Tanzania: The World Needs to Change

Submitted by Sarah Turturro on the 2020 winter session program in Tanzania sponsored by the Department of Art…

Looking at this program in terms of time, I cannot believe how fast these three weeks went. Every moment was so fulfilling, yet I feel like there is so much more that we could have done. Having my eyes opened up to a wider worldview for these 25 days was more than I could have ever asked for, and I know that this experience will continue to impact my life for a very long time. What I’m really appreciative for is how much we learned outside of our class syllabi.  Yes, I gained a lot of technical knowledge while I was abroad, but we also had conversations and experiences that came up organically that were just as impactful, if not more. I learned so much about conservation and environmental impact, which has inspired me to try and live a less wasteful life back home, which is hard in our consumerist society. I feel like a true member of the global community now, and I made human connections with so many amazing people who I will always perceive as inspirations. This program has done so much more for me than I could have asked it to, and it has made me so much more aware of my role as a member of this community. Comparing our way of life back home to the lifestyles of the people in Tanzania was overwhelming and a real eye-opener. The world needs to change, and we need to be the ones to change it by being more conscious of our environmental impact.



Tanzania: Learning about the Maasai

Submitted by Brenna Bochow on the 2020 winter session study abroad program in Tanzania sponsored by the Department of Art and Design…

In the last week or so of the program, we spent a lot of time with the Maasai people and had the opportunity to learn about their pastoral lifestyle. We visited a boma, which is where the Maasai live in small fortified areas with their home and pens for their cows and goats, which are their wealth. Maasai men have as many wives as they can afford and have the maximum number of children that they can, because children are also representative of wealth.

The plains that we camped on during our time with the Maasai made for wonderful game drives and we watched thousands of wildebeests run across them during migration. This campsite was one of my favorites because of our close proximity to baboons, giraffes, and hyenas, and learning how the Maasai live was a lot of fun!

Tanzania: Komemo Coffee Plantation

Submitted by Niki Ganjeizadeh on the 2020 winter session study abroad program in Kenya and Tanzania sponsored by the School of Nursing…

Today, I traveled to a beautiful estate called Komemo to learn about the coffee making process and history of the plantation. The process of coffee making is more complex than I ever thought.

When I arrived, I heard a brief history of the land and the owner’s story. The plantation is owned by a British family who brought the coffee plant with them to Tanzania. The type of coffee plant they grow is called Arabica and the flavor is a cross between Mocha and Burbon flavoring. I found the most interesting part of the tour to be the roasting process. There is only a minute difference in how long the bean is roasted to create the difference in dark roast and espresso coffee. Another interesting fact is how oxygen interacts with the coffee. When oxygen gets into the bean it causes it to be stale. Good coffee bags have a seal that is a one way valve, letting gases out and preventing the oxygen from getting in.

Although I have been on a primarily nursing progam, I like having the opportunity to learn about new topics. Going on excursions and interacting with the culture, helps me enrich my interactions with patients here. Coming back to the United States, I have learned the importance of patient connection. If you understand the culture and area you are working in, you can form a deeper connection with your patients.

Tanzania: The Best Month of My Life

Submitted by Brenna Bochow on the 2020 winter session study abroad program in Tanzania sponsored by the Department of Art and Design…

This is my closing post for this wonderful program and I feel like a completely different person than I did at the start of this year. I went on this study abroad program because I wanted to see how different the rest of the world is from my home and I knew I needed a more global perspective. In this time, I have learned so much about Tanzanian culture and about the different groups of people we learned from. I also learned a lot about the other students I met, who are now lifelong friends, and a lot about myself that I did not know. I did not realize how capable I was of camping and hiking barefoot and using a hole in the ground as a bathroom. It was all a learning experience, but I surprised myself with how well I could handle it.

I’m grateful for the connections I’ve made and the last few days were bittersweet, but I can honestly say this was the best month of my life.

Morocco: Breathtaking Sahara Desert

Submitted by Maymuna Siddiquea on the 2020 winter session study abroad program in Morocco sponsored by the Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures…

With the program ended, I will recount how the last week went. There is one experience that sticks out immediately, something that is unique to my study abroad location. It’s something that I had been looking forward to ever since I first saw the itinerary months ago. And I can safely say, that it lived up to the expectations, and much more. This experience is the adventure in the Sahara Desert. This was a once in a lifetime experience that was unlike anything I have ever done before. Sitting there, on top of a camel surrounded by untouched sand dunes on all sides that stretched for miles, while the sun set in Africa, was such a beautiful moment. The serene aura of it all was breathtaking. It only got better once the sun set and all the stars came out. Without light pollution, the dark sky is painted with sparkling stars, with shooting stars visible left and right. Morocco provided the unique study abroad location to be able to have this opportunity. It was truly remarkable.

Camels walking over a dune as the sun in setting, Erg Chebbi, Merzouga, Morocco

Tanzania: Mount Meru Clinic

Submitted by Niki Ganjeizadeh on the 2020 winter session study abroad program in Kenya and Tanzania sponsored by the School of Nursing…

Mount Meru is a medical clinic in Arusha, Tanzania. I worked primarily in the labor and delivery ward this week, but had been in the emergency department the week before. In the labor ward, most of the beds were taken up on both the labor side and postpartum side of the floor. There were busier days than others and my last day here was one of them.

In the midst of the chaos, I observed what was not only poor patient care, but that bordering on abuse. The nurses were impatient and aggressive with the mothers, hitting them with a wooden stick when they pulled away, or cried out in pain. Thankfully, both the mothers I was with delivered healthy babies. The delivery seemed to be the only moment of serenity, but not long after the repair process for stitching up the tearing began. Nursing students with only a year of experience were allowed to do the stitching, not even waiting for the Lidocaine to kick in to begin… it was difficult to watch. Finally, having enough, I tried to suggest they wait and stitch closer. I was just pushed aside and my comments were disregarded.

While it is difficult to stand next to nurses who treat patients in such an inhumane way, I remind myself that being there for the mothers is why I am here. There is so much you can do for a patient, even if you do not speak the same language. I could not communicate with the mothers, but pain and thankfulness looks the same in every language. Through non-verbal communication, I could tell the mothers were thankful I was there to hold a hand, or advocate for them, even when they had to endure what was happening. To me, this is what being a nurse means, being able to understand your patient even when they cannot tell you exactly what they want.

Tanzania: Working Together

Submitted by Natalie Gross on the 2020 winter session program in Tanzania sponsored by the Department of  Entomology and Wildlife Ecology…

It’s been really interesting to learn about the ways of life of the local people of Tanzania. At the beginning of our first week, we arrived near Arusha National Park and stayed in a camp right next to Olasiti Village. We were able to spend a day visiting the village and learning about local government, agriculture, and traditional beliefs. Because the communities in Tanzania are much smaller, one of the largest differences between being here and being in the United States is the fact that everything is much more localized. Groups of people work together here to share food and construct new buildings, as well as conserve natural resources. I was surprised to hear that the Iraqw, a small indigenous group living near the Nou Highland Forest, actually collaborates with eighteen other small communities in the region to monitor and conserve the local watershed upon which they rely for watering their cattle and crops. I’ve really enjoyed learning from the people, and everyone has been extremely open and welcoming to us.

Tanzania: Insects – The Right Choice

Submitted by Garrison Piel on the 2020 winter session program in Tanzania sponsored by the Department of  Entomology and Wildlife Ecology…

The insects here in Tanzania have been incredible. I am a wildlife ecology and conservation and insect ecology and conservation double major, and have been focusing primarily on the insect side of my studies. That is what I plan to pursue in graduate school after all. However, for the first couple weeks of this program, I’ve been wondering if I had been making the right choice. Wildlife seemed more and more appealing with every beautiful mammal and bird we saw. Once we started to see the amazing insects Africa had to offer though, like these mating citrus swallowtails, I knew I had made the right choice.

Mating citrus swallowtails

Morocco: Chefchaouen – The Blue City

Submitted by Winston Leslie on the 2020 winter session study abroad program in Morocco sponsored by the Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures…

Our second trip has added to an incredible experience the group and I have had thus far. After classes on Friday, we packed our backpacks onto a bus and headed to the Chefchaouen, “The Blue City.” Upon arrival, I could see why it was called that – everything is blue. The walls, sidewalks, houses, objects vendors where selling, it didn’t matter, everything was blue. It was such a unique and stunning city that skillfully balanced the demands of tourists while maintaining its identity. Adding to its beauty is its location at the foot of the Rif Mountains. The name Chefchaouen translates to “look at the peaks”, and that is exactly what we did.

On Saturday, we set off on a 12-mile hike through the Rif Mountains. We crossed over streams, dodged monkeys and admired the beautiful landscape as we made our way to the Grand Cascade D’akchour, a beautiful natural waterfall depositing into a pool of crystal clear water. It was so gorgeous; I have never seen water that clear before. There, we sipped on mint tea and relaxed our legs before making our way back down, where a hot plate of Kefta Tagine was waiting for us. Tagine is a culinary staple of Morocco and has become my favorite food while I’m here. It is made in a cylindrical clay dish and can be composed of a wide variety of foods, all of which are eaten with bread, not utensils (my type of meal). This Tagine was made with meatballs, egg, tomato sauce, and other spices. After 12 miles of hiking, it was the perfect meal. While challenging, the hike made our group closer and helped us appreciate the natural beauty Morocco has to offer. It was such a fun experience and a nice break from the hectic nature of city life.

This week, we will be in Tangier only for a short amount of time before we head to Sevilla and Granada for four days. I’m excited to see what these Islamic-influenced Spanish cities have to offer!

Blue side street
Grand Cascade D’akchour
Rif Mountains

Tanzania: Sleeping on a Rock

Submitted by Garrison Piel on the 2020 winter session program in Tanzania sponsored by the Department of  Entomology and Wildlife Ecology…

When I saw the view from this rock for the first time here in the Yaeda Valley, it took me two hours to come down. We pulled into the camp just before sunset, ran up to the rock, and I didn’t leave until it was pitch black. I left, threw my stuff in my tent, grabbed my sleeping pad and bag, and went back up on the rock to sleep. I spent all four nights at that campsite sleeping on the rock. I was only alone two of the nights. The second and third nights, I had friends up there with me. The first and last night however, it was just me and the stars.