Posted: July 2, 2019

When applying for study abroad, I never thought that this one decision would ultimately change my life forever.

On a morning game drive in the Ngorongoro Crater

On a morning game drive in the Ngorongoro Crater

Study abroad has exceeded all my expectations. I have met passionate students and professors whom all have the same concept of how this earth and animals should be treated. This is something so phenomenal to me. From the drivers and security, teaching me their daily life and their native language, the professors teaching me the most profound things outside of a classroom and the villagers teaching me that they are way better soccer players than I ever thought I was. I have learned much more about life and happiness from this program.

This study abroad was exciting and fun in my mind because we got to see elephants, lions, and so many more mammals in their natural state. We learned about how the villagers interact with these mammals and if its causes any positive or negative effects between one another. We also learned more about what Tanzania has done to protect their wildlife. We were lucky to visit and do research in six of the many protected areas such as the Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Lake Tarangire, Manyara Ranch, Burunge, Ngorongoro Crater. We also visited many places around our camp to do field exercises, or to have guest lecturers. Even though it was a month, I learned more about wildlife than my 3 years of college education.

Before I got to Tanzania, there was a perception in my mind that Africa as a whole wasn't taking care of their wildlife or land. I am happy this program has changed that perception and many other ideas. It also taught me how Africa isn't just one big continent all composed of the same thing. But it's way more diverse than we think. Just from Tanzania, there are more than 120 different tribes. There are many different languages, cultures, and experiences that all mixed together to make a beautiful mosaic.

I have learned new skills as well, such as communication and patience. From having a language barrier between the local people and myself, I have learned how to be patient and truly listen to each other. One big thing from Tanzanian people was the word "Pole, Pole", (pronounced po-lay) this means slowly, slowly. The word slowly describes their way of life, they're not as fast-paced as America and they really take their time to complete things. Even though it was sometimes frustrating, I understood how they wanted things to be perfect before rushing or having something slightly messy. Good things take time.

This program has allowed me to be vulnerable and open-minded to the students and staff that surrounded me. I never thought that I would have a rare connection with the people I just met. I never thought that I would make lifelong friends. To stay in a camp with 30 students from places all around the world, all dreaming the same dream and striving for the same future, is something so remarkable. We all shared this once in a lifetime experience in Tanzania, Africa learning, teaching, eating, singing and laughing together.

I will describe this experience to my future employer as something that has changed my whole outlook on life. I now have a stronger passion for the earth and that nothing will stop me from saving the earth. The animals, nature, and earth all have someone that is pushing for new management, conservation, and sustainability. I am a force to be reckoned with.

International Programs

Address

106 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802

International Programs

Address

106 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802