Final Impressions of SFS Tanzania

Posted: December 9, 2014

What did you like most about the SFS experience?
I loved the hands-on experience SFS provided as well as working with the local communities. The local community members have so much knowledge to share with us and being able to work with them and learn from them was very rewarding and such a wonderful experience that I wouldn’t have gotten at my home university!

You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impression of it now.
Tanzania is an AMAZING country. The people are truly the heart of this country and are what make it so wonderful. I love being able to walk down the road and have locals say hi and always greet me with a smile regardless of my inability to speak Swahili. I love the mosaic of cultures and attitudes that encompass Tanzania. The people here and the importance they place on loving and taking a care of one another is so heartening and it has definitely been a blessing to be a part of this culture even for three short months.

What is life at the field station really like? What are the best and the most challenging parts of living at a remote field station?
Life at the field station is truly amazing! Coming into this semester I had no idea what to expect as far as the living situation or how comfortable the facilities would be. Life here at the station is so friendly and embracing. All of the staff and faculty work hard to make everyone feel at home and and treat everyone as one big family. I have loved living among friends, laughing, learning, and challenging each other every day to be better people. The most challenging part of living at a remote field station is the lack of privacy and alone time, but that is just a fact of life when you live with so many other people!

What ended up being your biggest challenge this semester both academically and culturally?
My biggest challenge academically was definitely forcing myself to study! There were constantly fun activities going on and cool people to hang out with all the time, which made studying hard. The greatest challenge culturally was definitely the different sense of time all the locals seem to have. Coming from America I was used to a fast-paced lifestyle where I am constantly on the go, but in Tanzania everyone takes their sweet time with everything. At first this was frustrating, but as I have spent more time here I have learned the importance of slowing down in life and appreciating the small things.

What is the best memory you have from the semester? Give some highlights.
I have so many wonderful memories from this semester! One memory I will cherish the most is the time spent in Serengeti National Park. This expedition was truly magical. I loved camping with everyone, seeing leopards and cheetahs, sharing many laughs and jokes in the safari cars, and simply enjoying all of the beauty that Serengeti has to offer. I have made so many wonderful friends and shared so many great memories with everyone here, from baking and eating batter to playing sports and joking around with Professor Kioko.

Give three adjectives that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Excited, Thankful, and Content