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Creative Writing



American students participating in BBUSA engage with one of its programming hallmarks—a creative writing platform. With their goal ultimately being to create an English-language book for communities in Rwanda, the students are challenged to fuse writing theory with burgeoning thought, all while keeping their overseas recipients in mind. 


The freedom that comes standard with creative writing tends to be why so many students gravitate toward it, but the practice also reaps countless benefits for them. Of course, on a surface level, creative writing allows students to develop competency within writing constraints, which includes:


  • Understanding who their audience is

  • Applying the message they want to express

  • Pinpointing their idea’s beginning, middle, and end

  • Developing unique characters

  • Practicing good grammar, sentence structure, and word choice in different contexts

  • Revising multiple drafts to arrive at a satisfying product


However, as almost any English teacher will attest, creative writing also fosters skills beyond language arts constructs. It hones the ones that will prove most useful, especially when the students inevitably move on to the workplace:


 1. Logistical skills: Before they put pen to paper, students pursuing a creative writing project must learn how to organize themselves efficiently, not limited to: 

  • Researching information about their “client” and idea

  • Organizing their thoughts into a basic story framework

  • Budgeting time to meet their project deadline


2. Critical thinking skills: Creative writing requires students to navigate all elements of their story’s characters and the situations they find themselves in. In order to get their message across effectively to a reader, they must flex their critical thinking muscles and practice:  

  • Finding creative solutions to difficult problems they or their characters are experiencing

  • Deciding what information needs to be included or discarded

  • Building their vocabulary to find the most suitable words

  • Developing a deeper understanding of real-world issues

3. Collaboration skills: With their commissioned stories, students must communicate with others—whether that is a fellow peer, teacher, or BBUSA Art Director—to achieve a common goal. Through this, they learn the importance of:

  • Delegating work and following directions if delegated

  • Asking questions if they find something unclear

  • Giving and taking constructive criticism graciously

4. Emotional intelligence: Creative writing also benefits students’ emotional well-being, giving them the experience of:

  • Being free to express themselves

  • Reducing stress

  • Developing empathy through recognition of the “human” side of issues



After completing such a challenging writing task—and doing so for the benefit of a stranger—BBUSA’s participating American students consistently walk away with an enormous sense of pride. The hope is that the students will want to duplicate this positive feeling, pursuing similar opportunities on their path as global changemakers. 

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