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Education Abroad: Sustainable Community Development in Tanzania

For information about the Sustainable Community Development in Tanzania study abroad program, please contact Tula Ngasala, the lead faculty on the program, or the Michigan State University Study Abroad Office.

The Michigan State University (MSU)-Tanzania Partnership Program (TPP) supports a successful study abroad program in Tanzania. The program, Sustainable Community Development in Tanzania (SCDT), gives students the opportunity to learn a hands-on community engagement approach to development in a Tanzanian context.

study abroad girl with child.jpgSCDT offers students two interrelated opportunities: (1) undergraduate student scholars work with faculty and graduate student leaders in community development and collaborative research projects using a community engagement approach; and (2) graduate student leaders receive support for programs in areas related to the sustainable community development initiatives of TPP.

SCDT is at the forefront of MSUs and TPP’s efforts to embed community engagement principles into the university’s study abroad experience. The program is designed to increase community capacity and improve community well-being, while providing a transformational experience for MSU and Tanzanian students. SCDT is run in partnership with members of the northern village of Naitolia, the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), and Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA).

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Students and faculty from MSU, UDSM, and SUA work together with the community to organize, manage, and complete development and research projects. Projects vary depending on the immediate needs of the community and the interests of the students. Students learn about the history of development in Tanzania, different approaches to development, and receive linguistic training in Kiswahili. To culturally orient and deepen students’ connection to the community, the SCDT program includes a homestay with local families. Students gain friendships and form academic partnerships that are likely to continue long after the program has ended.