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  • Locations: Arusha, Tanzania
  • Program Terms: Early Fall
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:
sociology italy
 Location Arusha, Tanzania
Early Fall 2017
August 23 – September 15, 2017
 Estimated    Program Fee $5,300
 Credits 5 UW credits
 Prerequisites None
 Program      Directors Benjamin Gardner, Kate Osmond
 Program  Manager Katherine Kroeger |
 Application    Deadline March 15, 2017 - EXTENDED!
 Information  Session(s) Tues, Jan 24, 4-5pm, UW Bothell, UW1-361
Mon, Jan 30, 3-4pm, UW Bothell, UW1-361
Wed, Feb 8, 4-5pm, UW Seattle, Thomson 403
  General Students will experience and study ecotourism in Tanzania. We will work with Tanzanian organizations to better understand the role of tourism and conservation in the country’s history and how it influences development.
Where You Will Study
Expenses, Financial Aid, & Scholarships


Program Description

This Exploration Seminar is an interdisciplinary course designed to introduce students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds to the socio-economic, political, and ecological context of ecotourism and global conservation in Tanzania. Tanzania is one of the most important sites for wildlife conservation and tourism in the world and the country faces many challenges in meeting the demands of conservation, tourism investment and sustainable development. Participants in this program will approach ecotourism as a political, economic and cultural phenomenon, examining the ways in which tourism functions as a site for political contestation on local, regional, national and international scales. Students will take a five-credit course that focuses on the history of conservation, land use and environmental governance. Students will also be introduced to Swahili, the national language of Tanzania. There will be a pre-departure language orientation in addition to the standard pre-departure seminars. Our month long program in Tanzania will include living and working in three separate field sites.

We arrive in Arusha, to get acquainted with Tanzania, learn some basic Swahili, and meet several individuals and organizations involved in conservation, ecotourism and grassroots environmental activism. Upon arrival in Tanzania, the group will be oriented to the climate, geography, people and cultures of Tanzania through guest lectures and day trips to various sites. Scheduled field trips include a visit with local farmers and a dairy cooperative, a tour of a large-scale mosquito net factory funded by the Bill and Melinda gates foundation, and a visit to the Plaster House, a rehabilitation center and program for kids recovering from reconstructive surgery.

After a week in Arusha the group will travel to Loliondo, a predominately Maasai area on the eastern border of Serengeti national park and just south of the Kenyan border. Students will spend ten days camping next to the Emanyatta Secondary School, a Maasai secondary school serving pastoralist and hunter-gatherer boys and girls from Ngorongoro District. Approximately ten advanced secondary school students, five boys and five girls will join our students in a blended learning community. Students will meet daily to exchange ideas, as well as work on collaborative projects about Maasai life and the role of conservation and tourism on their land and civic rights. We are applying for a Global Innovation Fund that would allow the Maasai students to more fully participate in the program. These funds would enable Maasai students to eat meals with our group, as well as travel to Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area, where we will all meet with park officials and managers, as well as community organizations.

Students will become acquainted with the variety of organizations that are working in the fields of conservation, sustainable tourism and development, and will have the opportunity to learn about such organizations from scholars in the field, local leaders of these organizations, as well as the Tanzanians who participate and/or receive support from these organizations. We will do so in Arusha, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Loliondo. Students will see for themselves the contrasts between urban, small town, and rural life. At various points on our journey, students will:

  • Live in and observe a mixed farming community (in Maji ya Chai outside of Arusha) observing the effects of colonial land use policies and urban expansion on rural farmers and families;
  • Live in and observe a rural pastoralist (herding) community (in Ololosokwan village in Loliondo) observing and studying the effects of colonial land use policies and contemporary development polices on pastoral communities and families;
  • Experience inter-cultural dialogue with different Tanzanian groups and communities;
  • Learn about and conduct projects for two local NGOs working on natural resource management and women’s empowerment;
  • Spend one week living next to a Maasai secondary school and collaborating with students on research projects exploring the history of the area and addressing contemporary problems related to land rights, women’s rights and access to natural resources;
  • Understand the history, concepts, trends, issues and implications of tourism and conservation in post-colonial sub-Sahara Africa;
  • Gain a deep and rich cross-cultural experience while learning about other cultures, economies and societies and the many challenges they face in an increasingly globalized world;
  • Develop the skills and confidence needed to travel independently with integrity and respect in the world;
  • Build relationships with Tanzanian students and encourage leadership development and group cohesiveness; and Understand the effectiveness of cross-cultural dialogue.
2016 Tanzania Study Abroad Group after Swahili Class, Maji ya Chai, Tanzania


Arusha, Tanzania


Arusha National Park (Day Trip), Plaster House (Day Trip), Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Natron Conservation Area


For the first week and final three days in Arusha we will be staying at the Northern Peaks Dorm facility. This is a secure gated compound with hostel like accommodations. There are private bathrooms and showers. Students will share rooms with other students in rooms of 4-8 people. All meals will be prepared and eaten at the facility. The facility is in the village of Maji ya Chai, approximately 20 kilometers from Arusha town and between the Kilimanjaro International Airport and Arusha town. The owners of this facility have extensive experience hosting US students and are the local coordinators for Putney Student Travel and National Geographic High School groups.

The second part of the trip will be spent camping. For ten days we will set up our campsite on the grounds of the Emanyatta Secondary School in Loliondo. Students will sleep three to four in a tent with same sex students. The directors will share a tent. We will bring our food and meals will be prepared by local vendors. After this we will be camping in Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area using the same mobile camping facilities. We will return to our Arusha base for the final three nights.

Students and faculty will eat all meals together. Students will be asked to do their own laundry.

Visit to a family farm on Mt. Meru, Tanzania


Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements

This program is an interdisciplinary experience designed to introduce students who are interested in ecotourism, grassroots environmental activism, the cultural politics of development, community development and/or public policy to the socio-economic challenges faced by Tanzanians who work in the tourism, conservation and development sectors.

This program is well suited to both undergraduate and graduate students from any of the three UW campuses. The program is open to any major but will appeal especially to students interested in Environmental studies, Cultural Geography, Anthropology/Sociology, Political Ecology, African Studies, International Studies, Global Studies, and Cultural Studies.

There are no specific pre-requisites. Students may be asked to attend at least 3 pre-departure meetings (dates and times will be set by winter quarter) All students will have the opportunity to study Swahili in Tanzania.

A basic level of physical fitness will be required for some activities. Students need to be able to walk 2-5 kilometers, in order to access many outlying areas in rural communities. Students need to be able to sleep in tents and camp. If you have concerns about accessibility and physical fitness contact the program director, Ben Gardner.



5 Credits


BIS 480 or JSIS 389 (5 credits)

Why do struggles over the environment incite such passion? What does it mean to defend nature? How do our understandings of environment issues and problems influence our beliefs, values and interests? How do Tanzanian grassroots activists understand the history and meaning of conservation? How do park managers and international conservation organizations talk about African wildlife and tourism. In what ways are struggles over African parks and conservation areas simultaneously material and symbolic? And what do such struggles tell us about contemporary environmental, economic and cultural politics?

This course looks at ecotourism as a site of environmental politics and as a way to understand the relationship between environmental issues and contemporary debates about culture, economy and society in Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world. Readings emphasize the relational histories of nature, power and politics. Students are asked to critically engage with people and places in Tanzania and draw on course readings and diverse methods in search of their own critical practice (praxis) of environmental politics.

The course will prepare students to ask how and why political, economic, and social dynamics are often left out of common understandings of environmental use and management, and creatively engage environmental politics.

Related Readings

  • Gardner, Benjamin, 2016. Selling the Serengeti: The Cultural Politics of Safari Tourism in Tanzania. Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation Series. Athens: University of Georgia Press.
  • Neumann, Roderick, 1998. Imposing Wilderness: Struggles over livelihood and nature preservation in Africa. Berkeley: University of California Press
  • Schroeder, Richard, 2012. Africa after Apartheid: South African, Race and Nation in Tanzania. Bloomington: Indiana University Press
  • Brockington, Dan, 2002. Fortress Conservation: The Preservation of the Mkomazi Game Reserve, Tanzania. Bloomington: Indiana University Press
  • Shetler, Jan Bender, 2007. Imagining Serengeti: A history of landscape memory in Tanzania from earliest times to the present. Athens: Ohio University Press
  • Hodgson, Dorothy, 2011. Being Maasai, becoming indigenous: Postcolonial politics in a neoliberal world. Bloomington: Indianan University Press.
  • Leach, Melissa and Robin Mearns (eds.), 1996. The Lie of the Land: Challenging received wisdom on the African environment. Oxford:
  • James Currey Conte, Christopher, 2004. Highland Sanctuary: Environmental history in Tanzania’s Usambara mountains. Athens: Ohio University Press.
  • Neumann, Roderick, 2005. Making Political Ecology. New York: Oxford University Press

Learning Goals: 

This course brings together students from different backgrounds, disciplines and programs. We will work collaboratively connecting diverse disciplinary questions, theories and methods to explore the meaning of ecotourism in Tanzania and the emerging interdisciplinary field of environmental politics.

Students will collaborate in small groups with Tanzanian secondary school students on projects related to land rights, ecotourism, conservation, gender and pastoralism.

Students are asked to apply ideas from the course to contemporary environmental and social problems. By the end of the course students should be able to understand and communicate how environmental change and cultural practices are influenced by a) social relations within and across different spaces; b) various forms of economic production; and c) ideas about nature and society.

Learning Goals

  1. Students will develop an advanced, interdisciplinary understanding of ecotourism, conservation and globalization.
  2. Students will engage in collaborative, critical discussion about the contemporary representation of Africa.
  3. Students will explore how understandings of tourism in conservation in Africa are relationally produced through a number of historical, political, economic and cultural forces/practices.
  4. Students will develop analytic skill sets for the critical assessment of ecotourism and conservation projects.
  5. Students will present their own work and ideas for collaborative, constructive assessment by their peers, Tanzanian collaborators and faculty members in the course.

All of the above will be assessed through intensive class discussions (facilitated, at times, by the students themselves), short reflective pieces written by the students during the course (and oriented toward a learning portfolio), and a final, summative project.


Program Directors & Staff

Benjamin Gardner, Department of IAS and UWB, Program Director

Kate Osmond, Department of IAS and UWB, Program Co-Director

Program Expenses

Cost: $5,300

Estimated Program Fee of $5,300, the UW Study Abroad Fee ($350), airfare, food (about $10/day), UW Study Abroad Insurance ($62/month), other health expenses/immunizations and personal spending money.

Average Airplane Ticket Price

$1,800* roundtrip

*Subject to when & where you buy your ticket

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
Non-Refundable Study Abroad Fee $350 October 13, 2017
Program Fee Balance $5,300 October 13, 2017


There are a variety of scholarships available to help fund your study abroad experience. Visit the Global Opportunities page for more information and application deadlines.


To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by the Study Abroad office as well as your program-specific orientations, offered by your program director.

You must register for orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend scheduled orientations. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current orientation schedule.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most forms of financial aid can be applied to study abroad. You can verify that your financial aid award will apply to your program costs by contacting the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid or scholarships awarded as tuition waivers or tuition exemptions might not apply so you will need to verify that these funds are eligible for use with study abroad by contacting the funding office.

Financial aid and most scholarships are disbursed according to the UW academic calendar (at the beginning of the quarter). If your program starts before the start of the UW quarter, your financial aid will not be available to you prior to your departure. If your program starts after the first day of the quarter, your financial aid will be disbursed at the start of the program. In either of these cases, you will have to finance any upfront costs such as airfare, health insurance and the start of your time abroad on your own. Please take this into consideration when you are making plans.

Revision Request

In some instances you may qualify for an increase in your financial aid award (typically in loan funds). Check with the Financial Aid Office about your options. To request a revision in your aid, you will need to submit the following paperwork to the Financial Aid Office:

  1. Revision Request Form
  2. Budget of student expenses for your program: The UW Study Abroad Office will upload this budget to your study abroad account after a signed contract has been submitted to the UW Study Abroad Office. You can request an unofficial copy of this budget by emailing

Visit the Finances section of our website to learn more about disbursement, revising your aid package, short-term loans and scholarships.

Application Process

The application includes a Personal Statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $350 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable and non-revocable once a contract has been submitted, even if you withdraw from the program. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the date (business day) a withdrawal form is received by the UW Study Abroad Office. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

1. Provide notice in writing to the Program Director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.

2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to the UW Study Abroad Office, 459 Schmitz Hall.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.