UB students expanded their knowledge of Tanzanian culture and history—gaining new insights into the ethical, social and environmental challenges.
As an undergraduate biological sciences major, Lyndsey Cifra was part of a group of students that traveled to the Mara Region of Tanzania for a life-changing study-abroad course. Then, as an alumna, she headed back in summer 2018 to contribute even more to UB partners and future UB students.
Through studying about and interacting with local villagers, community leaders and educators, UB students expanded their knowledge of Tanzanian culture and history—gaining new insights into the ethical, social and environmental challenges.
Mara Huber, associate dean of undergraduate research and experiential learning, started Buffalo Tanzania Education Project (BTEP) in 2009 for one reason: to improve opportunities for women and families in the Mara Region.
Flash forward to today, and BTEP has evolved into UB’s Tanzania course—an official study-abroad offering. Each year, students and faculty advisers unite for a two-week experience along Tanzania’s Lake Victoria on the edge of Serengeti National Park. Huber and her colleagues started bringing students to the country in 2011 because they felt that direct interaction with people, places and ideas would provide a powerful avenue for growth.
And Cifra backs that up. “Going to Tanzania was transformative in so many ways,” she said. “Through my experiences and ongoing reflections, I realized how important community is in shaping our choices and behaviors.”
Bak USA, a social enterprise that built mobile computers in Buffalo, N.Y., donated 25 new computers to the group. The Atlas 10, Bak USA’s 2-in-1 laptop built specifically for use in education, will be used to explore and engage high-tech learning opportunities in Tanzania.
“Understanding the intersections between health, communities and education is so important for improving the lives of people all over the world. This is something I want to dedicate my career to and I’m excited to have the opportunity to make a difference.”