Projects Abroad Volunteer Programs in Tanzania

Projects Abroad offers Teaching, Care, and Medical projects in Tanzania, based in the coastal city of Dar es Salaam and around the town of Arusha in the north of Tanzania. Dar es Salaam is located on Tanzania's Indian Ocean coast, with sandy beaches and the island of Zanzibar closeby. Arusha sits at the foot of Mount Meru volcano, which forms an impressive silhouette above the low-rise skyline of the town. Arusha is a popular place for tourists to arrange their safari trips as tourism plays a large role in the town's economy.

Program Info

Location: 
  • TanzaniaArusha
Volunteer Types: 
Psychology
Service Learning
Program Length: 
2-4 weeks
1-3 months
3-6 months
Cost: 
See site for details.
See Additional Information
Languages: 
English
Application: 
Online Application

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Program Reviews (15)

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  • Impact
    89%
  • Support
    89%
  • Fun
    85%
  • Value
    89%
  • Safety
    90%
  • Wendy Liu
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Lansing, Michigan
    University of Notre Dame
    Amazing experience at a hospital in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
    12/24/2014

    Last year, I spent two months volunteering at Mwanayamala Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. There, I rotated through the different departments of the hospital, bandaging wounds, growing lab samples, observing surgeries, and conversing with doctors. The doctors at Mwanayamala Hospital were incredibly friendly and taught me a lot about medicine, infectious disease, and Tanzania. Outside of my time at the hospital, I was also able to visit breathtaking beaches and waterfalls, and go on a safari with other volunteers. Although I didn't always feel safe in Dar es Salaam because it is a large city with a certain amount of crime, the support provided by Projects Abroad was amazing. They gave me a tour of the city on my first day, made sure I knew how to make my way around town, and they were very easily accessible for any sort of assistance throughout my stay. Volunteering with Projects Abroad also helped me become comfortable with travel abroad and helped me discover my passion for service and for public health. Although Projects Abroad is quite pricy, the memories I gained and the friendships I've formed are priceless.

    How could this program be improved?

    The price. It is a lot pricier than other comparable volunteer programs.

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  • SarahS
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Florida State University
    Medical Volunteering Dar es Salaam
    09/02/2013

    During my volunteer internship at a local government hospital in Dar es Salaam I was able to have the most eye opening experience of my life. Day to day I would work under the supervision of doctors, nurses and students who were always more than willing to take time and talk you through everything that was happening in the hospital. I was assigned to work in a certain ward each week, but if I felt uncomfortable in a certain place I was free to change that schedule. The staff was welcoming and allowed me to assist in as much as possible.
    My home stay was by far the best part. My family opened their arms and treated me as one of their own. This experience made me completely immersed into the culture. I ate all of my meals with the family and participated in family parties and outings.
    Though the people in Dar aren't strangers to outsiders, you will be stared at and treated differently. You will have a safe and fun experience if you listen to the Projects Abroad staff on safe travels.

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  • medgirl4
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
    University of Aberdeen
    Medicine at SEHA with Projects Abroad
    02/25/2013

    This placement was a life changing experience for me. I loved every minute at the hospital and if you show yoourself to be enthuastic then the staff will afford you some great opportunities. Projects Abroad allocated me a really nice host family, and were there to answer any queries I had. They also arranged an outreach medical clinic which really opened my eyes to rural medicine in Tanzania. I was advised on safety in Arusha and at no point felt this was comprimised.

    How could this program be improved?

    More information on the healthcare system and possibly a switch from a city to a rural hospital if the placement is long.

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  • Jgrace
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    Marin County, CA
    Other
    Wonderful, life changing experience
    03/19/2012

    I was placed in a hospital outside of Arusha in the summer of 2010. I had lived in Africa before, but in a different country and context. My experience in Tanzania was amazing, and much different than anything I could have imagined. I loved my host family, and still keep in touch with them from time to time. The Projects Abroad staff was supportive and available when I needed them, but the program is not overly structured like a tour package or anything, which I liked. Working at the hospital was a very humbling experience, for which I am very grateful. I learned, saw, and did a lot more than I thought I would. The hospital was short-staffed most of the time so I kind of did whatever was needed. Sometimes it got rather gruesome. My advice would be to remain open-minded, and remember that you are there to learn. Also, it helps to have a strong stomach. All in all, I'm happy I went, happy I chose Projects Abroad, and I can't wait to go back to Tanzania.

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  • Laura
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Peterborough, Ont. Canada
    Trent University
    Life changing experieces.
    10/27/2011

    I volunteered with Projects Abroad in Tanzania back in the winter of 2010, and would not change my experience for the world. I was living with a host family in a small area just outside of Arusha and I loved my host family, I was able to learn so much more about their culture than if I were to live in just some sort of hostel. I volunteered at Good Hope orphanage with kids ranging in the ages of 3-18. I helped teach English, math and science in the morning, and in the afternoon we'd do many different fun activities, sometimes I would even walk down to the river with them and fetch some water or help with their laundry. I learned a lot from the children and adults at the orphanage that changed my outlook on life. Once every week, on Thursdays, all the volunteers with projects abroad would gather for a social event, which was usually dinner and then a trip to via via, the local nightclub. This was always a fun event to look forward to, because I would get to meet new volunteers and catch up with the older ones and gain friendships all over the world. I also had the chance to go on safari with some of the other volunteers, and I loved every minute of it. I would highly recommend projects abroad, even though their prices are a little high, but for a first time traveler like me, it offered more safety and I always felt secure everywhere I went in Tanzania knowing I could always go to the projects abroad staff whenever I'm in need.

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  • Breanna
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    London, Ontario
    University of Western Ontario
    An Experience of a Lifetime in Tanzania with Projects Abroad
    09/16/2011

    I loved the 2-Week High School Special Medical Program. I had the opportunity to experience Arusha's medical system and gained a lot of knowledge that will surely help me in my future studies. We also visited the orphanages where we got to play games and truly interact with the children. The best experience of all however was definitely living with my host family. Some of my best moments were spent with my host family. They made me feel right at home and I made friendships that will certainly last a lifetime. This trip was the best experience of my life and I am already in the process of planning my trip back!

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  • sylj99
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Washinton, DC
    Saint Mary's College
    An amazing perspective.
    09/14/2011

    I worked at an orphanage for two months in the city of Dar es Salaam. I had no real experience but was able to really make an impact and I took away so many life lessons. Watching these happy children play and grow, despite their hardships and disadvantages was an incredible thing to see. Everyday I would go to the orphanage. Sometimes I would observe a teacher in a decrepit classroom, teaching the children the ABCs for the 2nd month in a row. Sometimes I would get the opportunity to teach them when the teacher had run out of material. As a kid, I remember being happy when the lesson was over. That meant I could go outside and run around. In this orphanage, the kids wait patiently sitting on the floor. They wait because they don't want to leave. They want to learn. Anything. At the end of the day I would help the teacher with his English. He would teach me Swahili. I can't accurately put into words how amazing this cultural exchange is. To be in a classroom in Africa, learning so much from the teacher and from the children, all the while remembering that your purpose for being there is to help THEM. On the plane ride home I thought for sure, they had helped me much more.

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  • gem89
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Dallas, TX
    Such a great experience!
    09/14/2011

    Doing my month long medical volunteer program in Tanzania was something I will never forget. I was only 19 but I still got to assist in surgery, go on rounds with doctors, fill prescriptions, do lab work, and work on diagnosing and treating patients myself. This level of hands on experience was something I could never get in the U.S., which is why doing this program greatly helped when I applied to Physician Assistant school. Plus I have so many interesting stories and memories from this trip that people are fascinated by. My host family was so caring and I was able to learn a lot about the Tanzanian culture. Going on safari was one of the coolest things I've ever done! However, there were a few drawbacks. I lived outside of the main town and it wasn't really safe to travel at night, so there wasn't much of a social scene. Luckily I went with a friend, so it was fine. Also, there are definitely some hard times and some cultural things to get used to, like riding public transportation where you have absolutely no personal space, getting used to cold showers, and being called out as a white person while you walk through town. Although the trip was challenging, I'm very glad I went!

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  • froelickj
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Hardest thing you'll ever do, but the best.
    09/14/2011

    I have never been challenged more than when I was in Tanzania with Projects Abroad. But it is honestly the best thing I could have ever done for myself because I matured, became more independent, had fun and met people I will be friends with for life. You are always with other volunteers, you're never alone.

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  • mfm90
    Age: 19-24
    Male
    Washington DC
    Elon University
    Life Changing Experience
    09/14/2011

    Truly one of the most unforgettable experience of my life. A mixture of inspiring service and awesome people all within a beautiful country filled with once in a lifetime opportunities and experiences.

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  • TanzaniaVolunteer
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Medical placement
    09/14/2011

    Highlights of the trip included everything Tanzania has to offer- from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, to going on a safari around the Serengetti, to spending a week on the exotic island of Zanzibar. The Projects staff was always willing to help coordinate these trips for volunteers. They also did their best to place volunteers in the best placements suited for them- hospitals, orphanages, schools, etc., and they did a great job of providing a lot of opportunities for volunteers to go on outings together.

    Difficulties arose in the cultural barriers. Sometimes it was frustrating to live with a host family with such different rules and customs from what you're used to. Tanzania is also not a developed country, and it is very possible to be placed more than an hour away from the city of Arusha. It is definitely a placement that will take you out of your comfort zone but you learn a lot from it.

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  • USAGIRL1232
    Age: 18 or younger
    Female
    Spokane, Washington
    GREAT!
    09/14/2011

    I HAD A GREAT TIME IN TANZANAIA. I LOVED THE VOLUNTEEERS AND MY HOST FAMILY. MY HOST FAMILY WAS VERY FRIENDLY AND OPEN TO ME AND REALLY MADE MY EXPERIENCE ENJOYABLE. THE HOSPITAL I WORKED AT WAS BUSY AND ALMOST OVERRUN WITH VOLUNTEERS FROM LOTS OF DIFFERENT ORGANIZAIONS. SO MANY VOLUNTEERS MADE ACTUAL WORK HARD TO FIND IN THE HOSPITAL BUT IT ALSO MADE IT FUN TO SOCILIZE ON YOUR TIME OFF.

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  • Martina
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Rome, Italy
    Other
    Volunteering in Nkoaranga hospital - Tanzania
    09/13/2011

    I spent more then 1 month in a little hospital situated on mount Meru, near Arusha. It was a really great experience: I spent my days following doctors and nurses in the ward, in the theatre, in the maternity department (where I followed many deliveries) and in the out patients department. I'm a medical student and for me it was a really usefull journey: I learned many things about tropical diseases as malaria, intestinal worms (as tenia, hentamaeba...), AIDS and tifo. It was interensting to spend time in the laboratory doing tests for malaria or other diseases.
    I didn't have any problems in health: no many mosquitoes during the dry season and I used to take a drug to prevent malaria; I was ok with my stomach and I like local food!
    I was hosted by a local family and it was nice! I enjoied this trip and I recommend it to everyone!

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  • Tamara
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Edmonton, Alberta
    University of Alberta
    Slightly taxing, but completely rewarding
    09/06/2011

    For the most part, I would say that I had a great experience with Projects Abroad. I was in a teaching placement that was run by volunteers, so we had the freedom to teach how we wanted and what we wanted. It was great to be given the opportunity to be creative with the kids - for example, at one point, I saved up toilet paper rolls at my host family's and had the kids make butterflies.

    The downside to this was that there was no organization or direction to the school, but this has more to do with the fact that it was a new school. We had trouble getting some of the basic necessities that we needed, such as enough chairs and tables for all of the students. It is a work in progress.

    I think that one of the best things about Projects Abroad is that your accommodation is with a host family, not in a hostel with all of the other volunteers. You get the experience of the daily life of that country, and it was really great.

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  • Kristina
    Age: 31-50
    Female
    Victoria, BC
    Other
    Life Changing
    08/31/2011

    There were so many things to tell, and pass on to other volunteers. The experience was life changing. I still have the opportunity to work with the orphanage now that I am back home again. Wouldn't trade my time there for anything!

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Alumni Interviews

  • Why did you decide to volunteer with Projects Abroad in Tanzania?

    Juliana: I thought a lot about volunteering in different capacaties before I decided on Projects Abroad in Tanzania. I wanted to do something that was both meaningful to me, and also that was aligned with my professional interest in healthcare. I really enjoyed my previous experience in Africa and wanted to see more of the continent, so I started looking into programs around east Africa. I chose Projects Abroad in Tanzania specifically because of the flexibility offered by the program. I wanted something that was structured enough that I wouldn't feel like I was completely alone, but that also allowed me some freedom to do things other than work.

    Juliana at the orphanage connected to the hospital where she volunteered
    Juliana at the orphanage connected to the hospital where she volunteered

    Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

    Juliana: Every morning I would have breakfast with my host family, and then catch a dalla dalla to the hospital. The ride took about 30 minutes. At the hospital, I would round with the doctors, and then help out where I was needed. I would do things like fill and dispense prescriptions in the pharmacy, change dressings, administer medication with the nursing staff, and scrub in to assist in surgery when need be. Generally, I would be at the hospital from 8-3 every day (sometimes later if surgery ran long). Afterwards, I would often head into Arusha to meet up with other volunteers to go shopping or have dinner.

    How has this experience impacted your future?

    Juliana: Volunteering in Tanzania really changed my perspective on a lot of things, including my career goals. Prior to volunteering, I had planned on going into clinical medicine, but being there piqued my interest in public health. I am currently applying to MPH programs, and I am very interested in working more in east Africa.

  • Why did you decide to volunteer with Projects Abroad in Tanzania?

    Jillian: I had always wanted to volunteer abroad someday, and I thought Africa would be a wonderful place to do that since I didn't know when I would get the chance to go again. I researched volunteer organizations and asked around, and by word of mouth and internet research, I found Projects Abroad. I ultimately chose PA because I felt like they offered the most opportunities and I felt most comfortable and safest with them since they had been around longer than most other organization. That gave my parents a lot of comfort as well. I can't really say why I chose Tanzania, I just felt a connection to that country more than the other African countries PA had placements in and I knew when I read about teaching and care there that it was the place for me.

    Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

    Jillian: During the week, I would wake up early and would eat breakfast with my roommate (who although lives halfway around the world has become a close friend of mine) and our host family, specifically our host sister. My roommate and I worked at different placements, so we would each leave our house and I began my walk to work.

    I worked for the first part of my placement far away from the city of Arusha, so there were not a lot of dependable buses. On the walk there, I would meet another volunteer who I taught with. We would get to the orphanage and be greeted by screaming kids, running to hug us. We would have class until lunch, when we would have a break to play a little bit, and then have class after lunch. After classes, we would stay a little longer to play. We would walk home then, and usually meet up with a few volunteers at a little restaurant by our houses, and then we would go home, have dinner with our host family or go into Arusha and have dinner with all the volunteers once a week.

    group of children in Tanzania with a volunteer
    Jillian discovered her calling to work with children and help people in Tanzania

    My second placement was closer into the city, so the day-to-day routine was similar, but I could take a bus to work. On weekend we would do a lot of different things...usually our laundry first, which took a good chunk of Saturday morning! We would usually go into Arusha, my roommate and I or with other volunteers, and we would go to the market, go out for a nice lunch, go to a pool for a day, etc. We also spent one week on a Safari, which was incredible!

    How has this experience impacted your future?

    Juliana: Before I volunteered with PA, I had never thought of a career working with children. Now, I know it's my calling and I can't imagine a life doing any other thing.

    My experience in Tanzania helped me realize what I want out of life and what I feel like is important in it, and that's a gift that is truly priceless and I feel lucky to have learned at a young age before I went to college. I feel much more focused now in school and I feel meaning in the things that I am doing. Tanzania changed me as a person, and for the better. The experience helped me realize I want to give back to people everyday in my life, and that can be done in countless ways.

  • Why did you decide to volunteer with Projects Abroad in Tanzania?

    Laura: I volunteered with projects abroad in Tanzania because I wanted to do something rememberable on my gap year and at the same time helping others, so I decided I would volunteer somewhere overseas. I've always wanted to go to Africa ever since I was little, but I wasn't sure where, and then my friend travelled with projects abroad over to Ghana and she said she loved it, so I'd thought I'd check them out. I went on the website and talked with some of the staff at the Canadian office and realized they were the best choice for me because it was my first time travelling alone so I wanted to feel a bit secure in where ever I went, and the staff reassured that. I picked Tanzania because at that time it was one of their newest locations and I really didn't know much about the country and wanted to learn more about it, and I loved it!

    Laura volunteering in Tanzania
    Laura volunteering in Tanzania

    Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

    Laura: While volunteering at the orphanage, I kind of fell into a routine. everyday I'd wake up at around 6:15, get dressed, have breakfast and a cup of tea, fill up my water bottle and be out the door. Part of my journey to the orphanage I took the dala dala (look transport) and the other part I walked on a quiet road, it took me about an hour to get there everyday. Once there me and the other volunteer would gather up the children not in school and have lessons from 9-11am. After that we walked to the soccer field nearby and play fun activities like soccer, running races, card games and sing songs. After that it was lunch and we ate the local dish of ugali everyday. We then would play with kids all afternoon and did things like coloring, crafts and usually walk down to the nearby stream and gather water or do laundry. By 4pm it was time took go home and I took the same hour journey to get back. Once home I'd wash up, write in my journal and greet my host family from when they got home from work. We would then eat dinner, talk about each others days and then after the long day, it crashed in bed.

    How has this experience impacted your future?

    Laura: This experience has taught me a lot. I have learned how to emerge myself and except new cultures and traditions. I have also learned a lot about teaching and how different children with many different backgrounds learn in their own way. This experience has just given me a new perspective on the world and how different cultures can work together to create something beautiful.

About the provider

Projects Abroad is a global organization formed around the need for gap year programs abroad designed for students taking a break from studying. Since its inception, Projects Abroad has expanded to offer high school volunteer programs, and a vast variety of programs geared towards those taking a gap year or a career break. Visit the Projects Abroad website for more details on volunteer, teach, study and internship programs abroad.