I can’t believe that it has already been two weeks since the students arrived to Tanzania. We have done so much and have gotten to know each other so well that it is beginning to feel more and more like a family. The first few days of the semester were spent doing orientation activities and ridding the jet-lag with soccer and exploring the local Rhotia area. We were lucky to have the students’ first day off coincide with the big monthly market that happens in Karatu. Although seemingly overwhelming at first, the students were soon sprawling around the market practicing the few Swahili phrases they had learned and using universal body language and pointing skills for communication. The first week was truly exciting to see the students adapt so quickly to their new environment and get to know each other.

This past week was spent out in the field as students learned about the local area and the connections between ecosystems, policy, and management. Whether the students were doing door-to-door interviews, identifying grasses and dung in the plains, or following a troop of baboons in Lake Manyara National Park, all of the days have been filled with excitement as this program rolls along. The students are now back in the classroom here at Moyo Hill after a morning of identifying birds found in and around our local Rhotia area. While the academics have kicked into full gear here, I am also happy to see the students still engaged in fun recreational activities such as soccer, going to the tailor to get clothes made, and playing games at night such as cards and Monopoly.

I am very excited to have such an entertaining group here in Tanzania for the semester, and I only expect it to get better! We have lots of activities (both academic and non-academic) planned for the coming weeks. We surely have started off strong and I am excited to see how the upcoming weeks unfold.