As the Spring 2018 SFS students begin to settle into their new homes around the world, we asked them to share their impressions of the experience so far. Adriana Pappas had this to say about SFS Tanzania:
Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
I must have looked at a ton of programs in the vast sea of study abroad opportunities. I fell in love with SFS when I learned about the hands-on learning and the “in-the-field Directed Research” project. To be able to partake in a real research study and present the findings just sounded like an amazing opportunity. Also, I knew with all my heart that this SFS program would truly be a once in a lifetime experience; I knew I would never be able to replicate the experiences I would have with SFS in Tanzania. After I learned about SFS, I didn’t even consider any other programs.
What are your first impressions of the country?
I can only think of one way to describe Tanzania: breathtakingly beautiful; the people, the animals, the landscape, every aspect of this country is stunning. I was shocked by all of the gorgeous mountains and hills that seem to follow you everywhere you go. Not even the most famous photographer could accurately capture the beauty that is literally everywhere in this country. The culture is so vibrant and full of life and the people are all so welcoming. I instantly fell in love with Tanzania.
What are your first impressions of the field station?
The camp is so warm and welcoming! As soon as we walked through the gate, we were greeted with the warmest of welcomes by all of the staff. They all shook our hands and told us how excited they were for the semester. I immediately felt at home. The camp is perfectly located right in the middle of Rhotia village which has already become one of my favorite places to walk around. The field station is super colorful, peaceful, and fun! I can’t describe how happy I am to call this place home for the next 3 months.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester, both academically and culturally?
Academically, I think the biggest challenge for me will be environmental policy. I don’t have any experience with that subject and I’m nervous about it. So far the lectures have been super interesting and engaging! I’m really excited to learn more about a topic I know very little about. Culturally, I’m nervous about bartering at the markets. We don’t barter for prices in the States and the concept is just so foreign to me. I can be pretty shy but I think bartering and just interacting with all of the locals will help me with that as well.
What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?
I am absolutely ecstatic for our expeditions! I have been counting down the days since we arrived and our first expedition to Tarangire National Park is in just over a week! We’ve already been on one game drive and it was the most amazing experience of my life! Words cannot describe how excited I am to be able to spend 5 consecutive days in the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen! I’m also super excited about the Directed Research at the end of the semester. I don’t have any experience with research and I think it will be an unbelievably amazing learning experience.
Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Thrilled, grateful, in love