It is so surreal typing this right now. It’s hard to believe that in one day, I will be on my way to Tanzania. It has been a dream of mine to go to somewhere in Africa, and I’m thrilled that my dream is finally coming true! As I’ve been getting ready and telling people about this adventure I’m embarking on, I’ve noticed 3 common questions people ask me: (1) What are you doing in Tanzania and how long are you going to be there? (2) What are you feeling? Are you excited or nervous? (3) What do your parents say despite everything that’s going on in Africa?
What are you doing in Tanzania and how long are you going to be there? This is the first question everyone asks me, besides asking me where in Africa Tanzania is. I am studying abroad there with 20 other students from Grand Valley State University. While I am there I will be teaching at Assumption Primary School. Every morning I will be walking to Assumption Primary with two other students. I will most likely be in my own classroom and will be teaching my students material from a variety of subject areas. I will have 2-3 hours of free time everyday during the week to go into town, shop, eat, and more. I have class in the evening and time to make my lesson plans. Every Wednesday afternoon, we will all go to an orphanage to hangout and play with the children. We have weekend excursions planned. The first weekend, I will be going on a safari. The following weekend, I will be climbing Mount Kilamanjaro. I also get the chance to go to a special education school, which I am so excited for.
What are you feeling? Are you excited or nervous? I have mixed emotions. Not going to lie, I am extremely nervous. I’ve been out of the country many times, so flying and being in a different country isn’t what’s making me nervous. What’s making me nervous is the fact that I’m going to be teaching children without knowing what to expect. I’m not sure how much English the children know or what exactly I’m going to be teaching them. I want to make sure that whatever I do, I will make a positive impact on the students’ lives. I’m very anxious. I learned some Swahili, I educated myself on the Tanzanian history and culture, and I talked to people who have been to Tanzania before. I feel like I’m prepared and ready to go. Waiting has been hard because I am so anxious. I am also so excited and amped to be in Tanzania. Like I said earlier, going to Africa has been a dream of mine for a long time. I can’t believe I’m leaving tomorrow!
What do your parents say despite everything that’s going on in Africa? My parents have been nothing but supportive. They encouraged me to apply and covered a majority of the expenses. Even throughout the Ebola outbreaks, the malaria and water scares, and Isis, my parents have still wanted me to go on this adventure. When I first applied, the whole Ebola scare was the main talk on the news and social media, however, what most people weren’t aware of was that the Ebola outbreaks were on the whole other side of the continent. I’ve been prescribed with Malarone to help prevent from getting malaria, and there is purified water at the place I will be staying at. There has been some conflict between Kenya and Somalia, which are countries just north of Tanzania. However, I do not need to worry too much because there is border control in Tanzania, and it’s a whole separate country. My family and friends haven been supportive and are so excited for me!
There has been much preparation and I am thrilled to go on this once and a lifetime opportunity! I am so ready!