As the Fall 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. Riga Moettus had this to say about SFS Tanzania:
Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
I have always been interested in ecology and wildlife and African animals specifically have especially interested me from a young age. Also, I volunteered in Namibia for a month last summer and love it, so I really wanted to experience a different African landscape.
What are your first impressions of the country?
The people here are all very friendly, smiley, and interested in interacting with you. Also, the landscape from forests to agricultural fields has been beautiful. Overall my first impressions have all been very positive.
What are your first impressions of the Center?
So far the center has turned out to be smaller than I expected. However, because of this, it has quickly provided a very homey feel. There are so many fun activities and games to do on campus that it almost feels like a summer camp but with friendly people who all share your same interests and where you get to learn cool things every day.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester, both academically and culturally?
Academically, I think it will be learning Kiswahili well enough to hold a conversation that goes beyond greetings. Culturally, I think it will be accepting the more traditional conservative ideals in Tanzanian society, such as homophobia and gender roles and learning how to respect and understand what I cannot change.
What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?
I am really looking forward to getting out into the field and both seeing the wildlife and learning more about the techniques of field research.
Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Excited, exhausted, content.