Although this city is abuzz, locals identify with ubuntu, the idea that “I am because you are.” In other words, people value community, family, and togetherness in Tanzania. Arusha is a bustling city in Northern Tanzania known as the safari capital of the North. Studying in Arusha provides the advantage of an urban environment, with adventure waiting just outside the city’s borders. Students who decide to study abroad in Arusha can choose to climb Mt. Meru, Kilimanjaro’s “little sister,” or go on a safari to see grazing giraffes in Arusha National Park on their free time.
Studying Abroad in Arusha
Study abroad programs in Arusha are offered most frequently during the fall and spring semesters. Although the official language of Tanzania is Swahili, most locals living in Arusha speak and understand most common English words and phrases. International students will therefore be able to take courses in English, and also enroll in intensive Swahili language classes if interested.
Arusha offers a premier opportunity to study social justice and conflict resolution. This city is an international human rights hub, home to the the African Court on Human and Peoples’ rights and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Both of the latter organizations have set a precedent for the international justice system, so students in these fields will find a wealth of knowledge and opportunity in Arusha.
Political science is another ideal course of study in Arusha. The number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) located in Arusha is constantly rising, ranging from public health to wildlife conservation, and students are therefore likely to find an organization that suits their interests.
Conservation is currently a hot topic in Tanzania, and environmental studies majors will find that over one third of the country’s landmass is devoted to conservation. As an urban center, Arusha gives students the lens to examine how the conflicts related to conservation initiatives plays out between indigenous groups, government entities, and local business owners and operators. Students who study abroad in Arusha will explore the meaning of sustainability and examine how it applies to the city’s environment.
Public health is a popular subject of study in Arusha. Public health courses in Arusha will give students the chance to gain a valuable perspective of international medicine and the health challenges of a developing country. For example, HIV-AIDS awareness and prevention is a critical issue in Tanzania, however, it is difficult to proliferate information out of the city and into indigenous ethnic groups. Students can help solve this issue and contribute to improved dissemination of information.
Life in Arusha
Students familiar with big cities will find that similar guidelines apply. Living and studying in Arusha requires students to be cautious and alert. Using a money belt rather than keeping your valuables in a purse or bag will protect against pickpockets, for example. Also, do not walk around the city at night, especially if alone.
Those who choose to study in Arusha can expect to be easily recognized by locals as foreigners or tourists. Students will often find that people will point and shout mzungu or wazungu, meaning white person or people, at them. Unfortunately, this makes students a target for beggars and street peddlers, and locals selling souvenirs can be pushy and persistent when walking down the street. Repeatedly saying hapana asante, or no thank you in Swahili, is the best way to politely decline these offers. If you do decide to purchase something, bargaining for a lower price is acceptable and even expected in Arusha.
Health wise it is vital that students come prepared. Malaria is still a serious disease in Tanzania and traveling to Arusha does pose a risk of contracting malaria. Anti-malarial drugs can be prescribed and should be taken before, during, and after any study abroad program in Arusha, as directed by a physician. Using mosquito repellent and wearing long pants and long sleeves are additional precautions to consider taking while studying in Arusha.
Costs & Affordability
Semester study abroad programs in Arusha commonly sport a price tag of $10,000 to $16,000, while summer programs are close to $4,000. These program costs tend to cover the majority of coordination and accommodation expenses, such as course credits, housing, airport transfers, and the majority of meals. Program fees also typically incorporate additional cultural excursions, such as group trips to Ngorongoro Crater or Zanzibar.
It is possible to obtain scholarships to study abroad in Arusha, through program providers, universities, and other organizations that specifically focus on supporting study abroad in Africa. But remember, there is no guarantee that you will receive a scholarship so you should do your best to complete all application materials and submit you application on time, and apply to as many scholarships as you can.
The cost of living in Arusha may seem expensive to international students who want to maintain the same habits and luxuries as back home. In terms of food, Tanzanians eat ugali (cornmeal mush), greens, rice, and beans frequently, as these are cheap staples to their diet. Students who desire a meat product at every meal will find costs add up quickly, not to mention imported products entail soaring prices. It is possible to live comfortably in Arusha on $1,000 tp $2,000 per month. Looking for a cheaper experience? Embrace the local attitude and live and dine frugally.
Accommodation & Visas
Most study abroad programs in Arusha place students in homestays, to enhance their cultural experience of Tanzania. Since Tanzania is a developing country, not all living arrangements will be extravagant; students may not have access to luxuries such as running toilets, air-conditioning, or internet access. However, homestay families offer an authentic taste (literally!) of the local culture, making this type of accommodation valuable for those seeking an immersive study abroad experience.
International students will need a visa to study abroad in Arusha. The visa will cost $100, but this amount can fluctuate. Visas can be procured in advance by sending your passport, photos, and other documents to a Tanzanian embassy in your home country. If you choose this route, plan accordingly and give ample time for processing, and most importantly the return of your passport and visa. Students may find it is easier to obtain a visa upon entering the country; this can be done at the airport and should not take a considerable amount of time. Before applying for a visa to study in Arusha, consult your study abroad program provider for their recommendation. Students should also note that the yellow fever vaccination is required to enter Tanzania, so you must provide documentation to prove you have been vaccinated along with your passport.
Benefits & Challenges
Health and Safety. Life in the city can be dangerous. Students should be observant of surroundings to stay safe and hold on to valuables. Living in a developing country poses health risks, as well. Before traveling to Arusha, consult a doctor. Take care of necessary vaccinations and obtain medications. Don’t let preventable issues cause problems during your study abroad program. And don’t forget the bug spray!
International Inspiration. Studying in Arusha provides a perspective of human rights on a global scale. This experience is powerful for students with an interest in the United Nations or who hope to work in diplomatic relations or peacebuilding.