First Impressions of SFS Kenya & Tanzania

Posted: February 11, 2014

Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
I chose this program because it is the best opportunity to study in East Africa, especially for wildlife management! There are so many opportunities to explore local life and see the amazing landscapes here. The SFS program is not replicable and that’s exactly what I wanted my study abroad experience to be!

What are your first impressions of the country?
Tanzania is beautiful! The scenery is breathtaking and it’s completely different from home, which makes it that much more exciting. The people are absolutely wonderful, especially the local children. I have never seen kids more excited to play with us in my life. I went and played soccer with the 50+ school children at recess today and it was an absolute blast to see their happiness and excitement for us to be there. The culture is very intriguing and I can’t wait to explore more local towns!

What are your first impressions of the field station?
The Moyo Hill campus is awesome! It’s so nice to see green grass, coming from the snow, and just hanging out in the gazebo in between classes. The staff are really what makes life great here, though. They are all so friendly and welcoming, from the time they greeted us all individually at the airport to now when we are attempting to speak Swahili with them. The close living quarters and personal connections really make it feel like home here already.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester both academically and culturally?
Culturally, I think the language barrier will be the biggest thing. Our teacher tells us that Swahili is easy to learn, but anytime you learn a new language, it’s going to be challenging. Being able to speak with the locals while in town makes things so much easier, so hopefully I am able to pick up on Swahili quickly!

Academically I think the biggest challenge will be simply studying. That sounds ridiculous, but Tanzania has such nice weather it’s difficult to actually sit down and do homework! There are so many things to see, and we all love playing soccer and volleyball, so it’s quite difficult to actually sit down and focus. I think once we get used to things here, it will become easier to remind myself that I’m here for school, not vacation.

What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?
Definitely the expeditions and field exercises out in the savanna! Who doesn’t want to camp in Serengeti National Park with the lions and elephants?! Well, maybe some people don’t, but I can’t wait to do some research out in the field and explore the land of the Lion King!

Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Excited, welcomed, amazed.