Tanzania 2018: May 14 - 30

Scholarship Information

2018 Program Offered Jointly with Northern Illinois University

For the fifth time in eight years, the Department of Geography at the University of North Alabama is proud to offer yet another exciting and unforgettable educational opportunity in Tanzania. This two-week field course will involve travel to Tanzania, in the interterm period in May 2018 to learn about and experience the physical environment and indigenous cultures of Tanzania. This is a 3 and 6-credit hour graduate and undergraduate Geography program -- and will be offered as:

  • GE 350 -- Geography of Africa (with a focus on Tanzania) by Dr. Francis Koti, and
  • GE 497 -- Physical Geography and Resources of Tanzania by Dr. Greg Gaston
  • GEOG 453/553 -- Environmental Management in East Africa by Dr. Courtney Gallaher (NIU)

This program is open to ALL UNA students, UNA faculty and staff, students from other universities, teachers and community members.


Current trends in world affairs, information flows, technological advancement, economic interdependence between nations and regions, movement and transfer of goods and people, continue to show increasing levels of interaction at the global scale. Specifically, the globalization of production and consumption of goods and services and its associated political, economic, socio-cultural and spatial implications have made the world even smaller. As a result, previously marginalized areas such as Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as issues of change, difference and diversity have become central to higher education learning and research. As educators, we are faced with the responsibility of availing to our students, opportunities to acquire knowledge and skills that will prepare them adequately as future decision-makers in a rapidly changing world. One way of doing this is to introduce them to less-dominant perspectives and cultures, since their effectiveness as future decision-makers will be influenced by their multiple perspectives gained through higher education.

Purpose & Objectives of the Program

Learning through lived experience and travel, is not only fun, but also a rare opportunity in college education. The general purpose of this seminar is to provide UNA students an opportunity to diversify their educational experience through “living it and seeing it” in the natural environment. More specifically, the seminar is intended to give our students a chance to broaden their knowledge of Africa by immersing themselves in the Tanzanian society and its cultures and also to experience the interplay of culture, economics, politics and environment in the context of change. It is anticipated that by the end of the workshop, students will gain an understanding of:

  1. Fragile tropical ecosystems under the forces of modern economic practices with special attention to the physical environment of East African Rift Valley.
  2. Indigenous cultures and economic systems, and human impacts on natural resources within the regional landscapes of the East African Rift Valley.
  3. The socio-spatial dynamics of settlement in a modern African City in the context of modernization and change with emphasis on Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s Capital City.
  4. The social structure of Tanzania (culture and ethnicity) and its impact on resource access, use, and distribution.
  5. The social structure of a typical Tanzanian family.
  6. The historical geography of the East African coast with special emphasis on the historical peopling of the region and the eventual “collision and blending” of African, Arabic, Asian and European cultures.
  7. The origins and development of the Swahili people and culture.

It is hoped that this experience will broaden students’ perspectives about the world and make them more aware and sensitive to non-Western cultures. It is also hoped that this experience will form the basis of reflection about who we are as Americans and how and why we fit into the global community. Ultimately, students will earn credit from the Tanzanian field experience towards their respective degree programs.

Introduction to Tanzania

Tanzania is located in East Africa and well within the tropics. Located slightly below the Equator, the country spans latitudinally between 1° and 12° south and straddles between 29° and 41° east. It borders Uganda to the North, Kenya to the Northeast, the Indian Ocean to the East, Mozambique and Malawi to the South, Zambia to the Southeast, Democratic Republic of the Congo to the West, and Rwanda and Burundi to the Northwest. With a land area of 365,755 square miles, Tanzania is approximately twice the size of California. Tanzania’s climate is largely tropical. However, variations of arid, semi-arid and wetter climates develop further inland. While temperatures are relatively high all year round (rarely falling below 68°F), the climate is cool in high mountainous regions. In general, the hottest period extends between November and February 77–87.8°F while the coldest period occurs between May and August 59–68°F. Tanzania’s physiography is varied and diverse. From the coast in the Indian Ocean, low lying plains gradually rise to the Southern and Northern highlands which house Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain peak in Africa. The highlands are flanked by the East African Rift Valley, and to the northwest of the Rift Valley is the undulating western plateau which adjoins Lake Victoria, the second largest fresh water lake in the world. With close to 47 million people (2012 estimates), Tanzania’s population is ethnically diverse, but more importantly, very hospitable.

Why Tanzania

Several educational and social factors make Tanzania the logical choice of this summer seminar here at UNA. In terms of educational concerns, the University of North Alabama’s Geography Department has expertise and experience in in East Africa. Dr. Koti, the director of this trip is born and raised in neighboring Kenya and speaks Swahili, the national language of Tanzania. Similarly, Tanzania has a well developed educational infrastructure and well trained local experts in various fields to adequately accommodate the needs of UNA students. Furthermore, the official language of Tanzania is English – this will make it easy for UNA students to communicate as they go about fulfilling the specific objectives of the program. A host of social and safety factors make Tanzania even more appropriate for this program. First, is the legendary hospitality of Tanzanians. One component of this seminar is interaction with local cultures and people. Fortunately, Tanzanians have a history of being very hospitable and welcoming. UNA students will encounter friendly people in during their stay and travels. Second, another important element of this course is extensive in-country travel within a relatively short period of time. Fortunately, Tanzania’s transportation and communication network is sufficiently developed to accommodate needs of educational travel. Transportation or communication issues will therefore not mar the smooth running of the program. These educational and social concerns are buttressed by a relatively stable political system. Tanzania is considered by the US Department of State as relatively safe for travel by (Americans) students. The success of the last two trips of UNA’s Africa Program in Tanzania is perhaps the single most important reason why Tanzania is most preferred for the 2016 edition of the program. Because of those trips, the Department of Geography now has a well-established network of contacts and trip facilitators which are expected to make future planning much easier and program activities more efficient. Furthermore, Dr. Greg Gaston, one of the faculty leaders completed a Fulbright fellowship at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 2013-2014. These reasons and others make Tanzania the logical choice for this program.

Course Description & Structure

Two courses will be offered in this program: GE 350 – Geography of Africa with a focus on Tanzania, offered by Dr. Francis Koti and GE 497 – Physical Geography and Resources of Tanzania offered by Dr. Greg Gaston. The courses will mainly focus on (but will not be limited to) three broad themes: the human and physical environment of Tanzania’s; the socio-spatial dynamics of a modern African city, and; the historical geography of the East African coast. The program will involve a two-week stay in Tanzania during which participants will travel extensively in Tanzania, attend lectures on selected topics on Tanzania delivered by Tanzanian experts, participate in field excursions in and around the City of Dar es Salaam, travel along the East African Rift Valley, and the East African Coast. During these field trips, learning will take place in the context of personal experiences, reading assigned material, field observations, listening and note taking, and taking photos and making sketches. More detailed information regarding each course will be provided to program participants.

Course Evaluation

Students will be required to: 1) take detailed notes during the informal lectures and guided tours to different places of interest; 2) keep a written diary of their experiences, activities and observations on a daily basis; and 3) make sketches and keep a photo diary of important features and aspects of the workshop. Upon return, the field materials: notes, photos, activities, will be compiled and presented to the instructors. Depending on the level of course (undergraduate or graduate), the program materials will be presented in any of or all 6 parts listed below:

  • Field book/notes: This will include your hand written daily notes and observations, hand-drawn sketches, charts, diagrams, photos and so on.
  • Field report: This report will comprise responses to questions provided to you prior to the trip based on several selected themes and topics. You will answer the questions during the field trip, but a more detailed, well thought, typed report is expected upon return. This must include well illustrated photos, maps, charts, tables, etc that you personally obtained during the trip.
  • Concept photo essay: You will be provided with a minimum of ten geographic concepts (per course) prior to the trip. You are to take or identify one photo from all your photos that best captures that concept in its entirety. The central operating question will be: If you were to get only one opportunity to identify or take JUST one photo that best represents any one of these concepts, (rural poverty; social distress, new economic opportunities - concept), what would it be? This forces you to stop and think about the concepts and the best way to represent them to a larger audience.
  • Pre and post test: This is a 20-item multiple choice test that will be administered before the trip, and immediately after we return. It will comprise short straight forward conceptual questions featuring the main aspects of the courses.
  • Reflective Essay: Each participant will write a short reflective essay about their trip experience.
  • Participation: This is a field course, so you are expected to actively participate in various ways. You will lose all your participation points by: not sharing your own personal observations, not asking questions, not contributing to conversations, listening to your music during field-trips, any other behavior which we feel does not fit our standard for the basic level of curiosity and enthusiasm that goes with field courses.

From the above-mentioned criteria, a letter grade (A, B, C, D or F) will be awarded based on UNA’s standard grading scheme. A detailed syllabus, course structure, requirements and the specific grading scheme for the undergraduate and graduate credit will be provided prior to the program. Program participants may also be called upon (optional) to make presentations of their experiences during UNAs Global Culture Week and or the Phi Beta Delta (International Honor Society on campus) events.

Course Credit

This field course offered both as a 3 and 6 credit hour course as: GE 350: Geography of Africa with a focus on Tanzania and GE 497: Physical Geography and Resources of Tanzania. A total of 6 hours of undergraduate and or graduate credit may be earned from this program.


This course is limited to 15 registered participants. However, a minimum of 10 registrations per course is required or the course may be cancelled.

Tentative Cost of the Program

The cost of the program is $3650.00 for all students. This includes:

  • Air fare return ticket to Tanzania (based on KLM)
  • In-country transportation
  • Accommodation and 2 meals per day
  • Cover cost to enter different places of interest
  • Visa fee to Tanzania
  • Guest speakers, lectures and venue fee
  • Emergency health fund
  • Application fee
  • Other miscellaneous expenses

Costs not included in the budget are:

  • UNA 3-credit hour undergraduate tuition -- see:
  • US Passport application -- those without a passport must possess one by February 2018.
  • One meal (most likely lunch) every day -- please carry money for lunch and snacks.
  • Pocket money -- it is recommended that students bring along some money for shopping and other personal effects.
  • Laundry expenses -- while laundry facilities will be available, this will be at a minimal fee.

Payment Schedule

The above expenses will be paid in 4 installments:

  • December 2, 2017 -- payment of $100.00 application fee.
  • January 30, 2018 -- payment of $2000.00 towards purchase of air ticket and innitial accommodation and transportation bookings.
  • February 28, 2018 -- payment of $1000.00 towards visa fee payment, accommodation, transportation etc.
  • March 31, 2018 -- payment of remaining balance of $550.00.

PLEASE NOTE: UNA tuition (as of Fall 2017) is $831.00 ($978.00 -- graduate) for a 3-credit hour course.

Tuition will be paid directly to the University at UNA Business Office in Bibb Graves Hall -- by phone (256) 765-4442; alternatively, please call the UNA Operator at 1-800-TALK-UNA or pay online at

Checks should be made payable to: "UNA Africa"

Direct all questions to: Dr. Francis Koti Tel: (256) 765-4219 (Dr. Koti); (256) 765-4246 (Pam)


Tentative Daily Schedule

May 14, 2018 – 2:29PM - Depart from Huntsville, AL; 5:40PM - Depart from Atlanta, GA – KLM Airways.

May 15, 2018 – Arrive, Kilimanjaro International Airport, Arusha, Tanzania at 7:50PM; Check in and late dinner at Kundayo Apartments around 11:00PM.

May 16, 2018 – Morning – Arusha - Change money, lunch; Urban walk; Rest and relax.

May 17, 2018 – Day trip to Olduvai Gorge; Ngorongoro Crater. Check in and dinner at Country Lodge in Karatu.

May 18, 2018 – Day trip to Lake Natron; Engaro Sare River Gorge and Waterfall. Check in and dinner at Lake Natron Tented Camps.

May 19, 2018 – Morning: Lake Natron; Day trip to Arusha, Check in and dinner at Mvuli Hotel.

May 20, 2018 – Morning – Arusha Maasai Market; Afternoon – pack; Dinner at Mvuli Hotel.

May 21, 2018 – Day trip from Arusha to Dar es Salaam by bus via Moshi, Same, Korogwe, and Chalinze towns; Check in and dinner at Uplands Center, Dar es Salaam.

May 22, 2018 – Morning: Dar es Salaam Milimani Center; Afternoon – UDSM – introductions at UDSM Department of Geography and tour of UDSM campus – dinner at Uplands Center.

May 23, 2018 – Morning at 8:00AM UDSM: Lecture on Historical Geography of Dar es Salaam; tour of City of Dar es Salaam - focusing on -urban agriculture, fish market, Kariakor Market, Tanzania’s national museum, Askari monument, Makumbusho Village Museum (replica of African traditional villages), historical geography – Shirazi ruins; Manzese; Machinga; Askari Monument; Msasani; Mbezi.

May 24, 2018 – Day trip to Bagamoyo: Historical and cultural Geography – Kaole ruins, river systems (River Wami); Back to Dar es Salaam - Check in and dinner at Rainbow Hotel.

May 25, 2018 – Ferry Trip to Island of Zanzibar; Stone town stopover and lunch. Check in and dinner at Smiles Beach Hotel.

May 26, 2018 – Zanzibar - Visit Mnemba Island – snorkeling; Evening – sunset view trip; dinner at Smiles Beach Hotel.

May 27, 2018 – Day trip to City of Zanzibar; Stone town tour – Historical and cultural Geography.

May 28, 2018 – Depart Smiles Beach; Ferry to Dar es Salaam – check in at Rainbow Hotel; packing.

May 29, 2018 – Leave hotel for airport; 3:00PM; 11:05PM - Depart Dar es Salaam, TZ for US – KLM.

May 30, 2018 – Arrive back in US; Atlanta, GA (1:56PM); Huntsville, AL (3:43PM).

Travel Preparations

  1. International travel requires a passport! Please make arrangements to obtain a passport as soon as possible. I recommend getting one before February 2018. Entering Tanzania, non-Tanzanians requires a visa. A Tanzanian visa will be arranged for all program participants from the Tanzanian Consulate Office in Washington D.C. The consulate charges $100.00 for a visa. This fee is included in the total cost of the program. 
  2. Immigration regulations require people entering Tanzania to be inoculated against certain diseases and to have completed a preventive anti-malaria course (see your physician as soon as possible). You must complete the entire inoculation cycle by March 15th, 2018. It is in the interest of each student to take the required precautions. More information on this will be provided to participants. 
  3. It is a requirement in University of North Alabama for each student to have Health Insurance – this summer Seminar is no exception.
  4. Before the commencement of the trip, program participants will sign statements committing to be of good behavior during the entire trip.
  5. Students with major health concerns should see their physician. Such students will have to provide a clearance letter from their physician to go on the trip as well as sign a waiver absolving program organizers of any liabilities.
  6. Pre-departure training – The UNA Office of International Students and Scholars conducts a pre-departure training for all study abroad participants in the spring of 2016. Participants will be notified of this event when information becomes available.
  7. There will be a series of pre-trip activities which all trip participants are required to take part.

Rules and Regulations

Every participant in the project will be a University of North Alabama's ambassador to Tanzania. As such, the university's code of conduct will applu in the entire period you will be in Tanzania. For questions regarding the code of conduct for UNA students, please refer to the University of North Alabama's Student Handbook.

Community Members

This program is open to the UNA Community and others from outside. The cost of the program for the community participants may be slightly higher than that of students. Community members interested in this should contact and/or see Dr. Koti for cost details. The payment schedule will be the same for all.


Due to the limited number of spaces in this seminar, admission is on a first-come-first-serve basis. To rest assured of space in the program, please fill out the application form below and bring it in person or sent it to:

Dr. Francis Koti -- Program Director or Pam Bishop -- Geography Department Secretary

Department of Geography

University of North Alabama

Wesleyan Hall Room 129

UNA Box 5228

Florence, AL 35632-0001

Program Website