At the beginning of the fall semester, we asked student Riga Moettus about her first impressions of Tanzania. Now, as the semester comes to a close, she shared her thoughts with us again.
What did you like most about the SFS experience?
I liked a lot of things about SFS! I really liked all the field and traveling exercises and lectures we got to go on for our classes – they were always interesting and fun! And I really liked getting to know the awesome people on the program and getting to experience everything with them.
You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impressions of it now.
Tanzania is a beautiful place full of amazing wildlife and very kind-hearted people. It is also full of some of the most welcoming people. Even when people seemed busy at work, they rarely hesitated to welcome us in when we asked, which is unlike many places. Also, I really enjoyed the pole pole lifestyle.
What is life at the Center really like? What are the best and the most challenging parts?
Life at the Center still feels kind of like a continuous summer camp. People are always around and unless everyone is working, there are usually games, movies, or conversations to join in on. The best part is that it feels comfortable and everyone sort of feels like family. The most challenging part is probably that you never really get a break from the people or the activities and that campus sometimes feels a bit small.
What ended up being your biggest challenge this semester both academically and culturally?
Academically, it was probably spending so many days in a row working to analyze data and write my paper for Directed Research. Culturally, I think it was sometimes challenging to be reminded of the very conservative mindset of the people, or like in many places, the higher authority granted to men.
What is the best memory you have from the semester? Give some highlights.
Probably either having to remove jiggers from my toe in the dark in a tent in Tarangire with the “help” of my tent mates, or our last night out when we went to a lodge to see acrobats and played drums. I also loved all safari days and I have multiple fond memories of having bonfires, going stargazing, or playing games like scatter, werewolf, and volleyball around camp.
Give three adjectives that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Excited, comfortable, exhausted