Beauty, Kindness, and Hard Truths Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 09/01/2018 to 12/14/2018 with

SIT Study Abroad: Tanzania - Zanzibar Coastal Ecology and Natural Resource Management

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot from being immersed in a culture that is so different from mine and gained a deeper understanding of my material through experiential learning. I also learned a lot about the implications of research through my ISP and learned a lot about myself through the independence of this project.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Strictly speaking in terms of academics, the courses taken in this program were not demanding. Class time and assignments were limited and depended heavily on experiential learning.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The academic director and office staff of this program are phenomenal. They went above and beyond to make sure each student's needs were met and truly made Zanzibar feel like a home.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Homestay were comfortable and organized meticulously. I was most nervous about homestay when I committed to this program, and it ended up being one of the most rewarding parts of my stay. When we weren't him homestays, the hostels and guest houses we visited were always lovely and clean.

* Food:

The food in Zanzibar is so tasty! Very cheap and easy, but sometime oily.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated and had many informal relationships to Zanzibaris that developed from time spent in the city. I ate at restaurants frequented by locals and avoided touristy locales, which aided in my feelings of integration.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had a minor issue with digestive issues, and my health was treated quickly and professionally. There are numerous local clinics, and the program is highly sensitive to issues of health.

* Safety:

I never once felt unsafe in Zanzibar.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I would likely do it again, although I would want to consider academics more strongly if I were to choose a program again.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

All meals were covered by SIT, so the only time I spent any money was on gifts, incidentals like toothpaste, and medical bills.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~$5
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Bargain for touristy items! Don't be afraid to ask for a lower price if you think you're being over-charged.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? N/A
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Talk to local Zanzibaris as much as you can outside of class, whether it be at restaurants or just in the street using common greetings. Any time spent speaking the language is valuable, even if it seems insignificant.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • the location and people
  • being in the ocean
  • ISP
* What could be improved?
  • the academics, generally
  • longer ISP period
  • better local lectures/more involvement with local students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The academics and research component are not as rigorous as I would have hoped.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Coastal Ecology and Natural Resource Management

Course Department:
Instructor: Richard Walz and Others
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was not explicitly challenging, but I feel as though I got a lot out of it based on the field trips we attended and the applicability of the material to our location. I participated actively, and there were very few formal assignments.
Credit Transfer Issues: Transferring credit currently.
Course Name/Rating:

Marine Methods and Reserach Ethics

Course Department:
Instructor: Richard Walz and Others
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was challenging due primarily to the application of methods in the field and the subsequent writing of reports. This course fostered public speaking and presentation skills, which was useful and unique.
Credit Transfer Issues: Transferring credit currently.
Course Name/Rating:

Beginning/Intermediate Swahili

Course Department:
Instructor: Asia, Shuena, Ali, and Muddy
Instruction Language: Swahili
Comments: The course was challenging and well-taught. The teachers were receptive and supportive, and minimal homework was assigned regularly. It was challenging to learn a new language, but the class was well organized, enjoyable, and engaging.
Credit Transfer Issues: Currently transferring credit.