French 3140B
Rwanda: Culture, Society and Reconstruction

Offered in English

  • Syllabus - TBA

Prerequisites: Be at least in second year at the time of applying and with permission of Department of French Studies. See Department for information on application procedure.

NOTE: This course can only count towards a module of the Department of French Studies by special permission of the Department of French Studies.

Course Description:

This is an interdisciplinary Experiential Learning Course on Rwanda, based in the Department of French Studies. It provides students with an opportunity to learn about Rwandan society, and about themselves by engaging in an international social and cultural setting. The readings for the course will focus on issues related to Community Service Learning and the history and culture of Rwanda. The course will offer an in-depth look at a number of contemporary social issues that are common in the African Great Lakes region. Guest lecturers (Dr. Nanda Dimitrov, Prof. Alain Goldschlager, Prof. Amanda Grzyb, Prof. Jeff Tennant, Stephanie Hayne, Lise Laporte, and former participants, among others) will be invited to speak to the class. Five weeks of active and interactive community service in Rwanda will be required for the completion of the course.

Our main community partner in Rwanda is The College of Medicine and Health Sciences (former KHI), located in the capital city of Kigali. We will mainly work with three community partners : Centre Marembo, Les Enfants de Dieu, and Caritas. As we go so far to serve and learn in these community centres where we have developed extremely solid relationships and excellent work habits for the last six years, we also commit to the integrity and integrality of our team as ambassadors of Western University and Canada.

Course Objectives: 

  • to learn about the history, culture and people of Rwanda
  • to give students an opportunity to immerse themselves in an international community/society
  • to offer opportunities for international internships and service learning activities in Rwanda and allow students to develop intercultural competence
  • to increase students’ clear understanding of the needs of global communities through effective international experiential learning
  • to take part in Western’s commitment to Engaging the Future in the areas of internationalization and the best student experience
  • to develop and solidify leadership skills and global citizenship

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course you should:

  • be familiar with aspects of Rwandan history and culture
  • understand the nature of the Rwandan genocide from multiple perspectives and how the country is currently dealing with the aftermath
  • be aware of cultural and personal biases towards groups, places and events and have worked to overcome these or understand them in new way
  • have added to your personal growth by sharing your thoughts, opinions and feelings about your experiences in insightful and supportive group reflections
  • be aware of how experiential learning (and in this case international service-learning) can dramatically enhance the academic learning process