Tanzania study abroad program offers unique trip of a lifetime

Associate+Professor+of+Public+Health+Monika+Sawhney+and+her+students+during+an+outing+on+the+Tanzania+safari+in+2015.

Courtesy Photo

Associate Professor of Public Health Monika Sawhney and her students during an outing on the Tanzania safari in 2015.

The deadline for applications to the summer Tanzania study abroad program is Feb. 15.

All majors are eligible for the Tanzania program, but the trip is mostly geared toward students pursuing a career in health professions.

Dr. Monika Sawhney, Marshall University director of bachelor of public health program, said she has been participating in the Tanzania program since 2014.

Sawhney said students can take two courses during the program and many students will do an internship.

Sawhney said the program is composed of projects, hands-on experience, field visits and field activities.

Sawhney said students go to orphanages, HIV clinics and hospitals and students come to understand better how healthcare works in other countries.

Sawhney said she tries to get her students to start projects during the trip that are skill-based and can be installed in the people in Tanzania long after they leave the country.

“So while they’re on the field they understand, you know, what is challenging in Tanzania,” Sawhney said. “Like when we go to a hospital in the U.S. you know privacy is protected, but when you go to a hospital in Tanzania there are like 50 people in the hallway.”

Sawhney said these are things students learn while they are in the field and not just “book knowledge”.

“And one of the unique things students have seen is, over here because of the privacy issues and everything we can’t allow, but students have seen a childbirth,” Sawhney said. “And I think that has been very exciting for students. Especially for female students.”

Sawhney said Tanzania is a beautiful place and students get to go to Zanzibar beach and snorkel in the Indian Ocean.

The students also get to go on a safari, eat at a variety of restaurants and explore night culture.

Sawhney said the trip as a whole is eye-opening and students tell her it is a life changing experience.

Marshall University coordinator of study abroad and global engagement, Mirek Bialk said he advises students who wish to study abroad to think about why they want to study and what they want to get out of it.

Bialk said once students decide where they want to go, he will facilitate it.

The Tanzania study abroad program is done through the Kentucky Institute for International Studies. Bialk said KIIS is organized and the website will feed the student with the steps it takes to complete the application process. Students will then need to fill out paperwork through the university as well.

Students can find scholarships for study abroad programs on the Office of Study Abroad website. Bialk said studying abroad can look like a big price, but a lot of that price can be offset by scholarships and financial aid.

Sawhney said students get the chance to bond with people from different universities while immersing themselves in a different culture through the summer Tanzania study abroad program. Sawhney said those are the experiences students come back with after the trip.

The program will take place this summer from June 7 through July 11.

Amanda Gibson can be contacted at [email protected]