First Impressions of SFS Tanzania

Posted: September 16, 2013

Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
When I started looking at study abroad programs, there were so many that I was convinced I would never be able to decide. The SFS Wildlife Management Studies program in East Africa seemed to have everything I was looking for. This program gives me a chance to study something that I haven’t studied at Hamilton and to live in place I have never even imagined visiting. I chose SFS because it seemed to provide the perfect balance of cultural immersion and scientific field research.

What are your first impressions of the country?
Tanzania is an amazing country and I could not have asked for a better place to spend this semester! The people here, both who work at the Center and live in the local towns, are extremely friendly and welcoming.  Every time we leave the center we see amazing new views, whether just venturing into the local village, or driving to Lake Manyara, there are so many interesting and amazing sites to see all around us. We even saw an elephant on our way from the airport to the field station!

What are your first impressions of the field station?
The field station is beautiful. Most of our time, when not in class, is spent in the field in the middle of the station playing Frisbee, volleyball, reading, or just relaxing. All the buildings are extremely nice and have everything that we would possibly need, especially the dining hall, which serves us delicious food. Everyone who works here is incredibly friendly and always willing to help us improve our Swahili or soccer skills.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester both academically and culturally?
I think the biggest challenge for me will be learning Swahili. After venturing into town a few times and trying to talk with the local community members I am determined to become proficient enough in Swahili to have conversations with the locals. I often get nervous speaking new languages so I am challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone and practice speaking Swahili at every possible opportunity.

What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?
We have so many amazing experiences ahead of us that it is hard to choose just one. I would say I am definitely extremely excited to spend 5 days exploring and camping in the Serengeti and hopefully see many of the animals we are learning about.

Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Welcomed, Adventurous, Excited