The below was submitted by our Global Ambassador, Maggie, in Tanzania. Maggie has been in Tanzania since June 9th and this post was written before she left about her hopes and desires for the program.
Hey All, My name is Maggie Rodney. I’m nineteen years old and I’m about to be a Junior at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. I was born and raised in Danbury, Connecticut, but currently, when I’m not in school, I live in Boulder, Colorado.
Now, on to the interesting stuff – my trip abroad! On Saturday, June 9th, I’m headed off to Tanzania for a thirty day wildlife conservation program with the School for Field Studies.
This particular program sparked my interest for several reasons. First, I’ve always had a deep love of animals, especially large mammals, and through this program, I will be given the opportunity to see so many amazing creatures that most people will never see in their lives, except through the bars at a zoo. I want to explore and develop interest in this area and, hopefully, discover if this area of study may hold any future for me, especially as I have developed an interest in international law and conservation is starting to be a major part of that. Second, I have never really experienced a culture that felt completely unfamiliar to me, and I knew I wanted my next sojourn abroad to expose me to an entirely variant culture that breaks almost entirely from the norms of the Western one in which I was raised. As I plan to spend a fair amount of time outside of the United States after I graduate from college, I hope that this trip will give me a first look into what I can expect from future travels.
I’ve spent many long hours trying to think of a gift I would bring to the people of Tanzania that I felt adequately represented me and where I am from. I have finally come to the conclusion that a singular, physical gift just isn’t adequate for me. Rather, I would bring a portfolio of many of the photos that I’ve amassed throughout my four years as a photographer – black and white prints of my high school campus and some of the many sights of New York City, some smaller 4x7s from my time studying in Australia and experiencing, for the first time, a society other than my own, and some photos from the last few years of my life at college and of the Rocky Mountains, where I currently reside. I feel that, in this way, I would be able to give a gift of mutual learning between myself and the people who I encounter, where I am able to experience their world, and I – for a brief moment – can give them a window into mine.
Updates from Africa to come soon!
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