Captain Adam Balbach leads 11 students to Africa
September 19, 2018
The University of Southern Indiana Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program provides experiences to college students that are indispensable to their journey to becoming future leaders.
One of the most unique and impactful opportunities available to USI ROTC cadets is the Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program (CU&LP).
“The program is aimed at developing 12 specific cultural, regional, expertise and language competencies in cadets by immersing them in foreign cultures around the world,” said Adam Balbach, assistant professor of Military Science and CPT of Army ROTC.
In summer 2018, Balbach experienced CU&LP first hand. He led a group of 11 students from all across the country, to Uganda, Africa where they stayed at Camp Singo, a pre-deployment camp for the Ugandan Peoples Defense Force. There they lived and trained alongside French, Dutch, British and Ugandan Soldiers.
During their time in Uganda, they experienced military-to-military exchange, humanitarian service and education of the social, cultural and historical aspects of the country.
Balbach said one of the most meaningful experiences from the trip was being embedded so closely with the Ugandans. He was challenged to overcome language barriers while learning more about their military practices.
“Cadets gained perspective of how others around the world view the U.S. and as a result, they become more self-aware, confident and well-rounded leaders.”
While engaged with CU&LP, cadets are exposed to the reality that other countries have immensely different lifestyles, cultural norms, societal beliefs, religions, economic standings and world perspectives. This program’s primary focus is providing an eye-opening experience that helps students learn more about other countries, cultures and even learn more about themselves along the way.
Although you must be a contracted cadet in ROTC to attend, this program is more than just learning about the military. It is an opportunity for students to learn about who they are as a leader and a person.
Balbach said he would challenge any student who thinks they are a good leader or has cultural respect to participate in this program to immerse themselves in a completely different environment.
To learn more about Army ROTC at USI visit, USI.edu/ROTC.
By Maria Scheller, Outreach and Engagement Content Marketing Assistant
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