By Iqra Razzaq
The past two Decembers, small teams of Darden students visited their Global Consulting Project clients in Uganda. Building on successful past engagements, the Center for Global Initiatives offered the first Darden Worldwide Global Immersion Course to Uganda this May. Twenty-six students participated in the new course offering which explored education, healthcare, and business development across the nation. Michael Koenig led this course and accompanied the students throughout their stay in Uganda. He shared thoughts on the course:
“As the first foray for a Darden Worldwide Course into East Africa, the Uganda DWC elective far surpassed all expectations. Our participants in this inaugural program in East Africa had the opportunity to delve deeply into the core themes of the program entrepreneurship, education and health care. Most importantly, the program offered opportunities to meet with and get to know many members of each of these communities in Uganda, offering a much deeper appreciation of the interrelated challenges and opportunities that face this fast growing country. Finally, our students had multiple opportunities to experience the rare natural beauty of this country with game ride safaris in both Lake Mburo and Murchison Falls National Parks, capped off with a boat tour on the Victoria Nile river and a view of one of nature’s most spectacular views, Murchison Falls Uganda.”
In advance of departure, self-formed teams selected topics relevant to the themes of the course, conducted research, summarized findings and insights for integration into an overall briefing book, shared with the entire class before departure. This briefing book served as background reading and preparation for the trip.
On the ground, students developed a thorough understanding of an entrepreneur’s obstacles and opportunities in Uganda through first hand meetings. Additionally, they interacted with local leaders and many cultural festivities. Students had opportunities to visit the Uganda Cultural Museum, Nile Brewery, and the MUST Medical School. Dr. Chris Moore, from the UVA School of Medicine, co-led the program and shared insights on healthcare and innovation in the region. The snapshots below capture just a few parts of the memorable course!