First Impressions of SFS Tanzania

Posted: February 11, 2013

Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
I chose this study abroad program for several reasons. Most of my family has lived in Tanzania and other parts of Africa. As a child, my grandparents have told me stories of the Maasai people, and that there’s something I could learn from the Maasai people. Along with my familial connections, SFS offers in-class and field experience. As an undergraduate student, most of my days are spent learning about research. SFS offers extensive field work experience as well a community-based living situation. I think it is important to understand the science as well as the people it applies to. There is no point of understanding science if there is no application. The program entails application of biology towards people as well as animals. Overall, the SFS program will ensure a well-rounded study abroad experience.

What are you first impressions of the country?
Tanzania is breathtaking. I have never seen anything so beautiful. Aside from the picturesque landscape, the country appears like a blend of bright and bold colours. From passing the markets with the bright fabrics to the local community waving as our cars drive past them, Tanzania paints the perfect picture in every way.

What are you first impressions of the field station?
The field station is much larger than what I expected. I love the station particularly because from all corners, you can see a different picture. You can see Moyo Hill, the local community, gardens and the various animals. Every direction has something different to offer. The field station also has plenty of places to relax, study, and engage with students or faculty. The classroom is open which is nice. I particularly enjoy the company of the staff and faculty. It is nice that everyone lives at the site.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester both academically and culturally?
One of the biggest challenges I will face academically is being able to get work done because there is so much to do and see! Also, we are so used to having everything in such proximity such as fast internet or certain stationaries. It will be challenging to get work done with what is provided. One of the biggest challenges culturally is being able to understand Swahili and the people. As typical foreigners, we are most likely to take pictures everywhere we go. However, there are certain rules for picture taking. We cannot walk around and take pictures of every tribe or child we see particularly because they are certain cultural rules.

What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?
I am looking forward to genuinely understanding the culture of the local tribes as well as applying the biological concepts that we will learn in class. I think it is important to apply the concepts learned in class. Also I am excited about conquering challenges. It may sound cliché but sometimes it is necessary to be uncomfortable to actually gain some experience.

Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Content. Confused. Excited.