Explore the balance between ecological concerns and socioeconomic objectives in the vast wilderness expanses of northern Tanzania.
Examine the dynamics shaping the contentious balance between people and wildlife in northern Tanzania.
You’ll see how inseparable ecosystems are from human spaces and how development and population growth affects the natural habitat and vice versa. You’ll reframe notions of sustainability in relation to local population needs, perspectives, and values and consider how natural resource management will benefit future generations in light of the current factors driving environmental degradation.
Explore conservation through multiple lenses.
In this interdisciplinary program, you will study Tanzanian history, politics, economics, and current events in addition to wildlife ecology, conservation, environmental issues, and national park management. You’ll learn how to integrate both social science and ecological field techniques through anthropological and field ecology projects.
Start building a network for your academic and professional careers.
The program has several major in-country partners: Sokoine University of Agriculture, Klub Afriko Cultural Orientation Center, and the host communities. Many students have returned to work with these partners in future endeavors.
Study issues of deforestation, agriculture, and population growth.
Experience life in a remote village with a Maasai family.
Speak with Mto wa Mbu villagers about their experiences living adjacent to protected wildlife areas.
Visit Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area and explore Tanzania’s rich, extensive, and biodiverse flora and fauna.
Spend 33 days camping in Tanzania’s beautiful and ecologically diverse wilderness areas.
Visit Loliondo Game Controlled Area, the most contested landscape in northern Tanzania.
Critical Global Issue of Study
Climate | Environment
Previous college-level coursework and/or other significant preparation in environmental studies, ecology, biology, sociology, anthropology, international relations, or related fields, as assessed by SIT.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- Wildlife ecology
- Conservation, environmental issues, and national park management
- Life and culture, history, politics/economics, and current events
- Relationships between socioeconomic objectives, ecological parameters, and cultural transitions from multi scale/actor perspectives in various Tanzanian landscapes
The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
- Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology Seminar – syllabus
- (ENVI3000 / 4 credits / 60 hours)
- An interdisciplinary course conducted in English, with required readings, examining the relationships between socioeconomic objectives, ecological parameters, and cultural transitions from multi scale/actor perspectives in various Tanzanian landscapes. Lecturers are drawn from institutions such as the Sokoine University of Agriculture, the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, and various nongovernmental organizations.
- Beginning Kiswahili – syllabus
- (SWAH1004-1504 / 4 credits / 60 hours)
- Intermediate Kiswahili – syllabus
- (SWAH2004-2504 / 4 credits / 60 hours)
- Emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills through classroom and field instruction. Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing, students are placed in intensive classes, with further language practice during homestays, lectures, and excursions.
- Environmental Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
- (ENVI3500 / 4 credits / 60 hours)
- A course in environmental research methods and ethics concerning both the social and natural sciences. The main focus is on learning how to collect, analyze, integrate, and report social and ecological data to critically understand and evaluate program-related environmental issues. Topics include an introduction to the Independent Study Project; environmental field study ethics; and the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy. Specific qualitative field study methods include designing research projects; writing a research proposal; interviewing; surveys; participatory rural appraisal techniques; maintaining a field study journal; and data set analysis. Specific ecological field study methods include micro- and macrohabitat analysis; wildlife population sampling and analysis; fauna and flora identification; animal behavior; geographic information systems; and statistical analysis of data sets.
- Independent Study Project – syllabus
- (ISPR3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
- Conducted in Arusha, Moshi, or surrounding areas or, with program approval, in other parts of Tanzania. Sample topic areas: impact of tourism on local cultures or the natural environment; perspectives on management options in designated wildlife areas; environmental education; soil conservation in Mayo Village; body modifications among Maasai at Ngare Sero; behavior of Colobus guereza in Sagara Forest; canopy and habitat use in sympatric primate species; modernized farming methods in Mgwashi; Arusha youths' views on population and the environment; vegetation analysis of elephant damage at Ndarakwai Ranch. Note: Because of restrictions on fieldwork in Tanzania, participants should expect to spend all or most of the Independent Study Project outside the boundaries of Tanzania's national parks.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Tanzania is a beautiful and diverse country, home to the Serengeti Plains; Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak; and the Zanzibar archipelago. More than 120 ethnic groups live in Tanzania, representing tremendous cultural and linguistic diversity, though unified by a single national language: Kiswahili.
To fully appreciate the diversity and complexity of this region, you will spend significant time on the move (33 nights of camping), exploring a variety of natural habitats. Excursions are designed to provide a variety of locations and scale so you can explore the program’s key topics through multiple lenses and perspectives.
Here, you will explore a fragmented ecosystem comprising two national parks. Tarangire National Park is famous for its baobab trees and termite mounds. Wildlife common to the 1,100-square-mile park include elephants, lions, giraffes, cheetahs, honey badgers, impala, and, in the dry season, large herds of zebra and wildebeest. Lake Manyara National Park is 130 square miles of arid land, forests, and a lake that is nearly nonexistent in the dry season but can be as much as 77 square miles in the wet season. Here, you may spot the flamingos the lake is known for, as well as hippopotami, leopards, blue monkeys, and gazelles.
These excursions allow you to examine the western conservation model of national parks and to witness the program’s themes on a smaller scale. These different locations also provide insight into the ways that different ethnic groups interact in their landscapes.
You will go on a 14-day safari through the 25,000-square-kilometer Serengeti-Ngorongoro ecosystem. Serengeti National Park is home to a large and diverse population of wildlife. Here, you may see the “big five”: lions, leopards, elephants, black rhinoceros, and African buffalo. Other wildlife in the park include hyenas, ostriches, baboons, and vultures. The Serengeti ecosystem includes Oldupai Gorge, a formation of the Great Rift Valley system and the site of renowned early hominid fossil discoveries by Mary and Louis Leakey.
You will also visit the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Enashiva Nature Reserve, and the Loliondo Game Controlled Area, where tourism has had a profound impact on the local Maasai population. The immense Ngorongoro Crater is a UNESCO world heritage site and the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera.
You will visit the privately owned, 11,000-acre Ndarakwai Ranch, which practices sustainable ecotourism, preserving seasonal elephant routes and a variety of habitats for more than 70 mammal species and 300 bird species. Near the Usambara Mountains, you will see the Mazumbai Forest Reserve, a pristine tropical forest.
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
Felicity Kitchin, PhD, Interim Academic Director
Felicity is originally from Durban, South Africa. For more than four years, she lived in Columbus, Ohio, where she obtained her master’s degree and PhD in geography from Ohio State University. She later returned to South Africa and served for more than ten years as academic director for SIT’s first semester abroad program in South Africa, based in Durban, and most recently worked as academic coordinator for the same program. Felicity has traveled extensively throughout southern and eastern Africa, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. She works as an independent research consultant, mainly in urban development, sustainable urbanization, and local government.
Oscar Paschal Nyakunga, Academic Coordinator
Oscar has been involved with the program for more than five years. He is a graduate of Mweka College of Wildlife Management and worked for their Wildlife Division. His primary responsibilities are the oversight of all field academics, planning and logistics, and assistance with the ISP modules.
Mercy Felix Kamnde (Mama Juni), Office Manager
Mama Juni has been with SIT in Tanzania since 2009, and her organizational work provides a strong foundation for the program. Her responsibilities are numerous and include managing accounts, supervising local staff, procurement, and acting as a confidante to the students. Mama Juni is the backbone of the program, and she ensures the program runs in an efficient and professional manner.
Beatrice Kimaro, Kiswahili Language Coordinator
Beatrice is the language coordinator and head Kiswahili language teacher with SIT in Arusha. She has been developing the program’s Kiswahili materials and classes since 2004. Beatrice directs a capable team of four teachers and was instrumental in an East Africa–wide process of standardizing SIT’s Kiswahili language courses. Beatrice is also pursuing her BA in education at a local university.
Francis Makari, Wildlife Expert
Francis joined SIT in 2014. He is a graduate of Mweka College of Wildlife Management and is a veterinarian by profession. He also works on numerous NGO projects in Tanzania. He serves SIT as a wildlife expert while on safari and assists students with their ISPs.
Simbamwene Ramadhani, Wildlife Expert
Simbamwene is a graduate of Mweka College of Wildlife Management. Simbamwene acts as a wildlife expert to SIT while on safari and assists students in their ISP work.
Anthony Rapheal, Ornithology expert
Also known as Bwana Ndege (Mr. Bird), Anthony is an independent ornithologist and celebrated bird scholar in East Africa. Anthony also runs a successful private birding company in Arusha.
Lecturers for this program are drawn from institutions such as Sokoine University of Agriculture and Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute.
Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project
You will spend four weeks near the end of the semester working on an Independent Study Project (ISP), pursuing original research on a topic of your choice. The ISP is conducted in Arusha, Moshi, or surrounding areas, or with program approval, in other parts of Tanzania.
Sample topic areas:
- Perspectives on human-wildlife conflict in Jangwani Corridor near Lake Manyara National Park
- Mweka College of Wildlife student perspectives on the new presidency
- An analysis of facial expressions in olive baboons by habitat and group behavior
- GPS mapping of elephant corridors in the Tarangire-Manyara landscape
- Impact of tourism on the natural environment or cultures
- Management options in designated wildlife areas
- Environmental education
- Soil conservation and agricultural practices
- Arusha youths’ views on population and environment
- Wildlife-livestock disease interaction in the Kwakuchinja corridor
- Behavior of primates, e.g., Colobus guereza and olive baboons in Sagara Forest
- Wood use in various types of protected areas, including village forests
- Bio-indicator studies, e.g., birds and butterflies at various locations
- Perspectives on population and the environment
- Vegetation analysis and elephant damage at Ndarakwai Ranch
Note: Because of restrictions on fieldwork in Tanzania, you should expect to spend all or most of the Independent Study Project outside the boundaries of Tanzania’s national parks.
SIT Tanzania helped me develop a different perspective on the world and to view things through a very different, non-western lens.
The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.
The host communities in Ngaramtoni and either Ngare Sero or Loborsoit provide a foundation for the program’s success. You will spend three weeks living with a family in the peri-urban community of Ngaramtoni. This village, about 10 kilometers from Arusha town, is high on the slopes of Mt. Meru. Accommodations here vary, from wattle-and-daub homes to those with electricity. Families range from two-parent professional households (such as veterinarians, teachers, and doctors) to those headed by single-parent subsistence farmers.
A second homestay takes place in one of two Maasai villages, Ngare Sero at the base of the Maasai sacred mountain Ol Donyo Lengai, or Loborsoit about 60 kilometers from Arusha and east of Tarangire National Park. Here, you will be placed in pairs in a boma (extended family compound) where you will live in in different huts.
Other accommodations during the program include hostels, private homes, small hotels, and about 33 nights of camping.
Cost and Scholarships
Cost and Scholarships
SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
- Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
- Tanzanian cultures and society
- Wildlife and conservation
- Environmental Research Methods and Ethics course focusing on environmental research methods and Human Subjects Review
- Intensive language instruction in Kiswahili
- All educational excursions to locations including nature reserves and conservation areas such as Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Lake Manyara National Park, Mazumbai Forest Reserve, Ndarakwai Ranch, Loliondo Game Controlled Area, Enashiva Nature Reserve, and Tarangire National Park, including all related travel costs
- Independent Study Project (including a stipend for accommodation and food)
- Health insurance throughout the entire program period
Room & Board: $2,960
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
- All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Arusha), on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project, and during the final evaluation period. Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.
- All homestays (three weeks in a village near Arusha and one week in a Maasai village)
- All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.
Estimated Additional Costs:
International Airfare to Program Launch Site
International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
Visa Expenses: $100
Books & Supplies: $100
International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.
Students on this program represent many different colleges, universities, and majors. Many have gone on to do work that connects back to their experience abroad with SIT. Alumni of this program are working with:
- Princeton in Africa in the Usambara Mountains.
- an environmental NGO in Zanzibar.
- Ethiopian National Parks Service at Simien National Park.
- School for Field Studies in Tanzania and Kenya.
- the Peace Corps in Gambia, Chad, and Kenya.