Study Abroad in Tanzania

Mykaila Peters

    Roughly twenty years ago, Nursing professor Sister Beverly Raway set up a program between monasteries in the United States and monasteries in developing countries to offer volunteer services. The College of Saint Scholastica paired with two monasteries in Tanzania: Chipole and Imiliwaha. Sister Beverly quickly began taking groups of students to Tanzania to do schoolwork with the sisters in Tanzania.

    In Jan. 2017, The College of Saint Scholastica School in Tanzania opened with the intention of providing students with learning and/or physical disabilities a place for their education, as they otherwise would not be granted this opportunity. It is now the first school in Tanzania where children with disabilities are given an education, beginning with preschool and kindergarten-aged students. The goal is to add on to the establishment, offering courses from kindergarten to the
twelfth grade.

    The Tanzania study abroad trip begins in Dar es Salaam, the largest city on the Tanzanian coast. Students spend one week at the College of Saint Scholastica School helping in any way the sisters see fit, such as the classroom, the kitchen, and potentially construction. Students then travel with Professors Rachel Payne and David Schuettler to southwest Tanzania to the monasteries of Chipole and Imiliwaha. Unlike Dar es Salaam which is hot and muggy, Chipole has a cooler climate similar to that of Minnesota. Miliwaha has a colder climate as well since it is in the highlands with temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

    While working in the monasteries, students volunteer in various ways: in the classroom, at the medical dispensary providing basic health services (screening for diseases, pregnancy assistance, helping nurses), as well as in the bakery, kitchens, gardens and butcher shop. After nearly two weeks of volunteering in the monasteries, students partake in a safari through one of Tanzania’s national parks before flying home.

    Schuettler said the best thing about the trip is, “going somewhere that is so different from what we are used to here in the United States and working one-on-one with the people who live there. Being in a different spot is a wonderful growth opportunity – to have that experience and see other ways of life.”

    The program takes place every two years, this year’s date being July 5 to July 31. The application deadline is November 1, 2017 with a capacity of 12 students. The trip includes an elective two credit preparation course that is to be taken during the spring semester of 2018 which incorporates components of Tanzanian culture, society, and basic Swahili. There is also the option of a four credit personal research component, where students conduct research relevant to their major, minor or area of interest, allowing students to receive a total of six credits.

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