UF Faculty Department College
Manda Wittebort Program Coordinator, Brown Center for Leadership & Service Student Affairs
Partner Faculty Department Partner Institution
Martina Jordaan Head of Community Engagement Research and Postgraduate Studies University of Pretoria, South Africa
A Co-Create Virtual Exchange With Students: The Power of Storytelling and Leadership
Project Description:

In this Global Exchange project between the University of Florida and the University of Pretoria’s Pre-University Academy (UP-PUA), students defined storytelling and exercised it through developing and sharing their own stories, which were centered around the idea of identity and how they perceive themselves within the context of their communities. In the first session of the exchange, University of Florida students in the Path to Purpose program with the Brown Center for Leadership & Service shared their stories on how their passions have been molded and shaped by their upbringings and how they want to positively impact their communities through working in fields such as Law, Healthcare, and Urban Planning. Then, a crash course in storytelling was taught to the UP-PUA cohort of around twenty participants, so that they were equipped with the skills and knowledge to be able to share their own stories. In the second session, the UP-PUA students took the stage to share their stories about how they perceive themselves within their own communities and what they aspire to do in their future. A storytelling artist was present for the second session, where he captured students’ ideas in real-time as we reflected on key themes and ideas that were present in many of the stories. This artwork will be mailed to both student programs following its completion.

In this exchange, both cohorts were able to gain insight on how cultural context and age impacts how people view their role in the community. Students were grouped to match at least two UF students and seven UP-PUA students, who were between the ages of thirteen and fourteen, in each breakout room. The students engaged in discussions using mediums such as powerpoints, poetry, artwork, flipgrid, and verbal storytelling to communicate their ideas.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Students gained knowledge of different forms of storytelling from a cross-cultural viewpoint, and were able to practice communicating their own stories to audiences of up to 45 members (given that UF students are from many different cultural backgrounds and are located in the USA, and UP-PUA students come from different backgrounds and are located in South Africa)
  •  Students gained knowledge of global interconnectedness, becoming aware of the similar interests, community perceptions, and struggles that are faced by other students around the world.
Participating Countries:
South Africa
Number of Participants:
15 UF students & 25 students from the partner institution
UF Course Code & Name:
- Path to Purpose Program
Project Duration:
2 weeks
Activity Type(s):
Student-to-Student Dialogue
Student-to-Student Project
Virtual Guest Speaker
Time allotted to each activity:
Synchronous Activities: 3 hours total
Asynchronous Activities: 2 hours total
Individual Work: 2 hours total
Technology Tools: