Sustainable Development in East Africa - TESC 303 (Environmental Science)

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 Application Deadline: OCTOBER 23, 2017

This study abroad program to Kenya and Tanzania is centered on sustainable development: Sustainable development in developing countries (including most of Africa) provides a global context and a very different and vital perspective for students in more affluent societies.  This study abroad opportunity will provide all majors a framework for understanding sustainable development (including health, human rights, agriculture, water resources, and wildlife management) in East Africa that is also applicable to other regions of the world.  The experience includes scientific, social, political and economic viewpoints with a strong emphasis on service learning.  Students will also learn basic Swahili as part of the course in order to better communicate during their time in Kenya and Tanzania. This study abroad is open to all students and has no prerequisites.  

Academic Content

UW students who participate in this program will receive a total of 12 credits for Sustainable Development in East Africa (TESC 303). These 12 credits may also be used to fulfill NW or I&S requirements (to be arranged with your academic advisor). The study abroad is led by Dr. Jim Gawel (who served in the Peace Corps in Kenya) and Surtida Shelton, Associate Director of Student Engagement (who is a Tanzanian citizen), both from UW Tacoma.

Program content includes:

  • An intensive examination of sustainable development in Africa as it relates to wildlife management, water resources, agriculture, women’s rights, and health;
  • Basic instruction in Swahili language;
  • Service learning fundamentals and experiences in country;
  • Introduction to East African culture, history and politics.

Highlights Include:

  • Learning about wildlife management in Maasai Mara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro game parks;
  • Service learning experiences in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam;
  • Homestays in both rural Kenya and urban Tanzania.
  • Tour of colonial influence in spice trade in Zanzibar

Program Dates

At UW Tacoma: Fridays, January 5, 2018 - February 2, 2018
In Kenya and Tanzania: February 6, 2018 to March 9, 2018

Study Sites

Kenya and Tanzania:

  • Nairobi, Kibera and a rural village near Mt. Kenya, Kenya;
  • Maasai Mara National Park, Kenya;
  • Serengeti National Park, Tanzania;
  • Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania;
  • Dar es Salaam, Tanzania;
  • Zanzibar.


The geography of East Africa is often stunning and scenic. Shaped by global plate tectonic forces that have created the East African Rift, East Africa is the site of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, the two tallest peaks in Africa. It also includes the world's second largest freshwater lake, Lake Victoria, and the world's second deepest lake, Lake Tanganyika. Kenya's climate varies from tropical along the coast to temperate inland. The area receives a great deal of sunshine every month, and summer clothes are worn throughout the year. It is usually cool at night and early in the morning inland at higher elevation. Nairobi is at an elevation of 1,661 m, with average annual temperatures ranging from 56-77°F.

Climate varies greatly within Tanzania. In the highlands, temperatures approach 68 °F during the hot season. The hottest period extends between November and February. Dar es Salaam is at an elevation of 24 m, with average annual temperatures ranging from 73-90°F.


Students and faculty will stay in a variety of accommodations including:

  • Shared homestays (always 2 or more students/faculty per home) in a rural village near Mount Kenya and in urban Dar es Salaam;
  • Dorm-like rooms in the Green Belt Movement's compound in Karen, Kenya 
  • Safari camps in Maasai Mara and Serengeti National Parks;
  • Hotels in Ngorongoro Conservation Area and on Zanzibar;
  • All transportation is by private van in both countries.


This program is open to all students regardless of major or class standing and has no prerequisites. We value having students from diverse backgrounds who are eager to experience different cultures and ways of life, who are willing to interact with and learn from diverse peoples and who are eager to get the most out of a study abroad opportunity. This course will challenge you mentally and may at times be physically tiring, but will provide a life-changing experience if you are open to it.


Applications are due on October 23, 2017. Applicants will be notified of acceptance decisions July 15. Once accepted to the program, applicants will need to confirm their participation in the program. Click the "Apply Now" button below to begin. 

**Students are required to submit a letter of recommendation form as a part of their application. Letters of recommendation can be submitted by faculty, advisor, staff, or supervisor from UWT, another institution, or a place of employment. The director of your study abroad program CANNOT provide a letter of recommendation for you.  To learn more about how to ask for a letter of recommendaiton, click here.

Apply Now

Travel Documents and Insurance

A passport and visa are required for entry into Kenya. While single-entry visas are currently still available upon arrival at Kenyan airports, Kenya Immigration plans to end visas upon arrival at some point in the future. Therefore, all travelers are strongly encouraged to apply online through the e-visa process. Immigration has instituted a new visa policy whereby all visitors must obtain visas by using a new online system.

Visas for U.S. citizens traveling to Tanzania are mandatory. The U.S. Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens obtain visas before traveling to Tanzania, but visas are also available at ports of entry upon arrival. Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. Check this website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting. 

Study abroad insurance coverage is required. We recommend UW students take advantage of the UW Study Abroad Insurance, as an easy and affordable option. Students with personal insurance may petition for a UW Study Abroad Insurance waiver. For details, please contact the UW Tacoma Office of Global Affairs.

Travel Warning

Kenya is currently under a U.S. Department of State travel warning. The warning is for border areas to the north, and the itinerary for this study abroad program completely avoids those regions.

Program Cost

The total cost of the program is $7,550 (includes $250 administrative fee).

Included in the cost of the program:

  • Living accommodations and all regular meals;
  • All scheduled excursions during the program (including park entrance fees);
  • Roundtrip airfare from Seattle, ground transportation in Kenya and Tanzania, and ferry to Zanzibar;
  • Tips for drivers and guides.

Not included in the cost of the program:

  • Required books for class;
  • Meals while in transit to and from the US;
  • Study Abroad Insurance;
  • Immunizations or medications;
  • Visa fees for Kenya and Tanzania $220;
  • Reciprocity Fee $160 (U.S. Passports and International Travel Website);
  • Items of personal nature such as phone calls, souvenirs, and laundry service.

Payment schedule

Administrative Fee $250 Upon acceptance to program 
Program Fee $7,300 Jan 20, 2018 (by 5:00PM)
Total $7,550  

*Additional important dates can be found in the section Refund conditions for fees
**Approximate cost, may be less, final cost will be established by the application deadline.

Methods of payment:

The Administrative Fee of $250 is due upon acceptance to the program. This payment can be made online, in person, or by mail.

To make the payment online, click this button to proceed with your visa or mastercard.

Pay Administrative Fee

Method of payment: Payments made in person or by mail will need to be paid by personal check, cashier's check, or money order made payable to University of Washington Tacoma (UWT). Please write "Kenya Tanzania Winter 2018" in the memo line of the check.  Please submit the check to the University of Washington Tacoma Cashier's Office (CAR 400) during regular business hours. Please do not submit your check to the Office of Global Affairs. You can also mail it to:

UW Tacoma Cashier's Office
Campus Box 358433
1900 Commerce Street
Tacoma, WA 98402

For questions about the payment schedule or the methods of payment available, please email or call 253.692.4426.

The program fee will be charged automatically to your UWT student account upon registration and can be paid online through your MyUW account. Please note: students do not register themselves for this program. The Office of Global Affairs will register you once the Administrative Fee and all appropriate program documents have been received.


To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by the Office of Global Affairs/UW Study Abroad as well as your program-specific orientations, offered by your program directors. Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Students receiving financial aid which they intend to apply toward the program cost should consult with a financial aid adviser before applying to the program. Some sources of funding, i.e. the GI Bill, do not cover the cost of study abroad programs. Check with a financial aid advisor to understand how your funds apply toward study abroad. Please bring the Kenya/Tanzania Winter 2018 student financial aid budget form with you to your meeting.

Please also review this list of scholarships: these are opportunities that can help fund your study abroad experience. Please note that many of them have deadlines before your study abroad application is due. For help with the application process, please contact

Refund conditions for fees

If you withdraw prior to September 15, 2017, all payments except the $250 Administrative Fee, will be refunded to you.

If you withdraw on or after September 15, 2017, but prior to November 15, 2017, you are obligated to pay 50% of the total cost of the program.

If you withdraw on or after November 15, 2017, you are obligated to pay the full cost of the program. No refunds will be given for unused accommodations, meals or other fees and services.

If you cannot participate in a study abroad program due to unanticipated changes in your financial situation, a medical emergency, death, military duty, or other unusual or extenuating circumstances, you may submit a Petition for Emergency Withdrawal. If granted, the Emergency Withdrawal may allow for partial or full relief from your financial obligations to the program. More information.

Once you confirm your participation in the program a Notice of Withdrawal from the program MUST be made in writing and received by the Office of Global Affairs in one of three ways: in-person in GWP 1-2, emailed to, or by mail to the following address:

Office of Global Affairs
University of Washington Tacoma
1900 Commerce Street
Tacoma, WA 98402

Changes in costs or scope of the program

In the event of significant devaluations of the dollar, some adjustments to program activities may be necessary. If there are any political events that might compromise the safety of the participants, a rescheduling or cancellation of the program may be necessary. If such changes occur, students will be notified of the changes and options will be presented.

Program cancellation

If viable enrollment is not reached by November 15, 2017, the program will be cancelled. Participants will be notified and the Administrative Fee will be refunded.

Equal opportunity and disability accommodations

The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran in accordance with University policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations. The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process contact Disability Support Services at least six weeks in advance of the study abroad program application deadline.

Health requirements

Students will have to show proof of yellow fever vaccine before entry into Tanzania. For more information, please visit this U.S. Embassy in Tanzania webpage. The CDC also recommends: "Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot." Please consult your personal physician or local health board.