Hi! My name is Cole Usdan and on Thursday, I’m going to be flying to Tanzania. It will be a long day of travel and I am flying first from New York to Zurich and then from Zurich to Nairobi, Kenya. Lastly, I’ll be taking a smaller flight to Dar Es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania. Although getting to Tanzania may be difficult, I am extremely excited to finally be going and have been looking forward to it all summer. I also started packing and preparing a few months ago so I am super happy that I am finally going. In Tanzania, I’m going to be studying Wildlife Management and Conservation with the School for Field Studies (SFS). The program is with ~20 other students from around the world. The program is located in western Tanzania near one of their many wildlife-rich national parks. During the program, I will be taking classes in Swahili, wildlife management, conservation, and environmental policy. Additionally, there is a research component to the program where we design our own research projects and conduct them inside the national park. I am super excited for both the academic and research components of my program.
Next, to prepare for my program and new host culture, I have been doing a lot of research on Tanzania and have a few initial impressions of the host culture. I believe Tanzania has an extremely diverse array of cultures centered around different tribal communities. Because of this, I believe that different regions of Tanzania are extremely culturally diverse and may even speak different languages. Historically, I know that coastal Tanzania was once a hub for Arab and Indian trade in the Indian trade. Because of this, areas of Tanzania on the coast and areas of Tanzania far from the coast may be extremely different from each other.
Lastly, One goal that I have for myself during my time abroad is to learn about and experience the diverse Tanzanian cultures. I want to learn about the people, their history, customs, and values. It is important for me to learn about Tanzanian culture because it would feel wrong to be in a country for a long period of time without becoming knowledgeable about their culture. Next, I want to become an expert on the natural environment in Tanzania. Part of the reason I chose to come to Tanzania was the rich and diverse natural environment. I am excited to experience this first hand. One last goal I set for myself during my time abroad is to get to know everyone in our group well and make great friends. I am super excited for my abroad experience and I will make sure to update this blog periodically.