Get Global

Creating together

Our students tell us about their internship s in Tanzania, researching income generating projects for a local community alongside students from Groningen University. To find out more about our global internship programme for Newcastle University Business School Stage 2 students, visit our website.

Week 1 and 2

Ryan tell us about his first two weeks in Tanzania

Despite a stressful start and an 8-hour shuttle bus after missing my flight, I finally arrived with the others meeting them in Arusha. I have never been so happy to see another Mzungu in my life! After being introduced to the Groningen students it all finally felt real. I finally met the famous Sister Immaculati, who we now call Sister Bebe.

Our aim here is to carry out a research project for the Elizabeth Centre, with the main aim of the project being to look at income generating projects to find more income for the Elizabeth Centre.  So far we have been focusing on the potential for developing guest housing at the centre, which would bring in significant income for the sisters and the community they have worked hard to create.

On arrival we began to explore our local surroundings and met the sisters and all the locals. The main thing Matt and me noticed straight away and have continually pointed out to each other is the sense of community and happiness, which is always present throughout not only the Elizabeth Center, but also the local village.

There is never a dull moment at the centre and living next to 12 boys and 14 girls we are always active, dancing, playing frisbee and skipping. We can’t walk around the school without being chased by everyone and the word Jambo has become common tongue to us.

As of yet I feel we have already experienced so much. We have been to the local market and experienced local foods, with our favourite being corn on cob but from the BBQ, so it weirdly tastes like popcorn. We have also tried sugar cane which is very sweet. We have been to the local hot springs, which we hope to get back again due to the fun we had meeting lots of locals and even seeing Bart, one of the Groningen students, teach a local how to swim!

We’ve also taught the students at the school in the village English and Maths, teaching them about adjectives and percentages using lots of games. We have had time to go on Safari at the weekend, which was an amazing unforgettable experience.

Whilst we’re having a lot of fun we’re also learning a lot, adapting to the new environment and getting used to a different way of living – showering with cold water and praying before and after every meal. Myself and Matt both feel we’ve already developed skills that we’ll go on to use in job interviews – the greatest challenge we’ve faced so far is definitely having to communicate in a different language when required and adapting to local culture. For example, just remembering to never use our left hand in public, as this is seen as rude by Tanzanians.

We’ve had such an amazing experience here already and can’t wait to see what the next 2 weeks will bring!

Week 3

Matt tells us about his third week in Tanzania

This week we took our research project to the streets of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital, just short of an easy 12 hours away by “luxury bus”. Whilst our main purpose for the visit was to undertake research regarding the potential for the Elizabeth Center taking on more boarding students from Dar es Salaam, we also managed to squeeze in a few spontaneous extra-curricular activities.



After talking to the Sisters at the Elizabeth Center, we were surprised to find out that some boarding students were actually from as far away as Dar es Salaam, typically because families from the area can more easily afford the school fees (which happen to be a lot lower than in private schools nearer to Dar es Salaam). We therefore suggested a trip to the big city to see if there is any more demand for secondary school students to stay at the Elizabeth Center, which would therefore generate more income for the Sisters and their beloved school. After attempting and failing to meet with families of current Elizabeth Center students’ families, we found alternative ways of doing our research, by locating local schools and conducting interviews with teachers, workers and even the occasional school bus driver (see Ryan and bus driver pic). We will use our findings in our final report for the Florentina Foundation.

As much fun as we had practicing our Swahili in interviews, Dar es Salaam also offered some leisure opportunities we couldn’t turn down. It just so happened that my football team Everton were playing a pre-season friendly against Gor Mahia, a top Kenyan team at the National Stadium of Tanzania. After bumping into some journalists to the game we were offered a quick route to the game via the delegation, meaning a swift entry to the 60,000 capacity stadium.

We also had time to squeeze in a quick trip to a picturesque local beach, hosting our own 3 v 4 football game of England/Netherlands vs Tanzania with the scoreline favouring the away side 6-5, despite the large majority of home fans turning out to support.

Waving goodbye to Dar es Salaam and its infestation of jellyfish we headed back to the Elizabeth Center, with the remaining days spent teaching and beginning to write up our research project, after the first 2 weeks well spent undertaking interviews and focus groups.

Week 4

Matt and Ryan tell us about their final week in Tanzania

Time really does fly when you’re having fun! It’s weird to think that this time five weeks ago Matt and I were strangers, about to venture into the world of unknown and now we are leaving with an experience I will never forget (and we’re now the very bestest of friends). Despite being ready to come home I know I will miss this place very much, missing the comfort of having the sisters and missing all the children and the happiness this place brings. We have already agreed with the sisters that we would come back and although this may not be in the near future, with our research project coming to end it would be a pleasure to come back in a few years time and see how the Elizabeth Center has improved.

The last week has definitely been an eventful one. We learned how to make mandazi (see picture), which has become one of my favourite things to eat. We revisited the famous hot springs as we just couldn’t resist not going back one last time. And the highlight of my week was definitely going to the Rivertree Hotel for what we thought would be a quiet couple of hours by by the pool, to only come across a family of monkeys who followed us everywhere. We also managed to fit in two lots of two hour football games, which became very competitive and with Matt scoring two goals in each match he really did end up living up to his nickname of ‘Messi’. We also did our last bit of teaching in our final week teaching the kids about comparison, in which they drew some very accurate yet funny pictures of Matt, Bart and myself. To end the experience we had a fun game of Twister with the sisters, which was very amusing.

Although this week has been fun and eventful it has been sad to say bye to this place. We were gifted with a surprise from all classes who wanted to say bye to us. It entailed singing, drawings, speeches and even some acrobatics which will all feature in this week’s final vlog!

In order to celebrate our five weeks here we decided to take the sisters out for what we liked to call ‘our last supper’ at the local restaurant. This was a weird and enjoyable experience as just four weeks prior we sat in the same restaurant getting to know the sisters and our fellow students. It was good to end where we started and as we waved Bart off last night it was really starting to feel like this experience was coming to an end.

Despite such an eventful last week we have been working very hard on the report, bringing all our research together and forming our final recommendations to put forward to the Florentina Foundation. The research project has definitely been eye opening and we can only hope that our recommendations help and can make a real difference.

This experience has truly been unimaginable and I will take a lot of life lessons home with me. The Elizabeth Center truly is a place of happiness and there was never a dull moment. The children always managed to make you smile and despite only having each other it shows money is not the main requirement of happiness. The whole internship has been so much more than I expected and the Elizabeth Center really is an experience in itself, and I will never forget my time here. All that is left to say is Asante sana (Thank you very much) to everyone at the Center and we will see you again one day!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *