How can I sum up this year in a meaningful way?
This was an absolutely incredible experience and while I came for to help my students, I learned so much from them and I experienced tremendous personal growth.
Facing water buckets, candlelight, spiders, bats in dresses, walls of heat, and bus rides crammed in with 12 people and some chickens was be a challenge, there is no doubt...but the challenges are WELL worth it!
My fondest and proudest memories during this year come from the hours spent in the learning lab we created. Watching my students, who are often too afraid to talk to teachers or lack the confidence to attempt English, come into their own controlled space, eager to learn, was incredible. Take Vumilia for example who, at the beginning of my time in my village was too afraid to speak a word in class…my last week at school she came in and read me 5 books in one sitting. I love her. I love all of them! I saw excitement, curiosity, and the beginnings of a new chapter in each students’ learning journey throughout the year and they made me SO incredibly proud.
They were the reason I came but they proved to be the reason to get up and face the dust, the rats, the heat, or just the long day ahead every morning (although my bat friends were a close second). I hope they learned something from me, however small, as I have learned so much from them. They really are what made my year unforgettable.
The support I received from WorldTeach was excellent. When I was sick, frustrated, or passing through the city I always knew that I would be able to talk to my field director Kim. She was amazing but because of the way the WorldTeach program is set up, I never felt pressured. I felt that she truly cared about me, how I was doing at my site and how my students were.
While the Tanzania program is not available, I strongly recommend the WorldTeach program to anyone wishing for a year of true service (not just a holiday).
A couple suggestions: if you are seriously looking into this type of program, do your research!! Know what you are getting yourself into because you want to be able to do your job effectively without regrets :)