Not sure what program is right for you? Click Here

© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Study Abroad in

Back to Program Back to Blog Home


Basket Weaving

The Hehe ethnic group in Iringa is famous for its woven baskets. Women use dry reeds to weave beautiful baskets that are used as containers for everything imaginable. Some baskets are woven so tightly that they are used to drink the locally brewed beer.

Our students spent an afternoon in the heartland of the Hehe people, the village of Kalenga, where they learned how to weave these distinctive baskets.







Orientation in Dar es Salaam

Here are some pictures of our Fall 2014 orientation in Dar.

Paulo teaching Survival Swahili on the beach:


Our diligent students:


Eating lunch:


Sunrise on the last morning before the drive to Iringa:



Long time....

Let's get this blog going again!!!

Starting with the ineffable Paulo, our tireless program coordinator.



Change is in the air ... AGAIN!

Greetings one and all....

Some wise people like to say that the only thing constant is change.  That certainly seems to be the case here at CIEE Tanzania.  In the five short years since we began out here, we've gone through a number of programmatic and staffing changes, all of which have strengthened our program and made us better at what we do!  And our newest staffing changes are no exception.

We are excited to announce that Mr Paulo Kateme has stepped up from his role as our language and cultural trainer to Program Coordinator (aka: the RD's right hand man).  Paulo has been with us for over two years as our multi-level language trainer and cultural expert and he is well into his first semester as Program Coordinator where he consistently proves that he truly is THE MAN! We love Paulo!

IMG_3017Mwalimu, Paulo

I am also excited to announce that I (Jenifa) will be stepping down as CIEE TZ's Resident Director as I embark on new and exciting adventures.  It has been an awesome ride working with so many incredible students, and making connections that will last a life time.  I am grateful for all of the work we have done together and am so proud of this new program that we created.  I plan to continue stalking this program from a distance to keep a close eye on how our new RD takes it to new heights!  

And so, without further ado .... Let us introduce our new Resident Director Justin Beckham (not to be confused with the OTHER Beckham).

Justin is based here in Iringa where he lives with his wife, Sarah and son Juma.  He has been living and working in Tanzania for the past 15 years, the past three in Iringa as a project manager and field coordinator for a Johns Hopkins University research study on the drivers of HIV/AIDs rates in the region. Justin hails from California but was himself a study abroad student in Zanzibar in 1999, and led a group of fellow undergraduates back to Tanzania in 2001. Thus began his study of Swahili, local histories, and his love for the country, leading to a BA in History and African Studies, followed by advanced degrees in history at Yale University and extensive research on the 1964 Zanzibar revolution on Pemba Island. Fluent in Swahili and now conversant in the local Iringa language of Hehe, he's passionate about language and cultural preservation as tools in development.

Justin’s recent work has taken him to every corner of the Iringa Region, and put him in contact with teachers and students at the University of Iringa as well as the dedicated staff at Foxes' NGO, CIEE’s host institution. All his varied work and travel experiences have well prepared Justin for Iringa's Resident Director position. He is excited to share Iringa's wonders, challenges, and opportunities with CIEE students.

JustinJumaJustin and his son, Juma

It is difficult to let go of my baby, but I can't imagine two more qualified leaders to take the helm.

Congratulations Paulo, and welcome Justin!


We've gone viral!


Excursions Excursions Excursions!

Since we've changed our program - so too have our excursions changed.  As our orientation is now one full week in Dar - we have a number of associated excursions on that end; in addition to the ones we have throughout the rest of the semester.  Here's what we got for ya...

Orientation Excursions

Mbudya Island is an uninhabited island in Tanzania, north of the country's (economic) capital city, Dar es Salaam and is one of the four islands of the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve. The island is reachable by means of a 20 minute motorboat ride from the mainland. 

1229885_10151889583764252_1783024673_nBoat Ride to the Island


379333_10200591079799277_1619785581_nSwahili lesson on the Island

IMG_0384Post-Swahili lunch 

1240650_10151889554444252_1394950672_nPost-lunch kucheza time!

Dar es Salaam City Tour: This day trip includes tours of local craft markets, city center, the bustling fish market, the National Museum, and a visit to the Makumbusho Village Museum.

IMG_0141National Museum



1506048_10152968035601686_130896645_nFish Market



62374_10152968025671686_1857950798_nMakumbusho Village Museum

Cooking with Bibi: “Bibi” is Swahili for ‘grandmother.’ Each semester during orientation students are welcomed into Bibi’s home where she and her extended family teach students how to make a traditional Swahili meal.  We spend the day cooking with Bibi before sitting together for a family meal.




P1110980Chai time

P1070190The bounty

Bagamoyo: During orientation, students take an overnight trip to the historic coastal city of Bagamoyo.  The town was founded at the end of the 18th century and was the original capital of German colonized East Africa, was one of the most important trading ports along the East African coast (spices, ivory, and slaves), and is home to the first Catholic church of German Colonized East Africa. 

Bagamoyo's history has been influenced by Indian and Arab traders, by the German colonial government and by Christian missionaries. The cities ruins and recorded history trace back to the 13th century, and the port city is most well known as being the final destination for the slave trade caravan who were forced onto ships at Bagamoyo’s coast.  The name “Bagamoyo” means to leave one’s heart – which is a reference to those Africans who were forced to leave their hearts here as they boarded cargo ships. 

Picture4Kaole Ruins                                                      First Catholic Church of German Colonized EAfrica

AndrielleThe site where African "rebels" were hanged by German Colonizers

OldfortOld Fort


CoastBagamoyo Coast


Program Excursions


Kalenga Village

Iringa was built during the 1890s by the German Army as a defensive base to be used against the Hehe uprising led by Chief Mkwawa. The fortress and headquarters of Chief Mkwawa was situated in the nearby village of Kalenga.  The Germans managed to attack the Hehe fortress at Kalenga in October 1894 and Chief Mkwawa successfully escaped and engaged in the German forces in guerrilla warfare for a number of years before he committed suicide.

In 1898, after nine years of harassing the Germans in a series of guerrilla skirmishes, Mkwawa was cornered by the German troops, and on realizing that he was about to be arrested, he committed suicide rather than being caught by the colonial German troops. As the German troops advanced, they found him dead and cut off his head which was sent to Germany, and repatriated back to the then Tanganyikan territory in 1954 during British colonialism. Mkwawa’s skull now forms one of the main exhibits in the Mkwawa Memorial Museum at nearby Kalenga village.

Picture5Mwalimu Paulo with Chief Mkwawa's skull

Isimila Stone Age Site: Is the oldest historical Stone Age tool site in Isimila village Iringa region Tanzania. The site located about 20 km from Iringa town along Iringa Mbeya road where tools stone artifacts and bones found in a dry bed that was once a shallow lake.

The stone tools used by ancient people during the early Stone Age period about 300,000 years ago , was discovered in 1951 with other fossil bones including those of related to the modern giraffe. Isimila stone age site preserves important evidence of early hominid activities dating back to over 60,000 ago; the nomadic hunters and collectors used the  shores of an ancient small lake as the place for hunting, though today the lake no longer exist.

The isimila museum presents the ethnographic historical and archeological material from southern highlands of Tanzania purposely to highlight people’s ingenuity as manifested by material culture showing the technological continuity and innovations.

Isimila central valley consists of a deep canyon characterized by imposing pinnacles and erosion towers creating an environment of extraordinary charm.

IMG_0885Isimila Stone Pillars



Picture7wandering along the riverbed

Ruaha National Park: Is the largest national park in Tanzania. It covers an area of about 13,000 square kilometres (5,000 sq mi). It is located in the middle of Tanzania about 130 kilometres (81 mi) from Iringa. The park is part of a more extensive ecosystem, which includes Rungwa Game Reserve, Usangu Game Reserve, and several other protected areas.

The name of the park is derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its south-eastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing. The park can be reached by car via Iringa and there is an airstrip at Msembe, park headquarters.



Matema Beach / Lake Ngozi: Matema is a town in southwestern Tanzania which is primarily a fishing village with some agriculture. It is located on the northern tip of Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and is 90 kilometres (straight line distance) south-east of Mbeya

Matema Beach is a beautiful beach on the coast of Lake Nyasa located about 45 km from Kyela town.  This is where German missionaries established a hospital in the late nineteenth century that is still running today. Nearby attractions are the Nakyala ritual cave, Mwalalo falls, and the Lyulilo pottery market. 

Lake Ngozi is the second largest crater lake in Africa. The shimmering green waters of the Ngozi Crater Lake are backed by sloping emerald forests and lush vegetation. Natural waterfalls tumble from the crater rim and into deep and dark plunge pools beneath. Visitors can also trek across the nearby, naturally formed Kiwira Bridge, known locally as the Bridge of God. The air is scented with the sweet taste of wild bananas and the drifting dense leaves of the Rungwe Tea plantations close by.

MatemaMatema Beach

NgoziNgozi Crater Lake


CIEE Iringa is open for business!

Greetings all from the NEW CIEE Tanzania study center in the awesome town of Iringa, where the rainy season is giving us quite the sky show these days!

20140121_171332 - Copy


It’s been crazy times, closing out our program at the University of Dar es Salaam, and opening another on the other side of the country.  Well, the dust is still settling and we’re waiting for our bookshelves to arrive but … we are here, and we are in business!

BUT.. before we got started out here in Iringa, our new students arrived in Dar es Salaam where they spent a week getting acquainted with the city and its importance as the economic capital of Tanzania, participating in interactive Swahili lessons and of course, cooking with our favorite Bibi:DSC_0016


DSC_0020After a week in Dar, we took everyone on a road trip out to Iringa to settle them into their dorms and get acquainted with their new roommates.  Moving in day was a bit wet ..20140202_151810 - CopyStudents have settled into their new homes and they are in their second week of studies: Managing Community Development Programs; Pre-history, Myths, Legends, and Beliefs of East Africa; Sustainable Rural Development; Contemporary Educational Issues in East Africa; Poverty Analysis for Socioeconomic Development, and Kiswahili…

20140213_103254 - CopyAll and all everything has gotten off to a smooth start here and we are so pleased with the welcome we have received from the University of Iringa, and how accommodating and forgiving of our initial stumbles they are! 

I’m also grateful to our students, who already feel comfortable making our study center their home…Renee



CIEE Tanzania – Extreme Makeover Edition

If you’ve been snooping around our website, you may have noticed that our Tanzania program is changing.  As Resident Director, and one of the masterminds behind our new program design – I can’t tell you how excited I am to introduce you to our new program.

First of all, why are we changing?  Over the semesters we've noticed that the Tanzania program attracts a certain caliber of student - those who want to make positive changes in the world. Our new program allows students to take on academic coursework and to get their hands and feet dirty in the name of service.

So, without further ado … here is an introductory snapshot of the new and improved CIEE Tanzania program!

Where are we going?

1Iringa is located in the Southern Highlands, about 500KM Southwest of Dar es Salaam, and is conveniently situation between two game parks (Mikumi and Ruaha).  It’s more of a small town than a big city, having a population of around 120,000 compared to Dar’s 4million!  The weather in Iringa is mild, and as an added bonus it is a beautiful region.


Where You'll Study3

Students will undertake seven weeks of intensive coursework at the University of Iringa; a small, private university located on the outskirts of Iringa Town.  All participants will be required to take Kiswahili, Field Research Seminar, and Managing Community Development Programs – plus an additional two elective courses.  Check out the full course selection here:

Applying Classroom Learning to the Project Area

The seven-week intensive academic component is designed to arm students with relevant theoretical frameworks which will continually be explored during your four-week rural stay.   During the mandatory rural stay component not only will academic study and intensive Kiswahili lessons continue – but students will work directly with a community-based NGO where you will critically examine topics surrounding current health, social welfare, community-based development, and program management issues in theory and practice.  

 Where is the Rural Stay?

 About a three to four hour drive from Iringa town (depending on the season) on some serious bush roads, you’ll find yourself winding through some pretty spectacular chai fields..


... eventually the project area comes into view …

What Sort of Projects Make up the Project Area?

Also known as, what kind of things might you find yourself working on??  Here are just a few of the initiatives going on …

One of my favorites is the sewing school, Threads of Hope.


Here, young ladies and gentlemen are funding their way through school, becoming skilled and innovative tailors, and gaining business sense.

Each student is assigned a sewing machine to use as their own while they go through the tailoring program; upon successful completion of the program each student is gifted that machine so they can start their own business. What a great idea!

Care and Treatment Center


The project area includes a clinic which designates two days a week to CTC day (care and treatment) for people living with HIV.  Students will assist in patient registration, recording the distribution of medicines, and going on home visits to check on community members who have a positive HIV status, but who may be too sick to make it to the clinic for treatment. 

Igoda Children's Village

A series of six houses broken down by age group, the Children’s Village is a safe haven for orphans and vulnerable children from 0-18 years.  The Children’s Village duplicates regular village life in which young residents take on the same day to day responsibilities of their peers in the village – instilling in them a sense of community and responsibility, making their eventual transition back into the outlying community as smooth as possible. 12a


As I mentioned above, this is not an extensive list of projects going on at the NGO – but just a few that you may find yourself involved with during your four weeks in the village. 

Where Will You Live while you're in the village???

The NGO takes on many many international students and volunteers across a variety of sectors and fields of study; and will be providing CIEE students with group housing – like this one….



We are very excited about our partnership with the University of Iringa and the Foxes' NGO. Please contact Iris Michaud with any programmatic questions:

For more information on Foxes NGO, check out their FB page:

And their Youtube page:





Interning for-credit

Students who study with CIEE in Tanzania have the option to enroll in our for-credit internship program.  Doing an internship for-credit means that students will be assigned to one of our partner organizations where they will complete at least 130 contact hours at their respective internship sites, and they will attend a supplemental research-based course (facilitated by the Resident Director).  As a requirement of this course, students will complete an original research paper that will be based on either their specific internship site, or the sector to which the student has been assigned (health, education, development, etc..)

As RD, I have been making a concerted effort to sniff out new and engaging internship sites for our students, and this semester I dare say we have the most stellar internship program to date.

Have a read below to see who our students are working with this Spring...

Muhimbili National Hospital; Children’s Cancer Ward (Tumaini La Maisha: Hope for Life)

Muhimbili National Hospital is one of two cancer treatment facilities in the entire country, and this is our second semester interning with Muhimbili’s “Tumaini La Maisha” project. The Irish-run,Tumaini La Maisha was established in 2011 and is the first and only NGO dedicated to improving the wellbeing of children with cancer in Tanzania by providing non-clinical services such as a school, a play therapy program, and a family support program.

Students who intern with this program often work with TLM's school program (tutoring long-term ward residents in math and English), as well as working with the younger children through play therapy. Our student who interned here in the Fall semester wrote an excellent paper on the case of Cancer in Tanzania.  This paper has been circulated to Tumaini's project managers, and to our Spring semester students who are interning with this project.

TUmainiTanzania Breast Cancer Foundation

This is CIEE’s first semester interning with the Breast Cancer Foundation.  We became linked with this organzation late last semester when one of our students who was interning with the Muhimbili project sought out the founder of the Breast Cancer Foundation to complete her required research paper for the for-credit internship class.  The Foundation is in desperate need of volunteers and we are very happy to be working with them this semester. This worked out particularly perfect this semester as the student who has been placed here expressed a specific interest in Breast Cancer.  He and the Founder are extremely happy to have connected with one another.


Ghomme Girls’ Secondary Boarding School

This is CIEE’s first semester interning with Ghomme Secondary; and this is a site that was discovered by an incoming student this semester. Sarah was put in touch with the founder of this school through a connection of hers back home. The school’s founder, Mr Malangalila has been working in Education through the World Bank for nearly 20 years. Malangalila started this school several years ago and is happy to have Sarah interning here. It is our goal to have Sarah implement an after school mentorship program in which older students work with their younger counterparts in an effort encourage the younger students to reach their full potential.


Wonder Workshop

This is our third semester interning with The Wonder Workshop (formerly Wonder Welders). The Wonder Workshop is a creative organization in Dar Es Salaam creating hip recycled art. It employs 42 Tanzanian men and women, the majority of whom live with a physical disability. Disabilities are common in Tanzania and many affected persons are forced to beg on the streets to survive; institutions and organizations which offer employment to people with disabilities are still very rare in Tanzania. These skilled artisans create a large variety of welded art (from safari animals to abstract art) using scrap metal, a wide range of stationaries made from sundried recycled paper, beautiful jewelry from recycled glass and bottles, soap and candles from natural oils, household items from used bottles as well as wooden toys from reclaimed and left over Tanzanian wood. The Wonder Workshop is very well known in Dar and throughout Tanzania.

CIEE students work with Wonder Workshop artisans to improve their English so that they can speak with the many guests who come through the workshop. There are numerous work stations and processes involved with creating these products, and many guests go on tours of the facilities to see how these items are made. It is the wish of the workshop employees to have the ability to explain their work to their visitors (some of whom are quite important!)



Veternary Primary School

 Veternary is an ongoing internship site, one which usually proves to be one of the more challenging sites we have – this is because of the commute involved with reaching this site.  Veternary is technically not that far from the campus, but when it comes to taking public transportation and fighting traffic, students find that they must start their trip very early.

Students who intern here either co-teach with a veteran teacher, or are assigned their own class to run.  This also proves to be an interesting site when it comes to the for-credit internship research project as Veternary is a living, breathing example of the overcrowding of Tanzania’s public school system.

 (pictured below)

  1. CIEE students get a tour of the primary school grounds. CIEE’s second semester student, Ife Madzimoyo joined us on this trip as she interned at Veternary last semester. This was a wonderful opportunity for her to come back and greet her former students.
  2. Poking our head into one of the classrooms, we are enthusiastically greeted by a group of excited children.

P1120078 - Copy

P1120080 - Copy


We're very excited this semester to see how these experiences shape up for our students, and for those whom we aim to serve.

Remember, if you are considering our program and you wish to do an internship for-credit, you must receive prior approval from your home university.  If you are unable to do the internship for-credit, I am happy to connect you to other volunteer and community engagement activities - afterall, I'm a dirty hippie at heart.


this post was brought to you by CIEE Tanzania's barefoot Resident Director, Jenny Venecek



"Mikono" is the Swahili word for 'hands' ... and this past weekend CIEE TZ students got their mikono dirty with our favorite Bibi (grandmother). Bibi is very large and ancient Kenyan-born woman living in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania with her extended family in a home that she clearly reigns over. Bibi's home is a glimpse of traditional communal living and a taste of village life in a big city.

Here bibi's mikono show us how to get milk from a coconut in order to make coconut riceMikonoBibi and her posse of robust women are kind enough to welcome CIEE students into her home each semester so that we can learn from them in both language and culture - and in the process we prepare a huge traditional Swahili feast together...and subsequently eat ourselves into a food coma.

...with Bibi's guidance, Lydia and Jin Bo learn how to roll out chapati...Picture1

everybody pitches in...











...and working side by side with Bibi's family, things get busy...P1120038

When students aren't lending an mkono, they are busy making a spectacle of themselves with the crowd of curious children... P1120037

P1110948 - Copy


Sarah gets amkia'd (greeted) by our favorite little one, Nasra...













...and of course, you can't be welcomed into someone's home without being offered chai ....P1110980

We remain humbly grateful to Bibi and her extended family each semester as they continue to show us true Tanzanian hospitality. This is always a favorite cultural activity for our students - and one in which students see first hand that while Tanzania may be patriarchal, it truly is the women who are the backbone of this society.

 Watching Bibi orchestrate this show from her chair, while her daughters work diligently under her command is a sight to behold; and one that time after time demands our respect. 

Asante sana Bibi, na asanteni sana wadada ... tunawashukuru kila mara tunapofika kwenu. Mbarikiwe mpaka tunaonana tena.


this post was brought to you by CIEE TZ's friendly Resident Directory, Jenny Venecek