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“South Africa was calling me.”
These are the words Justine “Justice” Shorter uses when asked to describe her visit to Capetown, South Africa this past summer.
A senior majoring in Journalism with a minor in Justice and Peace Studies, Justine always knew that she wanted to travel abroad, so when the opportunity to work with a social entrepreneurship program through Arcadia University presented itself this summer, she jumped at the opportunity.
During the trip, Justine took classes and completed internships at SANGOCO (South African NGO Coalition). As part of this experience, she had the opportunity to explore her passion for social justice while working directly with people from the University of Capetown, as well as community members living in the city’s outlying townships. During her free time, she took trips into the county side and along the coast where she saw wildlife, national parks, and even marched in the streets during a youth demonstration for better employment opportunities, an experience that she describes as “incredible.”
The journey, however, was not without its challenges. Shorter, who is legally blind, was accompanied by a guide during the seven week trip. This meant paying for additional food, lodging and airfare in addition to her own, expenses funded by a combination of personal savings and a grant from the Educational Opportunity Program at Marquette. But in the end she calls the experience “life changing,” and adds that she would do it over again the same way if given the chance.
Justine plans to eventually use the skills acquired during her summer internships to continue working for social causes. She also hopes to one day have a career in social entrepreneurship.
“When you’re passionate about something, you have to follow it,” Shorter says. “In the end, the struggles make the successes that much sweeter. After being in South Africa, I found a piece of who I ultimately want to be.”