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Airi Marzalik

SFU Student Undergraduate
Environment › Resource and Environmental Management
Study Abroad › Field School

Home Country
Pre Departure

Prior to the trip, our class partook in a pre-departure informative session at SFU Surrey, which was very useful. Our professor provided detailed information on what to expect at our Campus in Tanzania, making the settling-in process much more manageable. After our informative meeting, we had a group lunch which SFU provided. This lunch allowed us to get to know one another, which I found very beneficial.

Travel and Transportation

Before this field school, travelling to an African country was always on my bucket list. When I heard my professor mention a potential field school in Tanzania, I knew I would do whatever it took to participate in the trip. As someone considered a "world traveller" by many, I was prepared for the long, solo travelling. Upon arrival at the Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania, a driver that the school organized picked me up and drove me to the hotel. Throughout the entire trip, the transportation was always safe and reliable. 

Socio-Cultural Experience

My favourite part of this learning example was gaining hands-on knowledge from local experts. We took a field trip to visit a Maasai community and met with a Maasai Warrior who explained the effects of climate change on their traditional pastoralist lifestyles. This experience was very moving and emotional; I will never forget the knowledge I gained that day. Compared to traditional learning in a classroom, field school allows students to gain experience outside of the classroom. Taking field trips to local markets and spending time with the local children taught me a lot about the cultural differences from Canada. I feel so lucky to have been a part of this trip and for all the education I gained, which I will hold close to my heart for a long time.

Alignment with Career Goals

Partaking in the safari tours and witnessing the effects climate change has had on the local communities and wildlife strengthened my career passions. Contributing towards a more sustainable world and wildlife conservation are both subjects of which I am strongly passionate. Seeing the biodiversity of Tanzania made me realize how important it is to protect the natural world. Every lesson taught during this field school was interesting, and there was never a dull moment. I feel privileged to have gained this experience, and I recommend it to every student who shares a passion for the environment.

Team Bonding

The classmates I met during this trip have all become great friends of mine. I never would have imagined how close I would get to the class while abroad. We spent countless hours talking every day for the whole month. I feel so lucky to have had such a fantastic time surrounded by amazing people. This field school also created a strong bond between the students and the professor, which does not happen in traditional classroom settings. My professor, Dr. David Zandvliet, made this trip all the better, and it would not have been the same amazing experience without him.