This study abroad trip to Tanzania has taught me a lot. Even though I’ve only been here a month, I have learned so much. I’ve learned more about myself as a person, and my goals for my future. I’ve also learned how to be a better teacher and the education system in Africa.
I have learned so much about myself on this trip. One thing I’ve become better at is being more flexible. I am the type of person who plans everything and likes to have all my ducks in a row. Being here has taught me that sometimes (most of the time) things aren’t going to go the way they were planned to go. Instead of stressing and worrying about being on time or not doing any of the lessons I have planned before, I need to just take a deep breath, smile, and say Hakuna Matata! Another thing I’ve learned while being in Tanzania is that I don’t really have much to complain about. The people in Tanzania basically have nothing compared to what I have back home in America, yet I have not heard one person complain about anything. Instead of complaining, the people here work hard, are determined, and are kind to each other. Whenever I am feeling lazy or upset about the littlest things, I need to remind myself that I have nothing to complain about. I am so blessed and I need to appreciate everything I have.
I came to Tanzania without having any prior experience teaching an entire classroom by myself. I didn’t really know what to expect, and I was pretty nervous. The school I spent a month at was Assumption Primary School. I couldn’t have asked for a better school to be at. The teachers were hilarious and the students were amazing. I was welcomed with open arms from the very beginning and had such a wonderful experience there. I learned the importance of being a patient teacher. The students at Assumption spoke English and were taught in English. However, the difference in accents made it difficult for me to understand them, and vice versa. Teaching them was sometimes difficult because I had to repeat and change the way I taught so that the students could get a better understanding. Another thing I learned was the importance of embarrassing and laughing at myself. The students and I made a better connection when we were all laughing and joking around with each other. I think building relationships with my 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders was something that made my experience so wonderful.
Being and teaching in Tanzania has been such an amazing experience. My passion for helping those who are less fortunate than me has grown tremendously. It’s such an amazing feeling knowing that I have impacted many students. These students have also made a huge impact on my life. I am so thankful for getting an opportunity like this!