Zambia Study Abroad

Program Directors

Dr. Zewelanji Serpell, znserpell@vcu.edu

Dr. Vivian Dzokoto, vdzokoto@vcu.edu

Explores Zambian history and culture and, their influence on the psychological and educational aspects of Zambian life. 

Study Abroad Zambia

Students will visit selected non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and participate in a service-learning project at one of four community sites that serve children and adolescents in poor communities in the capital city, Lusaka. This program 3-week intensive service-learning course offers an exceptional opportunity for students to immerse themselves in Zambian culture and engage in meaningful service learning activities.

Course and credit options

AFAM 491. Topics in African-American Studies. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated with different topics for a maximum of 9 credits; 3 credits may be applied to the African-American studies minor. An in-depth study of specialized areas of African-American studies.

PSYC 491. Topics in Psychology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Maximum total of 6 credits in topics courses. Prerequisite: PSYC 101. An in-depth study of selected topics and issues in psychology. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered.

PSYC 494. Research Internship in Psychology. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1, 2 or 3 credits per semester. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits with adviser's approval. PSYC 492, PSYC 493 or PSYC 494 may be repeated for a total of 6 credits but a maximum of 12 credits total for all three courses. Prerequisites: PSYC 101 and permission of faculty research supervisor must be obtained prior to registration. PSYC 214 and PSYC 317, or permission of supervisor. Students will work on various phases of a research project (design, data collection, data analysis, manuscript writing) under a psychology faculty member's close supervision. This course is designed to enhance the psychology major's career pursuits for either graduate-level training or post-baccalaureate employment.


Course description

Students spend 3 weeks in Zambia engaging in site visits, service learning, lectures and discussion groups. Students expand their experiential knowledge through service learning that contributes to efforts by local organizations to meet the health and education needs of children and adolescents living in impoverished communities in Zambia. Students participate in organized visits to non-governmental organizations and selected communities in Lusaka to hear about local initiatives. They also participate in discussions with instructors and students at the University of Zambia.

Students will develop an e-portfolio that documents their thoughts and reflections about experiences before, during and after the program. They will also read and write reflections on materials about Zambian history, art, daily life and cultural norms.

Active Learning Activities/ Fieldwork

Students will complete 3 hours per day of service learning at one of four service sites:

1. Kondwa Day Center for Orphans (3-7 year olds)

2. Pakachele Primary School (7-12 year olds)

3. Seko House Orphanage for (6-14 year old girls)

4. ICT Ladders Computer Skills Training Center (6-16 year olds and school teachers)

Lectures & Coursework

Students will attend 3-hour lecture and discussion sessions each day. Lecturers include program directors, faculty from the University of Zambia, and local experts from community-based organizations in Lusaka. Discussion sections will be held twice a week and facilitated by graduate students from the Department of Psychology at the University of Zambia. Coursework will cover the following topic areas:

1. Central themes and perspectives in the field of cultural psychology

 Cross cultural fieldwork and research

2. The influence of culture on the social and developmental processes of children

 Zambian children’s social networks and social supports in cultural context

Education theory and practice in cultural context

3. Cross-cultural views of women, men and children

Zambian family ecologies

4. Health psychology as mediated by cultural factors

Community health perspectives in Zambia