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Tanzanian Students Gain Firsthand Experience of Indian Ocean Culture in Study-Abroad Program

This summer, a group of six undergraduate and two graduate students are set to embark on a three-week study abroad expedition to Tanzania, organized by UNC Greensboro in collaboration with [Organization Name]. Building on the success of last year’s inaugural program that commenced in 2023 with four students, this initiative aims to provide a unique firsthand cultural experience in the heart of East Africa.

According to [Faculty Director’s Name], who spearheaded the previous year’s trip, there is no substitute for immersing oneself in a culture. Engaging in daily activities such as cooking alongside locals, savoring traditional cuisines, and absorbing the sounds of indigenous music not only imparts knowledge but also fosters a profound understanding of global living.

For many participants, including those specializing in African American and African Diaspora Studies (AADS), this journey represents their maiden encounter with the vibrant tapestry of the Indian Ocean region. As highlighted by [Faculty Leader’s Name], this exposure offers a fresh perspective on the presence of people of African descent beyond the realms of the Black Atlantic, broadening horizons and enriching cultural awareness.

The itinerary for the three-week expedition is brimming with diverse experiences ranging from exploring historic sites like Prison Island to delving into the legacy of spice cultivation at a Zanzibar spice farm. Additionally, students will partake in a dhow-building workshop, gaining insights into the significance of these traditional sailing vessels in the local economy and historical trade routes between Africa and Asia.

Venturing inland, the group will visit the International African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Arusha, reflecting on the evolution of human rights within the African judicial landscape. The proximity to iconic landmarks such as Mount Kilimanjaro and the UNESCO heritage site of Stone Town in Zanzibar promises a blend of urban and rural experiences, offering a holistic view of Tanzanian culture and history.

Throughout the expedition, students will have the opportunity to document their encounters, engage in personal reflections, and create visual representations of their journey. Financial support from UNCG and various scholarships aims to make this transformative experience accessible to all participants, ensuring that students can broaden their global perspectives in a safe and enriching environment.

As emphasized by Girma, one of the faculty leaders, this immersive voyage transcends geographical boundaries, leaving an indelible impact on participants’ worldview. Through guided exploration and cultural engagement, students are poised to undergo a life-altering experience that transcends the confines of their familiar surroundings.

Story by Mary Daily Photography courtesy of Stephanie Fisher-Huynh