There’s so much more to this East African country than towering mountains like Mt. Kilimanjaro. Whether you’re volunteering in a rural community, learning about Maasai culture, or spotting baby hippos on a safari, you’ll be warmly welcomed during any high school program in Tanzania. Karibu, meaning “welcome” in Swahili, is one of the most commonly heard phrases in the country because Tanzanians truly take this concept to heart. If you are ready to put on your best muzungu (foreigner) smile, then it is time to consider exploring the fascinating African continent through a high school program in Tanzania.
Tanzania’s location along the Indian Ocean offers teens a variety of places to explore, from tropical coastland to mountains to grassy savannas. The coastline is home to white sands and coral reefs, where opportunities to study marine life abound. Further inland, you’ll discover Mt. Kilimanjaro (known simply as Kili to the locals) and an abundance of National Parks. The majority of Tanzania’s 50 million citizens live in rural areas, so many high school programs in Tanzania focus on helping students to understand the locals more traditional way of life. Clearly it is possible to enjoy high school in Tanzania in a variety of ways!
Most high school programs in Tanzania begin in Arusha, a rather small city of approximately 400,000 people. Its location in the mountainous northern region of the country serves as the base for trips to Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro crater, Maasai villages, and numerous volunteer project sites. The bustling atmosphere of Arusha makes it the perfectly-sized city for students to get their bearings upon arrival in Tanzania.
Though most students will arrive in Arusha, there are also high school programs in Tanzania that begin or end in Dar es Salaam, the most populous city in eastern Africa and Tanzania’s economic center.
If you can’t choose just one location, have no fear, because many high school programs in Tanzania include travel to several places; most students will get to experience a variety of landscapes and regions during their stay. When you’re not gorging on chapati (fried flat bread) or nyama choma (roasted meat), you may have the chance to scuba dive off the shores of Zanzibar, master Swahili, or take time to volunteer in a rural area to learn more about life in a smaller village.
No matter where you choose to visit, you should expect to have limited communication with home during any high school program in Tanzania, and although phone service and electricity is available in cities like Arusha and Dar es Salaam, it can be nonexistent in remote villages. A high school program in Tanzania is, therefore, the perfect opportunity to put down your phone and fully immerse yourself in the experience. Don’t forget a camera and extra batteries though!
High School Programs in Tanzania
Teens who decide to travel to Tanzania will have a wide variety of programs to choose from. Whether you’re interested in learning about Tanzanian culture or wildlife and conservation, or participating in community service projects, there is a high school program in Tanzania that’s perfect for you.
Most high school programs in Tanzania have a community service or volunteering component, which can include teaching at an orphanage, assisting villagers with construction projects, or participating in community health initiatives. While the specific tasks may differ, all high school volunteer projects allow students to contribute to a local community while connecting with locals and learning about their lives.
Other high school programs in Tanzania focus on cultural exploration, allowing students to immerse in the daily life of Tanzanians, learn Swahili, and better understand the whys and how of Tanzanian culture. Cultural immersion programs usually also include an adventure travel component, giving students the chance to witness African wildlife up close, hike to waterfalls, or snorkel in the Indian Ocean.
The majority of high school programs in Tanzania take place during the summer and last from one to four weeks; although, some volunteer placements allow students to extend or shorten their stay however they prefer. All high school programs abroad place a high importance on safety. In most cases, program participants travel with a group of peers and a group leader, allowing them to meet teenagers from around the world as they explore all that Tanzania has to offer.
Scholarships & Costs
While the cost of living in Tanzania is quite low, many high school programs are quite expensive. Program costs can range from $1000 for a one week excursion to $8000 for a one month stay. That may sound pricey, but most high school programs in Tanzania include lodging, meals, and local transportation costs. Your expenses after arriving in Tanzania will be minimal, and many teen travelers can get by with only a small stipend for souvenirs too.
It’s important to note that airfare is not included in program prices. However, some high school programs in Tanzania will require you to purchase specific tickets on a group flight, while others will be more flexible. Travel and medical insurance is another item that may or may not be included in your program fees. While not very exciting, insurance can be invaluable, so you should discuss how to purchase it with your program provider.
If financial concerns are holding you back from exploring high school in Tanzania, consider looking into need- or merit-based scholarships often available for youth travel program participants. You can also check out GoAbroad’s scholarship and fundraising opportunities to help you tackle the costs of your program.
Accommodation & Visas
Lodging in Tanzania will vary depending on the program you choose, but there are some generalities to keep in mind. Many high school programs in Tanzania involve travel around the country, so you may sleep in dormitories, guest houses, community centers, tents, and/or lodges. Accommodations will likely be simple and shared with others, but this can be a great way to get to know other program participants. If you’ll be staying in or traveling to a rural area, be aware that electricity and running water are considered luxuries and may not be available. Teens who join programs where they remain in one location throughout the program will likely stay in group housing arranged by the program provider.
The majority of high school students traveling to Tanzania will not need to arrange a visa in advance, and tourist visas can be purchased upon arrival at the airport. However, there can be exceptions to this, depending on your citizenship and how long you plan to stay in Tanzania. Be sure to check with your program provider to determine your visa needs, and check out GoAbroad’s Tanzania Embassy Directory for further information.
Benefits & Challenges
Culture Shock. Tanzania is a vibrant, warm country, but students may experience some culture shock upon arrival. Those traveling to a developing country for the first time will likely initially feel uncomfortable in their new surroundings. It is important that students give themselves time to adjust to the cultural and social differences.
Impress Colleges & Universities. Traveling to a far flung location while in high school demonstrates bravery, curiosity, and a willingness to learn new things. Mentioning your experience abroad in college applications is sure to make you stand out from the crowd!
Participating in a high school program in Tanzania can change your understanding of yourself and your place in the world. You’ll undoubtedly meet people and see landscapes that will leave a lasting impact on you and affect your future in ways you can’t yet imagine. What you see will no doubt motivate you to make changes in your own life, and you may even be inspired to promote social change among others as well. Be open to the new things you’ll learn and experience during your high school program in Tanzania, and when you return home, find ways to stay engaged, curious, and passionate about the world around you.