) at the London School of Economics.

Katerine's update appeared in UConn Today in August 2012 and can be found at http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2012/08/exploring-human-rights-from-the-hague/

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