Faculty Field School in Tanzania – When an email was forwarded to our staff at the Truro Campus, in December 2018, regarding a field school opportunity for faculty abroad, I figured that all the project opportunites would be for the School of Business or the School of Trades and Technology. I decided to take a look anyway even though I was ACCESS faculty. Let’s just say, I was happy I opened the email.
To have an opportunity to meet other faculty in a developing country was intriguing. As a Geography teacher, the chance to travel to Tanzania, Africa was an opportunity not to be missed. So myself, along with Tanya O’Reilly, Rashida Symonds, Tony Dorrian and Lisa Boyle became a group of NSCC field school “east coast” faculty on a plane across the Atlantic, along with other NSCC faculty and students bound for other projects.
Our first stop was the Njiro Veta Hotel school in Arusha. We were met there by our counterparts from Comosun College, located in Victoria, BC, along with the staff of the local college. The college is unique with two floors of hotel rooms and a full kitchen for the Culinary Arts. Everyday was met with great food prepared by the students and an active bar in the evening. We learned to cook Tanzania style and enjoyed the lessons taught by the students.
The week consisted of sharing of ideas among the college groups surrounding best teaching practices. We interacted by sharing and discussing Innovations, Challenges and Lesson Plans. It was interesting to learn that the issues in North America involving education or not far removed from the issues in Tanzania. We learned from each other and had the privilege at the end of the week to witness the unveiling of a new curriculum for the school related to Tourism.
A highlight of the field school had to be the safari tour in the Ngorngora Crater. Witnessing and taking in the vastness of the crater and the African wildlife of lions, elephants, rhinos, hippos and wildebeests was breathtaking. The flora and fauna was actually jaw dropping!
The second week we spent at the local VETA campus in the city of Arusha which houses all the vocational trades and offers engineering degrees, diplomas and certificates. It was quite modern with new technology equipment supplied by European nations. The college benefits from the generosity of their international partners for upgrading the classrooms, shops and labs. It is encouraging to see how the students are very committed to their studies and how important education is to a developing country. The hope of the country is to have a mid-income economy by 2030.
From the lens of a geography teacher, this opportunity allows me to present geographical information with credibilty by having witnessed first hand the plights of developing nations. As an ACC/ALP instructor, I have refreshed my views on the importance of education in societies. To return to Tanzania, or visit another developing country, would definitely be on my desire list. To see how the other 80% of the world lives should be important to everyone.
NSCC Truro Campus