SFS Semester/Summer: Wildlife Management in Tanzania
95% Rating
(12 Reviews)

SFS Semester/Summer: Wildlife Management in Tanzania

The School for Field Studies (SFS) offers semester and summer programs for students interested in studying abroad in Tanzania. The multidisciplinary programs focus on wildlife management practices and the complex issues involved in sustainable wildlife conservation in East Africa.

Students on a SFS Wildlife Management Studies program study concepts and principles of ecology, resource management, and socioeconomics and techniques for effective and sustainable wildlife conservation. Students develop skills to explore the ecology and behavior of common African large mammals. Students also study the well-being of local communities, and interview Maasai community members about challenges they face by the loss of natural resources.

Each monthlong summer session can be taken individually or back-to-back.

Program Type
Subject Areas
African Studies
Animal Science
Global Studies
Natural Sciences
Social Sciences
Sustainable Development
Wildlife Sciences
Degree Level
Online Application
Official Transcripts
Letters of Recommendation
Phone / Skype Interview
Age Requirement
GPA Requirement
Health Requirement
Experience Requirement
Application Fee
Starting Price
Price Details
SFS program fees cover room and board, program-related ground transportation and park entrance fees, field equipment, supplies, orientation, and pre- and post-program advisory services. Total Program Cost does not include transportation to and from the program. Scholarships available!
Other Locations
Manyara area

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 12 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.1
  • Housing 8.2
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 12 of 12
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Life-Changing Adventure

This summer, I had the opportunity to join approx. 20 other students from different states around the USA on a study abroad program in East Africa. The School for Field Studies was an absolutely fantastic program that left me with many unforgettable memories and friendships. It helped foster my passion for wildlife research even more and I look forward to a future with SFS support from this adventure. I would highly recommend The School for Field Studies study abroad for any curious, young scientist who wants a taste of what it's like to conduct research on the other side of the world. I knew after leaving this program, with my heart still pumping on the plane ride home, that this is the field I am destined to be in.

How can this program be improved?

The Tanzania program was run very well with many encouraging and caring staff. Given the societal and cultural aspects of the area, the Moyo Hill Camp was comparative to a five-star hotel.

Yes, I recommend
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SFS Wildlife Management Program

Choosing this study abroad program was hands down the best decision I made during my college career. It was such a unique experience and one that I felt perfectly encompassed what studying abroad is all about. While traveling and living in Tanzania undoubtedly pushed me out of my comfort zone, I could not speak more highly of the students, staff, and locals I had the pleasure of spending those 3.5 months with. The many relationships I developed with those people really made camp a home away from home and have continued even after the program. I was completely engrossed by the Tanzanian culture and way of life-- something I'm quite sure is just as unique as the country itself. Having the opportunity to learn Swahili and get exposure to a variety of cultures was truly an immersive experience that speaks to the many positives of this program.

Now of course, the wildlife this country had to offer was one of the main draws for me. The safari drives and overnight expeditions in and near the national parks were always something I looked forward to and will surely never forget. Each drive was a new experience, whether it was seeing new animals or scenery, or simply being with a different driver or group of students. There was also a great connection between class and lecture material with activities we did in the field (habitat assessment, species ID and behavioral observations, wildlife census techniques, etc.). And the best part was that fieldwork never felt like actual work--I mean how often do you get to ride around in open-top Jeeps collecting data on Tanzanian wildlife?!

I could go on and on about how absolutely amazing this program was. I can't say that I have one favorite memory or moment, because the program in its entirety was more than I ever expected it to be. I've missed the tiny village of Rhotia every day and know this country and its people forever have a special place in my heart.

Yes, I recommend
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Time in Tanzania Well Spent!

Definitely the trip of a lifetime, and would absolutely do it all over again. The feeling going to the first national park, Lake Manyara National Park, felt like going into Jurassic Park but without the danger or drama. The first animal we saw was my favorite; elephants. During the day I thought to myself that if everything had to end, I'd be content because of the joy that I felt. I loved learning the language, the culture, the challenges, and meeting wonderful people in a world far away and far different than I one I left back home.

How can this program be improved?

There are only a few things that could be changed about the program. The student housing was good but could have been better, I did share a room and bathroom with 3 other men. The local culture and history was fascinating, would have enjoyed more time learning about it.

Yes, I recommend
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Unique and Incredible Experience

I very nearly did not go on this program - first I suffered an injury and had to withdraw from a semester, and then the Kenya portion of the trip was cancelled due to civil unrest - but going was probably the best decision I've ever made. For the first time in my college career, I feel as though I've actually gotten my money's worth. The professors were (mostly) accessible and incredibly knowledgeable in their fields and the staff were welcoming and inclusive. Lectures were punctuated with all day field exercises that ranged from walking distance to camp to a three hour drive, allowing us to view a broad range of communities, and guest lectures from local experts and citizens. The school went out of their way to provide the proper tools for directed research projects, including arranging last minute camping, guides and rangers, and talks with experts in our field of research. The expeditions to national parks were the highlights, of course, and no one ever suffered a bad day where they didn't get to see something incredible. The campus itself is small, but the accommodations are much better than I expected, with (usually) hot water, running toilets, and a full-stocked kitchen to raid for bread. The only real drawback to any of this was the inability to go out into the community alone or past 6 pm due to safety reasons, which is understandable, if a little frustrating.

If you are looking to work hard, play hard, and see East African wildlife in their native habitat, this program is for you. Come in with an open mind, prepare to be adaptable to all situations, and enjoy the people you're spending your time with, and you will have one of the greatest experiences of your life.

How can this program be improved?

Some of the academics could use a little more focus - sometimes it was hard to tell exactly what we were supposed to be doing, and sometimes things fell through. I also would have appreciated more day trips to areas farther from camp so that I got to see more of northern Tanzania. However, I do think that they did the best with what they had, and that's what is really important here.

Yes, I recommend
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Certainly a worthwhile adventure

All in all it was an amazing experience that could not be replicated anywhere else of with any other study abroad program. The theoretical side of the courses were lacking, but the practical field experience is likely unparalleled. Probably around 75% of your waking hours are spent traveling around Tanzania to local National Parks or Wildlife Management Areas. The wildlife you will see during the program is simply spectacular and there are many things you will never be able to experience again in your life. SFS is a great program for not only experiencing the ecosystems surrounding their field stations, but completely immersing their students in the culture of the peoples living in the area. I can't stress it enough, this is an experience that you will never forget for the rest of your life. If you have the means to get to Tanzania, then most certainly do it.

How can this program be improved?

Academics could definitely be improved to provide more clarity about what professors expect from you on your assignments. As it stands, assignments are very vague and you are sort of left guessing as to what to do with them. This was a general problem with all of the students who participating in the program, not just me. However, this might just be a cultural aspect of teaching in Tanzania and something that you just need to roll with.

Yes, I recommend
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A Summer in Tanzania

I participated in the SFS Summer Session II in Tanzania and would recommend this program to anyone looking for a unique study abroad experience with awesome opportunities to study and view African wildlife.

How can this program be improved?

The program was very guided and strict on what students were allowed to do during their free time due to safety reasons. I would have liked to see a little bit more free time, however the safety precautions were understandable and appreciated for life in rural East Africa.

Yes, I recommend
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Most amazing experience of my life!!

This program changed my life. I was exposed to things that I never thought I'd experience. I saw parts of East Africa that I never even knew about, and I met some of the most incredible people.
One of my favorite parts of the trip were camping in the Serengeti for a week. We were woken up by lions outside our tents every night and got to sleep underneath the clearest skies I've ever seen.
Another one of the highlights were the home stays. We spent time with people from Iraqw tribe and also Maasai. They taught us about their everyday lives and we got to help with everything they do on a daily basis.
The academics were definitely challenging for an abroad program, but I had no problems with the professors or grading policies. I loved getting to know the professors on a personal level, and spending time with all of the staff.
SFS runs an incredible program. I look at the world in an entirely new way, and I will never forget the experiences I had while abroad.

How can this program be improved?

I wish we had a little bit more freedom to explore the areas we were living in. It was great because I always felt safe while on the program, but I wish I got to explore the areas a little bit more.

Yes, I recommend
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Best Decision of My Life

This program offers so much more than your typical study abroad program. You get to live in an area of the world that most people only dream of visiting. Surrounding by acacia woodlands, the Kenyan field station sits on the northern side of Mount Kilimanjaro. From the outdoor showers, you have a perfect view of the top of Kili! Both fields stations are incredibly beautiful, with gazebos, volleyball courts, and soccer fields nearby.

While I would say that I faced some difficulties at first adjusting to the East African lifestyle and not having all the necessities that I've become accustomed to using, you can have a greater appreciation for the people and beautiful landscape of these two countries. Honestly, I would not have enjoyed this experience as much if I were glued to my computer, worried about what was going on back home. You're able to connect with an incredible group of students who are just as nervous, but excited as you to journey to a region quite different from the US and Europe. You also connect to the staff of both sites in a way that would never occur at any other academic institution. The staff quickly becomes your extended family, eating dinner with you, getting to meet and know their family, and playing a game of soccer with them in the afternoon. Where else in the world can you play volleyball with your professors?!

Although I think this is an incredible program and think everyone should experience this area of the world that is often misunderstood, the trip isn't for everyone. You're surrounded by your classmates 24/7, leaving few instances of alone time. Also, if you're not willing to be adventurous and try new things, this program may not be ideal for you. There were moments when I was completely out of my comfort zone and instead of not participating (as usual), I embraced the moment and had the best time of my life. On the first day in Tanzania, a group of students and staff decided to play soccer. I was hesitant at first and I'm not extremely athletic, but the other students persuaded me to join in on the fun and I loved every moment of the game! Another instance of this was during our optional community service project in Tanzania. Over the course of two weeks, we had the chance to go to a local school and implement a reading program. The program wasn't mandatory and I'm not always great with kids. I went to the school on the first day as nervous as could be, but ended up falling in love with the students and went back every day after that to continue interacting with them.

One final thing I'll add is that even though this is a program intended for wildlife lovers, don't choose the program solely based on this fact. You will see all the awesome animals from The Lion King and scream for joy the first time you spot an elephant; however, you soon become accustomed to these animals sightings on a daily basis and the excitement quickly turns into an appreciation for the landscape and region as a whole. Similar to a majority of people on my trip, I left the program falling in love with the people and staff of our field station more than the animals. The best moments I can remember are from these interactions with people that I grew to love and care for. In this sense, you should go on this program with the mindset that it'll be more than just a 3-month long safari, but instead a life altering experience that will open your eyes to the beauty of the people and landscape of East Africa.

Yes, I recommend
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Great Program Decent Academics

The worst thing about the program was the inconsistent academics. They do not meet the quality of an American university but maintain an air of being 'tough on you.'

However the community service projects were life changing, the days off were always filled with new people and once in a lifetime experiences and the research was probably the best experience you could hope to get.

Just remember that they grade at a different level and have no sympathy for you returning home with grades based on an East African grading standard.

How can this program be improved?

The inconsistent grading and academic support.

Yes, I recommend
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Public Health and Environment in Kenya

Looking back on my time at Kilimanjaro Bush Camp, I am astonished at how quickly the month flew by and find myself reminiscing about my wonderful memories and experiences daily. The fighting baboons, haggling at the market and early morning cook crews became normal and welcome parts of daily life in Kenya. As I am sitting here and attempting to review the program, I am finding it difficult to put all of these moments into a cohesive statement that adequately explains my experiences, but I will do my best.

The SFS Summer Public Health and Environment course is a month-long intensive study in Kimana, Kenya. Upon applying, admission and arriving, I did not know anything more than that and was unsure what to expect from the program. Several students from my home institution, Franklin College Switzerland, have attended SFS programs and loved their experiences, so I was willing to take a chance on the program. What I got out of the program was so much more than I bargained for or expected. It has raised my expectations of travel, group dynamics, relationships and overall life experiences to a level so far above anything I could have expected. In this review, I have outlined several highlights of the program in academics, non-program activities and overall experiences.

I am so glad that I chose to attend the SFS Public Health program in Kenya. The research we were able to conduct was ground breaking and enabled us to provide [hopefully] helpful recommendations to the local community. Our research project was focusing on determining the impact of the closure of the Imbirikani Health Clinic on their beneficiaries. This health clinic was a private organization (U.S. American NGO) that provided a variety of services and world-class comprehensive care. The closure of this clinic had a profound impact on the health of the Imbirikani Region.

We conducted research in 396 households over a period of four days, disbursing from Camp in partners with a translator to administer questionnaires. The days were long, the walks were far and the experiences were unforgettable. Many of the Maasai Mamas I met left incredible impressions upon me. Despite living with so few material items, they opened their homes to us, always offering us chai and stools to sit on. These women were incredibly empowering and it was fascinating to talk to these Mamas about issues of vital importance to them. The four days of data collection flew by, yet the memories and stories are still crystal clear in my mind.

Academically, the course structure was quite different from what I was used to, but the SFS staff held many evaluation sessions during and after the program to make sure we were all comfortable with the academic components (and all other aspects of the program). The fact that there was always a staff or faculty member available to consult was great, especially because the course was so intensive.

Visiting and forging connections with HIV positive Mamas at the Boma la Tumaini was also a highlight of the trip. This voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) center provides free support services and testing in Loitoktok, the next town passed Kimana. I visited this VCT center three times, first with the whole group on a non-program day to speak with three HIV positive Mamas about their experiences. These women were some of the bravest people whom I have ever met. They had overcome incredible adversity and wanted to share their incredibly brave stories with us. Next, myself and three other students in the HIV/AIDS group attended a group therapy session. Twenty-five HIV positive women attended this meeting, many of whom were physically abused, stigmatized and were suffering from opportunistic infections such as Tuberculosis and Karposis Sarcoma. Despite these incredible barriers, these women had all gone public about their status and found support in each other. Lastly, we spent our community service day helping the Mamas make beaded jewelry and soap before teaching them how to make origami doves, which they loved. Before leaving, we shared a meal together. Despite a language barrier, there were plenty of smiles and laughter throughout the day. Making connections with these Mamas was wonderful. Later, we would see them in the markets and would be greeted warmly.

The group of students in the program was excellent. As one of the only global health enthusiasts at my university, it was so wonderful to be surrounded by insightful and impassioned discussions about topics like breaking the cycle of poverty and disease. As we all came from different academic and social backgrounds, it was very helpful to bounce ideas off of each other; we each brought something unique to the table. While the going-out scene was non-existent, we still had plenty of time for soccer, volleyball, ping-pong, movie nights and much more.

There are infinite aspects of Kenya that I will never forget and will miss dearly. The wildlife, nature and overall surroundings were stunning. The spellbinding African stars are indescribably spectacular and are incomparable to anywhere else in the world that I have traveled to. I doubt I will ever be in a classroom with acacia trees with baboons swinging around in them right outside again. We spent two days at the Amboseli National Park; highlights included twenty elephants passing in front-of and in-between our Land Cruisers and seeing two lions chasing a warthog. At Camp, the ceaseless chatter of birds, bugs and various animals throughout the day and night was oddly calming and homely. An added plus was sleeping under my mosquito net, which felt like having a princess-canopy bed.

The Kenyan lifestyle was entirely refreshing; kindness and collective goodwill are values that are placed at the heart of society- people are always smiling! I learned many lessons about the importance of patience, selflessness and heartwarming hospitality. Beyond this, I met women braver and stronger than I could previously fathom. I will miss hearing their stories and I will remain in awe of them forever.

As I am writing this, I think it would be incorrect to ignore the difficulties that we came across in the program. The physical barriers, such as extreme tiredness and the lack of many common amenities as well as the close proximity to wildlife would make this trip difficult for the faint-hearted. However, for the adventurer or even the person who wants to step out of their comfort zone but still have a safety net, this trip was ideal. The key is having the desire to change and experience something very new. Academically, the grading scheme was very different from that of American institutions, however there are many opportunities to address problems that might arise. Socially, you will be surrounded by the same ~20 people 24/7 for a month. Those who enjoy solitary time and are less social may have difficulty with this. Student freedom is relatively limited on the program and some people found that frustrating, however it was necessary due to safety (mostly wildlife) concerns and overall program structure.

The SFS staff was the key to making this trip so successful. Our Student Affairs Manager and the rest of the program assistants were always available and willing to talk or help us in any way possible. They were more than approachable and saying that they were incredible seems like an understatement. The other staff members were also more like a family away from home than staff members.

Overall, I would recommend the SFS summer Public Health and Environment study to upperclassmen students who have some prior travel experience, have taken statistics or epidemiology courses and who are truly invested in global health. This program is tiring, trying and very unique; it was also life changing and I would do it again in an instant.

How can this program be improved?

There were two main areas of improvement that I noticed during my time in Kenya. Firstly, and perhaps arbitrarily, the program content was incredibly intensive and would still be tight even in a semester. I think that providing a broad overview of public health issues while preparing for field research was very difficult and taxing on both students and faculty. I am not sure whether anything can be done about this. Secondly, the academic department was very different in teaching and grading styles compared to American and European systems. However, we were able to voice our concerns and hopefully this had an impact on future students experiences. In the middle and the end of our program we had course evaluation sessions (written and oral) where we voiced our concerns and were met with great concern and apparent desire to change. However, I would still recommend this program highly despite these difficulties. Dealing with different grading and teaching styles is a part of studying abroad.

Yes, I recommend
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SFS: Tanzania and Kenya

In my opinion one of the best things about this study abroad program is the group aspect. Honestly, I was nervous about being with the same people for an extended period of time, but the group size and dynamic in my experience was amazing. Another huge perk is that the professors took the classroom everywhere, from rivers with water quality issues, to lectures in national parks, we were always learning something new. I was surrounded by students who were as eager to learn about the environment as I was, that experience in itself is once in a lifetime. I gained skills; technical, interpersonal and objective that I could not have learned anywhere else. The living situation in each country is very different. In Tanzania the center is closer to a town so it is easy to walk into town, but the center is smaller. On the other hand in Kenya, the nearest town is a bit of a trek away, but the center is much larger and there is wildlife within the center grounds, for example a multitude of birds, vervet monkeys and baboons. Being abroad in East Africa has its ups and downs, it is difficult to communicate with your family, it is dirty and it is intimidating at times, but in the long run the friendships made and the experiences you have will always outweigh the difficulties.

Yes, I recommend
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I loved my time with SFS!

I did the semester program in Tanzania and Kenya in the fall of 2011; it was by far one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Getting to go on all-day safaris to world- famous parks almost every week was awesome, but even better were the connections I made with people, which I wasn't expecting. We got to become a part of the community during our stay there; saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I've had to do! I also stay in touch with the group I went with; I had never met any of them before boarding the plane, but our incredible shared experiences brought us so close. There were definitely moments of culture shock and homesickness, but I think overall my family was a little offended with how little I wanted to come home at the end of the program.

How can this program be improved?

It's definitely different than study abroad programs in Europe or Australia; you're not free to go out drinking and partying, mostly because there's nowhere to go to do that. There were certain days off where they would take us to tourist lodges and people could drink and hang out there, but you always had to be back inside the camp fence by nightfall, which a lot of people found restricting.

Yes, I recommend

About The School for Field Studies

The School for Field Studies (SFS) offers field-based programs that revolve around environmental studies and research. The programs involve exploration of the human and ecological aspects of issues having to do with the local environments. Students...