Uganda/Rwanda 15.08.2010 - 01.09.2010


TIA- This is Africa

This phrase is often used in African countries in order to teach tourists that things don’t always operate according to a clear schedule in Africa. At the same time, this saying could be interpreted as a prejudice, e.g. by concluding that Africans are badly organized in general and cannot be integrated into a modern economy. One aim of our study trip to Uganda and Rwanda will be to find out how much of  "TIA" is true and to what extent politics, economy and society are affected by this mentality.

Uganda and Rwanda are especially well suited for an intercultural study trip as many of their problems, such as AIDS, poverty and starvation, insurgent rebel groups and authoritarian tendencies of their rulers, are symptomatical for many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Nevertheless, there are silver linings on the horizon. In central and southern Uganda, the economy is prospering, and in recent years the economy of the whole country regularly grew by 5-6%. Therefore, economic aspects will be covered during meetings with experts as well. For travelers fascinated by history, Uganda as well as Rwanda offer interesting stories, as both countries look back on decades of violence and bloodshed. After becoming independent, the power vacuum could not be adequately filled. Dictatorships and civil wars ruined the countries. In Rwanda, ethnic conflicts escalated in the notorious genocide in 1994. And in Uganda, thousands of opposition members were killed when Idi Amin was in power. The movies "Hotel Ruanda" (2004) and "The Last King of Scotland" (2006) took up these turbulent years and carried their tragedies into the world in an unforgettable manner.


Objectives for the trip include:

  • To get an insight into the current geopolitical situation in Eastern Africa
  • To better understand development aid and cooperation, and to critically assess positive and negative consequences
  • To evaluate perspectives, chances and problems of the economic development in Uganda and Rwanda
  • To critically analyze the condition of human rights in both countries
  • To get to know traditions, culture and mentality
  • To discover the picturesque landscape

We aim to gain deeper insight into following questions:

  • What are the reasons for the widespread poverty in Uganda as well as in Rwanda?
  • In what ways does colonial history continue to have an effect, positively and negatively?
  • Development aid: Beneficial or harmful?
  • To what extent will the new “Anti-Gay-Legislation” affect the human rights situation in Uganda?
  • How efficient is the public health care system? Is it appropriate to call Uganda a model country in terms of fighting AIDS?
  • Is there an open and critical dialogue on the issue of corruption?
  • Some argue that Africa now is where Asia was 20 years ago. According to the insights gained in meetings with experts, is it reasonable to hope for such a development?

Meetings with experts in fields such as politics, economy and society will help us to meet the objectives. We aim to appear well prepared to these meetings in order to have professional and balanced discussions. Besides talking to high-profile personalities, there will also be opportunities to socialize with the locals to enable a comprehensive intercultural exchange.


«Organizing a study tour to east Africa was great deal of personal development and enabled me to get to know the culture and various political and economic aspects of two very distinct countries firsthand. Challenging the own view on topics such as "aid", "intervention" or "corruption" in discussions with experts and the student group was an unforgettable experience.»
Martin Bischof, 07.08.2009