A great experience for wildlife lovers! May 31, 2019

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/28/2019 to 05/08/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I think that this program showed me a lot about the importance of the human side of conservation, and got me really excited about conservation strategies that actually consider the livelihoods and wellbeing of people. This is an issue that is certainly not as widely discussed in the US, and I think that coming to Tanzania and doing this program gave me a much more informed outlook on conservation issues. I am very grateful for that.

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.

the field work was amazing, but I do not feel as though I learned as much as I could from the classes. In both the ecology and wildlife management courses, I did not feel as though anything was taught in the class that I did not already know. Additionally, the class sessions for those courses felt like sort of an afterthought for the professors, and they were often unprepared for the lectures.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Amelia (the SAM) is amazing!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Moyo hill camp is an amazing place, but I feel as though some of the restrictions on our ability to leave camp were stifling and unnecessary. Rhotia is a really safe, fun community, but it felt as though, due to the policies in place, we were not able to explore it nearly as much as I would have liked.

* Food:

The food is amazing! The program manual makes it seem like it will be hard to be vegetarian in this program, but that is absolutely not the case! The kitchen staff are amazing!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

for me, this was the weakest point of the program. I did not feel as though this program allowed us to really explore and integrate into the local culture, and I think that the few "cultural experiences" that the program ran were inappropriate and problematic. Getting to know the staff on camp was pretty much the only way that we were able to form relationships with locals and, while they were all amazing and were willing to share so much of their culture with us, I would have really liked to have more of an opportunity to integrate into the local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

even with some of the kinks, this program was still a once-in-a-lifetime experience. When else are you going to have the opportunity to spend 3 months going on safari, camping, and doing research in East Africa?

Finances

* 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)

living in Tanzania is very cheap, and the program pretty much provides everything for you that you could need (food, transportation, etc.). The only thing that I really spent any money on was souvenirs.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? about 10 USD
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? eat the packed lunch on free days and haggle for everything!

Language

* 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

Frank (our Swahili teacher) was amazing!!

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?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? duolingo does not work very well for Swahili--pick up a dictionary and start learning words that way!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Fieldwork and field research experiences
  • Camping in Tanzania's national parks
  • The two week switch with the SFS Kenya program
* What could be improved?
  • CULTURAL INTEGRATION!!
  • reworking the class schedule so that lectures are more effective and there is more time to go into/explore rhotia
  • changing the way in which the "cultural experiences" for the swahili/social cultures class are done
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Bring some light colored clothes to wear in tse tse fly territory! It is easy to be vegetarian in this program (and you don't need to bring a ton of protein powder).

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.