The First Week of Classes in Tanzania and Orientation at the University of Dar Es Salaam by Shareeque Sadiq

Our Monday morning began with our first class at 8:30 am. The first class of our semester was on East African Cultures: Literature, Economy and Political Development. We learned about African States, Post-Colonial States Formation and the Characteristics of the State. Our East African Culture’s class was interesting because we learn how the colonial powers shaped the states of Africa, including its educational, economic and political system. An as example, the University of Dar Es Salaam during the European Imperialism was know as one of the colleges of University of London. Moreover, during the European Imperialism the University of Dar Es Salaam focused on law, which led the university to be the best university in Tanzania for law. Additionally, the European Imperialism also affected the economies of African states because the European colonies focus on producing cash corps like tea, cotton and cocoa. These cash crops are still being produced and exported through out the world through the African countries because of the agriculture knowledge that was passed down from the European Imperialism. African politics is still affected by the European Imperialism because the polices that are passed in the African Parliament are still in the interest of the colonies powers that ruled the African States. This is what we learned in two hours of class and I was amazed on how well Dr. Quaye presented the material on African culture.

As the week progressed on we were introduced to our other classes, including African Medical System, Women, Development and the Environment and our Independent Study, which is an internship in a specific organization of our majors. The African Medical System class is about how religion and science are used in Africa for medical proposes. Women, Development and the Environment are about gender relationships in Africa and women’s involvement in the process of social and economic development. In our Independent Study/Internship we will be conducted a research on the organization that we are assigned and learn how the organization operates on a daily bases and their effect in Tanzania.

The Orientation at the University of Dar Es Salaam was interesting because some of the information the staffers gave to us at that time did not make sense but as the week progressed the information aligned itself to our daily activities. As an example, when an elder person tells an individual to do something, it is not a request it a command because the norm in Tanzania is that an individual respects his or her elder no matter what. If the younger person does not want to do what the elder is saying the individual has to politely refuse. Moreover, if someone offers something, like close bottle water to an individual he/she cannot say, “No”. Even if the individual has a water bottle with them because in the Tanzanian culture it is considered disrespectful. This is considered disrespectful because an individual is sharing something that they have brought with love and hope from the bottom of their heart’s and the other person is indirectly implicating that their feelings have no value to them, their for disrespecting them.

How I feel about the first week of Classes in Tanzania and Orientation at the University of Dar Es Salaam is excited and a little bit overwhelmed. I am excited because I’m studying aboard in Tanzania. I mean, how many people can say that they have studied in another country for a semester or by far say that they have studied in Tanzania, Africa! Not a lot! I am a little bit overwhelmed because in the next two months we, as a group are going to be working very hard. As an example, we have a research paper due for every class and if you combine all the papers together. It comes out to be seventy pages, not including the in class writing assignments plus reading and traveling. So, that is why I am excited and a little bit overwhelmed. But in the end everything is going to workout!

Students exploring, learning, and experiencing Tanzania