At the beginning of the spring semester, we asked student Liv Lowell about her first impressions of Tanzania. Now, after a semester in country, we reconnected with Liv.
What did you like most about the SFS experience?
My favorite part about the SFS experience was the Directed Research. Though it is challenging and can be testing at times, completing the research and turning into a comprehensive study that has the potential to assist in management is the most rewarding feeling. You are no longer writing about hypotheticals or repeating past studies. Your research is making a difference.
You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impressions of it now.
Tanzania is such an incredible place. I am still amazed by the way the wildlife, the people and their cultures coexist in such a beautifully intricate and complicated balance. I am forever grateful to have been a part of it for a semester. This semester taught me just how much the world has to teach us.
What is life at the Center really like? What are the best and the most challenging parts?
Life at the Center is exciting, exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time. At times you will want to get away from it but the minute you do, you’ll find yourself craving more of it. From the soccer and volleyball games to group study sessions to late nights by the campfire or lounging in the hammocks (bring one!), life at the Center is very much comparable to science summer camp- in a good way!
What ended up being your biggest challenge this semester both academically and culturally?
The biggest challenge academically was how fast paced the beginning of the semester was. For the first half of the program there was be A LOT thrown at us, and it was overwhelming at times, but we got through it and came out with so much valuable knowledge and experience that makes it so worth it. The biggest cultural change was the language barrier. Despite having Swahili lessons the locals talk fast and have their own slang which can make it difficult to communicate. The good thing is that everyone is willing to repeat themselves and slow down. By the end I was surprised with how much I could pick up on.
What is the best memory you have from the semester? Give some highlights.
My favorite memories from the semester are the homestay, seeing a lion hunt a warthog in Tarangire National Park, seeing Tim in Amboseli National Park in Kenya and visiting and dancing with the Datoga, Maasai and Hadazbe tribes. The Hadzabe also taught us how to shoot bow and arrow and to gather edible roots and berries!
Give three adjectives that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Inspired and nostalgic