Dean Jacobs shares world-travelling experience

Whitney Winter, Staff Writer

Dean Jacobs spoke about his adventures in Uganda and around the world, as well as the upcoming 2020 summer study-abroad trips and working with NGO-Soft Power Education on Oct. 10 in the Niobrara Room in the Student Center.

Jacobs said he works alongside NGO-Soft Power Education to supply under-educated and poor countries with school supplies. He has traveled to over 50 countries since he started his trek in 2001. Jacobs said he quit his job and sold his house to follow his dream of traveling the globe and making a difference in the world after his near-death experience in a car accident. He came out of the accident without a scratch, but when he saw his life flash before his eyes, Jacobs decided to pursue a life worth living.

His first journey from 2001 to 2003 was his most treacherous. He said he visited 28 countries in two years and lived on $10 to $15 a day. He journeyed to Australia, Mount Everest, the Middle East and the heart of Africa.

“It’s the first time you do something, you learn the most because you make the most mistakes and that learning curve is steep but it’s rich with experiences that help you further down the line,” Jacobs said.

In 2004, Jacobs traveled to Guatemala, the Panama Canal, and the Galapagos Islands. He then journeyed to the Nile River, Russia, Ethiopia, Uganda and Giza, Egypt in 2007. He lived on the sides of volcanoes in Africa and met mountain gorillas in 2009. From 2011 to 2012, Jacobs visited the Amazon Rainforest and River as well as Ecuador. In Ecuador, Jacobs took school materials to the locals of the Achuar nation. In 2013, he canoed the Mississippi River.

Jacobs said his motto for life is “Dream Big, Live Tall, Make the World Better.” He said he wants people to live outside the box, allowing themselves to dream and then act on those dreams. He teaches this life motto to all of the students he takes on trips, such as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln students who have visited Africa or the Amazon in the last four years.

Jacobs works with NGO-Soft Power Education to help refurbish rural schools. The students that went to Uganda with him helped clean and paint the school. They spent four to five days in the country and one day on a safari.

Jacobs will be teaching a class at Wayne State College for students attending a study abroad program. The class will prepare the students for the work they will be completing, service-learning, and teach them the history, agriculture, and lifestyles of the locals. The cap for the class will be 18 students.

Daniel Estrella, a junior at WSC, spent one week in the San Clemente village, then one week with the Achuar community in the Amazon Rainforest.

“It feels like you’re doing something very different than you’re used to,” Estrella said. “You learn to be grateful for what we have here and realize how big the world is and all the amazing things there are.”

The two WSC study abroad trips available this summer are to Greece and Ecuador. Greece is from May 10 to June 11, 2020, and Ecuador is from June 11 to June 25, 2020. Students can sign up for a study abroad opportunity in the spring, and registration agreements and application fees are due Dec. 13.

Jacobs will be leading the Ecuador trip which will focus on the cultures and geography of the Amazon Rainforest while also practicing service-learning in Ecuadorean communities.

Students may contact Lisa Nelson, director of service-learning and academic affairs, for additional information. They may email her at [email protected] or call her office at (402) 375-7182. Her office is located in Connell Hall Room 238.