SFS Tanzania: the Best Semester of my Life Past Review

By (Bowdoin College) - abroad from 08/28/2016 to 12/07/2016 with

The School for Field Studies / SFS: Tanzania - Wildlife Management Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained an ability to conduct research and carry it out from data collection to paper writeup. I learned to critically analyze the world around me, and I opened my eyes to cultures I had never been exposed to before.

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.

Academics at SFS were fascinating, and I learned so much more than I do during a semester at my home university. Homework was easy and rarely assigned, and exams were nothing to worry about, but the professors still pushed you to learn and grow as students and thinkers.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Bandas (our housing) were very clean and had all necessary facilities. The sink or shower would sometimes break, but our facilities workers would quickly repair them. All in all, amazing quality considering the location of our program.

* Food:

Food was repetitive and often boring and cooked in a lot of oil, but such is the way in Tanzania. Cooks tried very hard to make food more like home for us!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Learning some swahili helped, but it was hard not to stand out in this country. Still, local people are very welcoming, and after 3 months I felt accepted as more than just a tourist.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I went to the local clinic twice this semester. It is clean, safe, and very helpful.

* Safety:

Rhotia is an incredibly safe village, and our camp was fenced in and protected by guards. I never felt unsafe in this program.

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


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $10-25
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? It all depends on what you want to buy - food is incredibly cheap here, but buying lots of little souvenirs adds up quickly!


* 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

Many of the staff didn't speak much english, which encouraged us to learn swahili, but it was still up to us to take the initiative.

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? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Field Research
  • Expeditions
  • People - local and American
* What could be improved?
  • Food
  • Communication between professors
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Try everything new!

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.