Tanzania: Coastal and Maasai Cultures

Study Swahili, complete community service, live with host families, and explore the Ngorongoro Conservation Area during a summer abroad in Tanzania.

Travel from Dar es Salaam along the Tanzanian coast to Tanga, Arusha, and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, experiencing the diversity of Tanzania’s cultures, ethnic groups, and environments on this immersive high school summer abroad program. Learn about Swahili culture and Tanzanian arts while meeting with educators, artists, and musicians. Learn Swahili through the program’s formal and informal language instruction, and practice your language skills with your host family and other Tanzanians you meet throughout the program. Together with your group, participate in a series of community-driven service projects, such as teaching English in a rural school or engaging in an ecosystem management project.

Experience the vast differences between urban and rural Tanzania, and the country’s diverse ethnic communities. During your stay in the coastal city of Tanga, learn about the role of Islam in Tanzanian culture and wake up to the morning calls to prayer. During the program’s first homestay, experience daily life in a Swahili coastal community; then, travel into the bush to experience Maasai culture during the program’s 10-day stay in a Maasai village.

As your Tanzania Experiment unfolds, witness the country’s changing landscapes and breathtaking beauty. Visit the foothills of Mt. Meru, the second-largest mountain in Tanzania. Go on daylong game drives to see baboons, hippos, giraffes, elephants, and lions, and take eco-safaris at Arusha National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater.

Community Service Certificate: At the conclusion of this program, each participant will earn a community service certificate noting how many hours of community service s/he completed.

US citizens require a visa for this program. Participants will work with The Experiment’s visa agency to acquire and pay for a visa.

Orientation: Dar es Salaam, 4 days
Homestays: Swahili coastal community,* 9 days; Maasai community,* 10 days
Other Accommodations: Hotels, community center, camping

* Homestay locations can vary.

Days 1–5

Orientation in Dar es Salaam

  • Learn about the history and culture of Tanzaniacommunity service in tanzania
  • Get to know other members of your group during activities and discussions
  • Explore diverse neighborhoods and visit local high schools, markets, and cultural sites
  • Take survival Swahili language classes and practice your Swahili in local markets
  • Spend two days in Tanga, where you’ll learn about the role of Islam in Tanzanian culture
  • Go on excursions to the Amboni Caves and to a nearby rural community

During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in centrally located hotels.

Days 7–17

Homestay in a Coastal Community

  • Become fully immersed in the daily life of a Tanzanian family and community
  • Do activities with your host family
  • Explore your host community and the surrounding area with your group
  • Continue your Swahili language lessons
  • Work alongside village residents on education and community development projects such as painting, gardening, and teaching English at a local school
  • Assist village residents in weaving fishing baskets, collecting firewood, and harvesting coconuts

During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample community: Stahabu

Days 18–22

Music and Arts Community Service in Arusha

  • Visit the United African Alliance Center and learn about its local community service projects and classes that involve music and the arts and communal living
  • Meet with local artists who help teach local youth to use arts such as hip-hop in a positive way
  • Spend a day in Arusha National Park and enjoy views of Mt. Meru, the second-tallest mountain in Tanzania after Mt. Kilimanjaro

During this period, you and your group will stay in a guest house.

Days 23–32

Homestay in a Maasai Village

  • Become fully immersed in the daily life of a Maasai family and community
  • Do activities with your host family
  • Assist village residents in daily activities such as collecting firewood and caring for livestock
  • Participate in daily morning community service projects alongside the local Maasai community to help make long-term improvements to the Maasai village

During this period, you and your group will stay in tents and newly built bomas alongside local villagers.

Days 33–34

Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Ngorongoro Conservation Area

  • Visit one of the seven natural wonders of Africa through a daylong safari in Ngorongoro Park
  • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program

During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a camping site outside of Ngorongoro.

Day 35


Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.

These are leader bios from summer 2014.

Adrienne Rosenberg

Adrienne Rosenberg hails from Berkeley, California. She first went abroad as a volunteer for Amigos de las Américas as a junior in high school, where she fell in love with fireflies and long walks with her host mom through the countryside. Since then, she has worked and studied in Nicaragua, Mexico, Guatemala, and Tanzania. Adrienne received her BA in social anthropology from Harvard University, with a minor in gender studies. She has worked as a gymnastics coach, health educator, conflict resolution teacher, van driver, ropes course instructor, and high school tutor, and she currently studies psychology at The Wright Institute. Adrienne also fills her days mastering new skills on her springboard dive team, writing poetry, hiking, and learning American Sign Language.

Stephanie Teachout

Stephanie TeachoutA native of Smithtown, New York, Stephanie graduated from Indiana University in 2001 with a BA in history and minors in business and Russian/Eastern European studies, during which time she studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. Stephanie developed her love for teaching and cultural immersion in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she taught English at Payap University, partnered with hill tribes to organize service trips, and traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia. She received a master’s degree in comparative international education with a specialization in anthropology from Teachers College at Columbia University and later worked as the program director and development director for Princeton in Asia.

Stephanie has worked as a teacher, coach, and director of student diversity programs for Rye Country Day School in New York, and she is currently the director of diversity and a 5th grade teacher at New City School in St. Louis, Missouri. She has led numerous high school programs domestically and abroad, including Experiment programs to Thailand in 2005 and to Tanzania in 2013. In addition to chasing adventure in 35 countries and counting, Stephanie loves playing tennis, bicycling, practicing yoga, reading in a hammock, and trying lots of new foods (though not all at the same time).

The Experiment experience in Tanzania has had a tremendous impact on me. Every interactive connection I made turned into a learning experience. I experienced what it really meant to be a ‘world learner,’ educated and influenced by taking part in a culture and lifestyle different from my own; [this] has moved me to make a difference and study international law. Going to Tanzania really showed me just how much power I have to learn from and give to the world, and I hope to continue to grow and change after this unforgettable experience.

Experimenter to Tanzania, 2014

I loved staying with the Maasai and helping out with my mama's work in the mornings, as well as sitting with the women later in the day. I felt connected with the women and welcome in their presence. Doing work with my mom was peaceful and strenuous at the same time, and put me in awe of the strength and capability of the women there.”

Experimenter to Tanzania, 2014