In Uganda, you can choose between the following living contexts:
By living in a homestay, you are making an intentional commitment to live outside your comfort zone. Your days will be spent on campus studying, worshipping and eating with Ugandan peers. While you'll have some opportunities to make relationships and be involved on campus, most of your time will be spent in an even more effective classroom: a Ugandan family.
Students living on campus will also spend two weeks with a host family, but you will have the entire semester to be integrated as a true member of a Ugandan family. You will live close enough to walk to the university, but far enough to escape the 'bubble' so familiar to Christian colleges. Life with a Ugandan family will include eating Ugandan staple foods (beans, rice, potatoes, etc.), bathing from a bucket, and having limited communication (internet is available on campus, but not in homes), among other challenges. The majority of homes will have electricity, but most will not have indoor plumbing.
You will leave Uganda with a genuine second family, a picture of family and Christian hospitality that can't be gained in the classroom, but is lived out in the family rituals, the family obligations, and the family celebrations. This experience will give you a thorough foundation of cultural values manifested and embodied in your daily life and relationships.
If you choose to combine this experience with the Cross-Cultural Practicum class, you will also develop a plan for creatively engaging the community in which you live. Whether you develop relationships with children, shopkeepers, mothers or other groups in your neighborhood, you will experience the challenges and successes of relational ministry in a foreign culture. This setting is designed for students interested in ministering or living cross-culturally in the future. If you've spent time in intercultural classes or debated the importance of truly engaging those different from you, then this is the place for you. If you embrace this setting, we certainly don't claim that it will be easy, only that it will be worth it.
NOTE: If participating in campus activities (sports, choirs, fellowships, etc.) is extremely important to you, consider applying to live on campus since practice times and commitments are not conducive to homestays.
At first, you may see the differences of daily life at Uganda Christian University (UCU): cold showers, basic meals at the dining hall, hearing Luganda spoken by roommates and monkeys playing outside your classroom. As the days turn into weeks, the differences begin to disappear as you share university life with Ugandan peers. Attending lectures, fellowships and sporting events, learning to find books in the library and participating in community worship - even the most basic activities give you an insight into the lives of your classmates who soon will become your friends.
If you choose this living context option, you will spend the majority of the semester living on campus at UCU, rooming with other USP students and/or with students from Uganda and elsewhere in Africa. For two weeks of the semester you will live with a Ugandan family near the university, coming for classes during the day and spending the evening learning first hand about culture, politics and religion. These families adopt you as their own daughter or son, and you will find yourself attending traditional introduction ceremonies, weddings, burials and other events that make you a brief, but full participant in these communities.
If you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone, there are many opportunities to be involved in campus life. Even though you are only here for a semester, USP students are welcomed in worship groups, athletic teams, and fellowship groups from the different regions of Uganda.