ARCC Gap: East Africa - Uganda, Kenya & Tanzania

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, ARCC Programs has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

Video and Photos

This is us helping a wounded rhino at the sanctuary!
A photo snapped in Maasai Mara one afternoon!
A colorful reflection of the people of an island off the coast of Tanzania.
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Making Connections
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Making Connections
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Immersing in the Maasi Culture
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Immersing in the Maasi Culture
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Safari in East Africa
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Safari in East Africa
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Rafting the Nile
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Rafting the Nile

About

ARCC Gap East Africa explores the majesty, cultures, and challenges of three East African nations: Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. We take advantage of our unparalleled access and gain a unique education on this fascinating expanse of Africa. Seeing the eager smiling faces in a Masai primary school while facilitating English exchange in an overcrowded classroom, we feel the scarcity of education. Tromping through the equatorial rainforest with wildlife biologists, surveying habitat for endangered species, we witness the environmental struggle. Sitting down to interview leaders from an all women’s community co-op set up to bring personal and financial independence, we see a solution. Building solar panels alongside local villagers, we provide sustainable electricity to family homes. Witnessing a family of elephants trek through the savanna of the Masai Mara at sunrise, we experience one of life’s unforgettable moments. Never again will you look at education in quite the same way!

Highlights
  • Work at a Rhino Sanctuary and Witness the Efforts in Place to Protect Africa’s Sacred Animals
  • Whitewater Raft the Exhilarating Nile River
  • Construct and Install Solar Power Systems into Rural Tanzanian Homes
  • Shadow Nurses in a Maasai Health Clinic to Compare Traditional and Contemporary Medicine
  • Study Education by Living with Students at East Africa’s First Free All-Female Secondary School

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.8 Rating
based on 25 reviews
  • Housing 9.4
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 10
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 8 of 25
Default avatar
Adelaide
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Semester Program!

I went on the East Africa fall semester in 2018, and it was the best three months! I chose to go to East Africa because I wanted to experience a new culture. I remember feeling so scared before leaving my home in Denver, Colorado to embark on this adventure. But after meeting my group during orientation, and getting to know them a little bit, I felt a new sense of comfort. Once I was on the plane that took us to Uganda, I already felt comfortable around my group and my two leaders. Every single one of us came from a different state (and two students from other countries), yet we became so connected on the trip. We traveled together, shared every meal together, and shared so many experiences. I kept a journal everyday and still fondly read it when I miss my group and time in East Africa. I have now been in college for one complete semester, and I still keep in touch with my group! Between our busy schedules we try and connect when possible, often exchanging memories about how we miss chapati (a delicious bread), our host families, and the beloved truck we drove around in. In college, I can positively say that ARCC provided me with a fresh prospective in my classes, and made me more comfortable with making a place that is not my house my home. I cannot recommend this experience enough!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
My most nerve racking moment was being sick while staying in tents in rural Tanzania. I felt worried because I was sick in a foreign country with limited access to doctors, or the comfort of a bed. I overcame this with the support of my group and competency of my leaders. When somebody in the group was sick, everybody else worked together to help them feel better. The leaders were also extremely attentive to our specific health (both mental and physical) needs. We were a team and a family. This extreme sense of love and empathy from my group got me through my time when I felt sick.
Default avatar
Sophia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best decision I've ever made

I can't even begin to describe how much I loved my ARCC Semester in East Africa. It honestly changed my life, and whenever people ask how it was, my immediate response is "if I could get on a plane right now and go back, I would. No question about it", even after I tell them about bucket showers, pit toilets, wet tents, and the malaria concern. If I could spend the rest of my life working for ARCC and being able to travel and share these amazing experiences with students, and change their lives and perspectives like Chris and Adri did for me, I would be the happiest girl in the world. I met a best friend who brought out new sides of me, a boy I want to spend the rest of my life with, and an unbreakable bond with 11 amazing people. I never felt homesick, which in itself says a lot about the group, even when I was super sick. In fact, I feel more homesick being back home, away from everyone. I'm getting emotional writing this, there is simply no way to possibly describe this experience in words, besides amazing.

What would you improve about this program?
We were under the impression we'd have wifi a bit more often, so some of us were not prepared to have to activate an international plan until we were there. I can't really think of anything to improve, everything was amazing, even the hard times.
Read my full story
Default avatar
Caroline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Caroline

Absolutely incredible and life-long enriching experience. The nature and landscapes are stunning - and I am so glad I got the privilege and opportuntity to widen my horizon by travelling to a world so different to ours (Europe). My two leaders were so supportive, them and my group turned some challenges into wonderful experiences. I also went through alot of personal growth in these 3 months and had many insights through being so far away from home, which is also why I would recommend this trip so much!

Default avatar
Emma
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

So sick!!!

I had an incredible experience on this trip. I was wary about the camping and the fact that it was a more group-oriented, structured program, but those two aspects ended up being major highlights for me. There is a lot of camping, but it's nicely broken up by time in homestays, hostels, etc. The people in my group made the trip so memorable. There was a great balance of free time, service work, and fun activities. This trip taught me so many skills I will use while traveling independently in the future.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The Maasai cultural dance in Tanzania was a very unique experience. Some members of the community we were volunteering in performed a traditional Maasai dance for my group and allowed us to join. I've never seen anything like it and am so grateful to have been included in such a special occasion.
Default avatar
Jack
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

East Africa GAP

My semester in East Africa with ARCC was an amazing and life changing experience. Combining education with rewarding volunteer work and a strong group dynamic, the trip taught me a lot both about the world and myself. I feel so lucky to have been a part of the program and experience all the cultures and opportunities it presented to me. My time in East Africa helped me decide what direction to take in the next steps of my life and taught me to be a global citizen. Not only did I see new place and meet new people, I learned how they live and why and got to experience a totally different lifestyle firsthand. I gained so much appreciation for what I’ve been lucky enough to have and so much understanding for the problems we face as a global society. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone looking to take their education out of the classroom and experience new things!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be ready to experience things that surprise you, and be ready to be flexible.
Default avatar
Rosie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

3 amazing months in East Africa with ARCC

After making a pretty last minute decision to take a gap year I found ARCC. I previously went on multiple summer trips with a different organization, but for my gap trip wanted to try something different. After spending 3 months in East Africa with ARCC, I wish I did all my summer trips in the past with them. I heard about them through a gap year consultant and immediately fell in love with the East Africa program. Something about the 3 countries (Uganda,Kenya, Tanzania) popped out at me, and as I read into the trip more I decided this was the company and trip for me. Once I decided to do a trip like this, I explored a couple of other companies before making a decision. once. Something about ARCC just felt so right and I absolutely loved how the trip was set up. When I read about the trip, I liked how there were 5 global themes that you explore throughout the whole trip (public health, education, micro finance, urbanization,conservation) and I liked the incorporation of leadership and the capstone project at the end. Those three things were not included with other programs. In September 2018 I met up with my group of 10 students and 2 leaders who were soon to be my 12 new best friends and family. We embarked on the trip of a lifetime. I know that sounds cheesy, but I don’t really know how else to define the trip that brought me so much. I loved that it was a mix of values and lessons that all contributed to the success of the perfect trip. There was service, adventure, leadership, education, nature, and fun. We lived in each country for a month. We spent our time traveling to village to village and spent about a week in each place. In each place we focused on something new. A new project, a new theme etc. For the first half of the trip we went to many schools and spent copious amounts of time with the kids. Playing with them, teaching them, learning about the school, learning how we could be of service. Every school was different so it never got boring. And the faces of the kids and the things we learned from them and the relationships we met will never be lost. Starting in Uganda we got a big overland truck with no windows and limo type seating and traveled in that with our driver Thiemo. Driving from place to place instead of flying was a really special experience because we saw things you wouldn’t see thousands of feet up. For example kids running after the truck, people selling different things on the side of the road, and how the landscape changes as you progress into a new place. During those road trips we stocked up on snacks connected to the aux cord and looked out the window at the beauty. Some of the best times were spent on that truck. We also got the opportunity to camp for about a month and a half. We would drive in the truck and pull out all of our stuff and tents from the compartments and set up camp. We had cook crews and we all shopped and cooked with and for each other. This added on another component to the trip and I think the camping really brought us together as a group. Sleeping in tents cooking meals together etc. Along with working in schools, we did a solar panel project and a health project. Learning everything you needed to, to wire someone’s house with solar panels and change a dressing on a patient. Everything that happened on the trip we did it together. I had 11 people by my side with everything we did and saw which is really special because you’re not the only person who saw that village or got to experience the amazing people of Tanzania and you can process and talk about everything with 11 other people which is amazing. Along with that we had two amazing leaders Katy and Eric who were also always by our side. Supporting us in anything we needed or did and keeping the trip running smoothly and safely and also sharing lots of laughs with us. The trip had so many special moments some with my group some with the locals. We experienced so much. Met so many people saw so many beautiful sights and made so many connections and memories. After spending 3 months on an ARCC trip I feel so incredibly passionate for the company. I think everything that occurred on the trip is all thanks to ARCC for organizing it so well and keeping everything running so smoothly. I also think ARCC is just so thoughtful they really know where we were at coming on this trip and they met us where we were. They provided so many things during the trip that contributed to the trip on such a high level. For example every week we did a reflection where we were given an
Hour and a prompt to reflect on and that was then followed by a discussion. This helped us to really process and further think about everything we had done or seen which I think is so important. They also included a whole leadership component giving us each an opportunity to be a leader of the group for a week twice during the trip. An opportunity to plan and run under all activities, reflections and experiences for the group. I think I learned a lot from that experience. They also always had games and activities up their sleeves to help us connect more as a group and have loads of fun. I felt so supported and understood and loved and pushed by ARCC. Although this is a self finding trip ARCC helped foster all the relationships and experiences we had which helped a lot. They did so well at preparing us and they were always available to talk to leading up to the trip. They also did a very good job at discussing the arrival home and preparing us for what that can potentially bring. So when I arrived home and was dealing with culture shock and missing the trip and the group at least I was prepared because I knew that was what I was going to feel. We talked about it and processed it before we left. I could go on for days how this trip had so many great parts to it and how it brought me so much joy and new experiences. What it all comes down to is that I highly highly recommend a trip with ARCC If you want a trip that is so well planned and that will change your life. Obviously I am biased to the East Africa gap semester they have many other trips in countries all over the world that all share similar curriculum, experiences, adventures and opportunities. If I could I would do my trip and all the other ones over again. I don’t think I would be as happy, aware, strong, thankful as I am without ARCC.

I miss my trip and my group everyday to me that’s a good sign,

Rosie Morford

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would hope for is more homestays other then that nothing could be improved as it was perfect.
Default avatar
William
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

How strangers turn into family

At the beginning of the trip I didn't know what to expect, I mean I met my group for the first time at the airport, I mean that first day was really hard leaving your family's and meeting complete strangers is really hard. If I wasn't for our leaders and their games we wouldn't have talked to each other. Our leaders really made our group one of a kind they were still in our age range that it wasn't awkward talking to them. This whole experience wasn't anything I've ever thought about doing. But after spending a couple of weeks with my group we grew much closer than I ever imagined and now not waking up and seeing them everyday is really difficult. But I'm very glad I took this semester because the memories I have of them were life changing.

What would you improve about this program?
I loved every moment of this trip, the only thing I I would change would be to have longer homestays.
Caroline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Semester of a lifetime

The east Africa trip was by far one of the coolest experiences I have ever done. For my gap year, I wanted to expand my boundaries and see the world and this trip did just that. The 11 other people on my trip were strangers, friends and then family. We grew closer than I though possible in the short amount of time together. But now looking back, even through the ups and downs, the good and the bad, they were and will always be there for me, no matter what. The east Africa trip showed me how strong I can be and showed me How similar and different the western society and the east African society is. I loved meeting new people and really getting to know them. Many of the people I met, changed my life. Peter changed the way I look at the world, he said, the world needs you more than you think and that if you work hard you can do anything. Constantly now, I wish I could go back. I wish I could be in the open plains of the Savannah, or in the crowds of children singing to us or in the wise embraces of mama from Lewa and Tania. My heart lives in Africa and someday I know I will go back and live every moment to the fullest possible, loving everyone and everything in my path of life.

What would you improve about this program?
Tell future people that it has a campyness side. I did not expect that, I felt more like a kid than an adult on the trip. Not that it was bad, I just wished I would have known about the mandatory games and group fun almost every day. I am an introvert so it took some getting used to, but in the end I didn't mind it.