Farnese studied in Tanzania on the Arusha, Tanzania: Biology of Eco-Health Program during the Summer of 2015.
If you could give only one reason, why would you suggest other students study abroad?
It’s an opportunity of a lifetime to explore and learn from a different culture .
If you could go abroad again, what would you do differently?
I would definitely live in the moment more and not be so scared to make mistakes while trying to speak the language.
What specific factors influenced your decision to go abroad?
Typically, when students go on study abroad programs, they tend to go to European countries. I knew I wanted to try something different and because I am African as well, I wanted to learn more the ways other countries differed from where I was born.
What concerns/fears did you have about studying abroad, and how did you overcome them?
i was worried about not being able to connect with the community and only be seen as a visitor. However, I was able to immerse myself by interacting with the locals, asking questions, and not being afraid to try new things.
What was it about your program specifically that fit your personal goals over other programs?
My goal in the future is to work for a non-profit that is geared towards increasing community development. This program allowed me to see hand-on how local community based organizations work to combat Eco-health problems (ie. wildlife-human conflict) affecting Tanzania.
How have you used the skills you learned abroad now that you are back; either in job searching, or in other activities?
The skills I’ve used continues to guide my education and keeps being the drive for my passion in global health.
What experiences did you have while studying abroad that you feel you could not have had if you had stayed at Penn State?
I was able to step outside my comfort zone and see that not everyone lives in the same conditions as I do. However, one thing I took away from this is while some of the people I saw lived in poor conditions, they were the happiest people I have witnessed. Thus, I really learned to be more humble and appreciate what I have a little bit more.
What advice would you give to outbound study abroad students to help them make the most out of their study abroad experiences?
I would tell students to not be afraid to try something new and to make new friends. It is important to be open-minded as well because that breaks many barriers between you and a local.
Share an experience where you interacted with someone in your host culture in a way that taught you something.
I loved my trip in Tanzania because I got to interact with many influential people in our program. Each of them taught me that you need to believe in yourself and your dreams. They taught me that anything is possible as long as you remember to never give up on yourself.