Ready to Go to Tanzania
There is no such thing as taking too little, although it's hard for us to convince students that this is true. Just ask someone who has studied abroad before, and you'll probably be advised to leave as much as you can at home.
What to Pack
"Pack everything you might need, then take half of it out," was one student's advice. It will be there when you get back. Let practicality be your guide for packing. Keep in mind that overseas it's perfectly acceptable to wear the same outfit a few times in one week.
If you plan carefully so that all articles of clothing mix and match, you can create plenty of different outfits from a minimum number of items. Also remember that the weather can vary quite a bit throughout the day and from town to town. Choose clothes that are good for layering.
The leave-half-behind rule
You are going to have to carry whatever you pack by yourself, so leave behind half of what you think you need. In most cases, you will be limited to two pieces of checked luggage and one carry-on bag on the flight (check with your airline for size and weight restrictions), and even that is more than you can comfortably carry. Large, hard-sided suitcases are tough to carry and even more difficult to store.
- USE DUFFEL BAGS with wheels or a good, internal frame BACKPACK. Closet space will not be as generous as what you are used to, so even if you can get it there, you won't necessarily know where to put it. No one has ever complained about taking too little luggage.
- We'll say this in a more serious way. Neither Arcadia University nor our group flight carrier can guarantee the immediate transport of more than two pieces of stowed luggage and a carry-on piece.
- Students should be prepared to move their luggage through airports, on and off busses during orientation, and up several flights of stairs to their rooms.
- Student rooms are normally equipped with only a foot and a half of hanging space and two, three-foot bureau drawers or the equivalent shelf space, and emptied luggage is usually stored under beds. Keep this in mind when you're packing.
Arusha (located in northernTanzania) has varying weather conditions. It can be quite hot, so it is important to wear a lot of sunscreen. During the months of October, November and December it is typically very dry and hot. During the months of March, April and May is the wet season and it will be warm, but it can get much cooler in the evenings. When going out at night, make sure you have applied bug repellent to keep mosquitoes and insects away.
Practical and sturdy clothes are what you need for your stay in Tanzania. Students dress casually: jeans, t-shirts (not the torn variety), comfortable shoes. Keep in mind that you will be doing a lot of walking in Arusha - you'll want to keep your feet happy. Here's a basic list of things to take:
- A raincoat with a warm lining (detachable is best) or waterproof Patagonia or Gore-tex jacket.
- Bring a lighter weight jacket, windbreaker, raincoat.
- Jeans, Khakis and/or lightweight trousers -- bring at least two pairs.
- Two or three pairs of comfortable walking shoes. Sturdy, lace-up shoes are a good choice for fieldtrips. A couple of pairs of casual shoes for skirts and trousers.
- One or two dressier outfits.
- A couple of cotton sweaters.
- A warm wool sweater and/or fleece. Have this handy for orientation even if you are arriving in summer.
- Cotton t-shirts, long and short sleeve for layering.
- Bathing suit.
- Underwear and socks.
- Sweatpants and sweatshirt or other casual outfit.
- If you bring accessories, such as belts and jewelry, make sure to leave the good stuff at home!
- Sun screen & bug spray.
- A hat & sunglasses. The sun gets hot!!
Returning students also say:
- Wear comfy clothes on the plane!
- Take whatever you feel most comfortable wearing.
- Wear layers to keep warm.
- You will notice that most Tanzanians dress conservatively. Tank tops, shorts and short skirts are generally frowned upon and may attract unwanted attention. Layering clothing is good for traveling and a variable climate, but opt for t-shirts instead of tank tops. Similarly, longer skirts and capri pants are better options thank short skirts and shorts.
- Choose things which are easy to keep clean and can be washed by hand or in a washing machine and hung dry. Dry cleaning tends to be much more expensive than in the US, if it is even available.
Hairdryers and other electrical appliances
If you can help it, don't bring electrical appliances from home. The electrical current in Tanzania is 220 volts at 50 Hz (cycles per second). In the US, it is 110 volts at 60Hz. You will not only need an adapter plug for your appliance, you will also need either a transformer (with the adapter plug), or a dual voltage appliance which can be switched from 110 to 220 volts. (The difference in the number of cycles means that appliances with motors may not work as well in Tanzania as they do in the US.) Most returning students agreed that converters were a hassle and said it was best to buy a hairdryer overseas.
The overwhelming advice is to switch to chemical disinfectants and extended wear lenses, and bring solution from home. Some students report running out several weeks before the end of the program, so you should bring more than you think you'll need. Bring a spare pair of lenses. Also, take along a pair of glasses for emergencies. And don't forget sunglasses!
Disinfecting units are a problem for contact lenses
Because of the difference in voltage, the timer may not shut off automatically. Besides, electrical outlets are hard to find when you're on the road traveling. However, if you can't stand chemicals, try the dual voltage (120/240) unit from Cooper Vision.
If you play an instrument, you might want to think about taking it along. However, large instruments, such as guitars, may count as one piece of luggage on the flight. Your instrument should be properly insured and safeguarded.
Most students say leave it at home. Be prepared for the possibility of an excess luggage charge as well.
Ipod or Mp3 Player and Other Electronic Devices
You may want to bring an iPod or other similar device to listen to music while you are abroad. If you choose to do so, refer to the information in the "Hairdryers and other electrical appliances" section above, and make sure that your device is insured.
A Backpack and Book Bag
You'll need a small bag for books and you may want a larger backpack with frame for weekend and vacation trips. Backpacks with internal frames seem to be more popular. Remember, larger backpacks will count as one piece of luggage on the flight (you're allowed two pieces); they're too large to carry on.
Don't invest in a brand new set of luggage for the trip. A sturdy suitcase or duffel bag and one backpack will do. Duffel bags are practical and easy to store as long as they're a reasonable size. If your duffel bag is bigger than you are, it's too big. Whatever luggage you do choose, be sure to put your name and overseas address on a luggage tag on the outside and on a piece of paper in an inside pocket.
A camera will help you to capture your overseas experience. One word of caution, though, cameras disappear. If you have an expensive camera, have it insured. Also, remember to write down what you take pictures of, or you'll be faced with 20 sets of prints of unidentified monuments, cities and sunsets.
You can get just about everything you will need in Tanzania, but bring sun screen and buy spray, and enough toiletries for the first few days. Some students do complain about not having the same selections available in Tanzania, so if you have particular brands you prefer you will want to bring them with you.
If you take a prescription medication, make sure you have enough to last your entire stay abroad. Don't assume that you can get the same medication abroad. Also, a prescription from home will NOT be filled in Tanzania, so you'd need a new one from a Tanzanian doctor. Always keep medication in its original container.
Pack the small, battery-operated, travel kind.
Photos from Home
Bring along your favorite photos of your family and friends. You can decorate your room with them.
Academic papers, fax and phone numbers, e-mail addresses
Pack a copy of your college's undergraduate catalog and any papers you were given with instructions about credit transfer. Also remember to pack the course descriptions you received for your program and anything else you received from us. You'll need to refer to these materials overseas. Your study abroad advisor's/home school's fax and phone numbers, as well as the e-mail address, will prove to be helpful too, especially if you have to contact your advisor for course approval.
Security and Insurance
The Arcadia University College of Global Studies supports the guidelines described in "Responsible Study Abroad: Health and Safety Guidelines" for program sponsors, participants and parents by the Interorganizational Task Force on Safety and Responsibility in Study Abroad. (complete text of these guidelines).
A little common sense goes a long way Do not bring any valuables which promote theft and cannot be easily replaced. Put identification labels inside each of your bags (not just on the outside). Leave a list of your travelers check numbers with your family.
We also recommend that you leave a photocopy of the data page of your passport (passport number, the date and place of issue) at home and keep a copy with your belongings in case it is lost or stolen.
To insure your baggage and personal effects inexpensively, investigate adding a rider to your family's homeowners' policy. Arcadia University does not insure your possessions against loss or theft, but you can and should. Some other valuable tips to protect yourself include:
- Leave irreplaceable items of high monetary or sentimental value at home.
- Do not carry a lot of cash.
- Use safes in hotels and hostels.
- When you are traveling wear a neckpouch with your money and passport in it inside your coat or clothing.
- Pickpockets and petty thieves sometimes target tourists and other unsuspecting newcomers. Be very careful to protect your belongings, especially during the your first few days in the country.
Shipping and Storing Personal Effects Overseas
If you pack carefully, you'll manage on the airline baggage allowance (2 checked pieces and 1 carry-on). Please remember, we cannot store anything for you. Customs declarations must be made on all packages sent overseas. To avoid duty charges on your belongings, be sure that everything has been used and mark the declaration Used: (item names), Property of Addressee.
Whatever you do, do not send a trunk. Even if you can find a freight forwarder to ship it and clear it through customs, it will be difficult to handle once you get it, a problem to store and even more troublesome and expensive to send back home.