Penn Global Writing Seminar “Visits” Zimbabwe Online

May 1, 2020

Like other Penn students, those in Dr. Sara Byala’s “Becoming Zimbabwe” Global Writing Seminar had to deal with a disappointing change of plans, thanks to COVID-19. Instead of sharing a planned class trip to Zimbabwe at semester's end, students gathered together on Zoom. "The students had been periodically making TikTok videos and sharing funny memes during the online portion of the semester," Byala notes, "helping us all to stay sane in these trying times."

For the final class session, Byala asked them to share with others the places they had most hoped to visit, based on their research projects. Students got together in groups and decided to create TikTok videos in response to the question, “We could not go to Zimbabwe, but one day when we do go . . .” The results, as Dr. Byala observed, were heartwarming. The videos, shared on the last day of class, brought laughter, tears, a celebration of community, and a renewed determination to visit Zimbabwe!

"In the end, at least our class is still together and we are all healthy. We are all thankful to have met such great friends during this class, and we are also thankful for you, Professor Byala." —Thomas Kyong (C'23)

Co-Sponsored by Penn Global Seminars in the Penn Abroad Program and Critical Writing Seminars in the Marks Family Center for Excellence in Writing.

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