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Studies > Tanzania > Salaam > University of Dar es Salaam > Reviews 
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University of Dar es Salaam (USES)

21 reviews
4.18 / 5 based on 21 reviews
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Useful  |  1
greg8
Syracuse University, Syracuse, United States
International Relations, Undergraduate, Independent
Academic
Course recommendations
Be very careful in choosing your courses in the beginning of the first half of the year. The university is currently in the process of switching from a trimester to a semesterization system. However, when I was studying there, only a few of the academic departments had made the switch, while the majority were continuing to operate by way of the old, trimester system. This is extremely important for students studying at the university for the entire year, because one's course selections during the first half directly affect what one is eligible to take for the second half of the year. I do not recommend taking courses in the Political Science department for future foreign students. Why? - The classes are large; the course material is often very basic and monotonous; the teachers, for the most part, are not concerned for the welfare of their students - they often show up late to class and end early, discourage student contribution by way of putting down student comments; often conduct classes by way of simply reading off of a piece of paper for the entire class period; and sometimes do not even show up to class at all, without any prior notice. Furthermore, if one decides to select courses in the political science field during the first half of the year, he or she may have trouble selecting couses in other departments for the second half of the year, as the political science department at the university last year had made the switch to the semester system, but the majority of other academic departments had not. Thus, the majority of courses at the university ran throughout the year, meaning if one was not participating in a year-long course during the first half of the academic year, he or she would be ineligible to join the course during the second half of the year. This was the case for entire academic departments through which courses were offered. Accordingly, in my experience, I was confined to taking all political science classes for the entire year, as I had blindly chosen all political science courses for the first half, with the exception of Swahili. The truly unfortunate aspect of my experience was simply that this important information was not given to me by the foreign student affairs department at the university. - It was something that I had to figure out by myself, the hard way. I do know, however, that students that had participated in courses in the literature, Swahili, sociology, history, and visual and performing arts departments had really positive exoeriences. I highly recommend learning Swahili throughout your time at the university. The faculty in the Swahili department at the university is extremely kind and portrays a great passion for teaching. Most importantly, having knowledge of the Swahili language will enhance your experience abroad in Tanzania in every way imaginable.
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My academic experiences
Quality of courses
Variety of courses
Access to resources
Interaction with teachers
Interaction with international students
Interaction with local students
Personal comments
I would encourage a greater emphasis on extra-curricular activities related to course material on campus. - And also, making more activities available to the student body. I would also recommend the use of more examples and case studies regarding what is taught in the courses by the instructors. Also, the courses on campus are taught in English, which I believe interferes with the full learning potential of the students. It was my observation that many of the students did not have a firm grasp on the English language, making what was being taught to them even more difficult to comprehend. However, I cannot truly say where I stand on this issue.
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My opinion of the university assessment
Exams at end of course
Exams throughout the course
Essays and/or projects at the end of course
Essays and/or projects throughout the course
Overall
Useful  |  2
greg8
Syracuse University, Syracuse, United States
International Relations, Undergraduate, Independent
Expenses
Main source of funding:
Family
Other sources of funding:
none
Work opportunities:
I didn't explore any work options
Personal spending habits
I spent more money in Tanzania than I would normally back home because I would always have to assume all financial responsibilites for my friends whenever we were involved in any activities which required spending money. My Tanzanian friends simply did not have any money to spare. I accepted this because that was the reality. Although, food in general was quite cheap, going out to restaurants or nightclubs with friends could get expensive in a hurry. Tanzania is extremely impovershed, with a huge gap between the desperately poor majority and the rich minority.
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Overall, Nightlife:
was more expensive than at home.
Travel:
was the same price as at home.
Food, Housing, Telephone:
was less expensive than at home.
Accessibility of student needs
Second-hand text books
Second-hand household items
Computers / Internet
Administrative
Money from home
Personal comments
Only one office in the entire city of Dar-es-Salaam sells American Express traveler's checks - it is called Rickshaw Travel (across from the former Sheraton hotel). Cashing traveler's checks is not a problem, you can do it almost anywhere in the city. I highly recommend having a Visa credit card. There are a handful of ATM machines in the city, but only one accepted Master Card, whereas all accepted Visa. I would also recommend bringing traveler's checks with you when you come to Tanzania, because getting money can be quite tiresome and stressful often times. There does exist Western Union and Money Gram wiring services in the city. I also know of some students who had opened bank acounts in Dar, but I'm not sure if it's really worth the effort. My primary cost-saving tip is to get comfortable with bargaining. Typically there are no set prices for commodities, particularly food items. - Knock about 50% off the original price, then gradually increase what you will be willing to pay. Knowing some basic words and phrases in Swahili will greatly help you. The prices of products sold in stores, on the other hand, are generarlly fixed.
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Useful  |  4
greg8
Syracuse University, Syracuse, United States
International Relations, Undergraduate, Independent
Overall
I wish I had known...
I think some prior knowledge of Swahili would have helped me.
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In my opinion:
Most people loved it.
Important factors in my choice
(1) Unimportant – (4) Very important
Academic reasons
4
Culture
4
Costs
1
Activities
4
Campus life
2
Party / people
2
Weather / location
4
Personal recommendation
Be open to dialogue with other students, both foreign and Tanzanian. Always travel with a friend whenever leaving the campus. Be patient with the pace and scheduling of courses - they can be quite slow, unorganized, and ill-structured. Try not to be intimidated in any situation. - I know it will be difficult at times, but you deserve to be there just as much as anyone else - don't forget that. Also, be careful. People, including other students will try to take advantage of you in one way or another. Be strong and direct. Do not let yourself be bullied or pushed around. And make rational, sound decisions in whatever you do. - It's very easy to get yourself into trouble. It's better to take the time to think things out and be safe, than to make the wrong decisions and wish you haden't. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy. It will surely be an invaluable learning experience - just being in Tanzania!
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During my experience abroad, I ...
(1) Never – (4) A lot
Became familiar with another culture
4
Traveled
4
Improved language skills
4
Met people from other countries
4
Became more independent
4
Partied a lot
4
Experienced a change in life
4
Advanced my studies & career
4
Final comments
Be strong. Be patient. And maintain a good sense of humor about different things. You will certainly encounter a lot. Try to take as much into perspective as is possible, but do not risk your own safety. You are a foreigner in a very foreign country, and people are able to visually recognize you as such. Adaption to your new envoronment takes time. But in the end, I know that your experience will be very rewarding. Tanzania is a very beautiful country with equally beautiful people. It is up to you to share with others your thoughts and experiences abroad. You are a link between two foreign worlds. Thus, you are a valuable resource of information. Many are not as fortunate as you have been to visit such a wonderful place, so always keep that in consideration.
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Useful  |  3
greg8
Syracuse University, Syracuse, United States
International Relations, Undergraduate, Independent
Languages
Language of instruction: English
Local language was: Different than language of instruction
Was learning English a key decision factor?
No, it wasn't.
Was learning the local language a key decision factor?
Yes, I wanted to improve my the local language
How much did you improve your the local language?
My level before: Did not speak it
My level after: At ease in most situations
Language difficulties
Social
Educational
Administrative / Institutional
Overall
Personal comments
I came to Tanzania not having ever heard even a single word of Swahili in my life. Though there are similarities among the two, Swahili is quite different from English - right down to the sounds one makes in speaking the language, to the expressions one uses while speaking. Learning the language was a slow and frustrating process. However, with time, the vocabulary became more and more familiar. I would have to say that the most difficult aspect of the language, as with all languages, I suppose, was grammer. But even the grammer side of the language began to sink into memory with time. Time and patience was essential though. I felt that the greatest instructional tool for me was simply being immersed in the culture, and just hearing people speaking Swahili to me and around me. Practice in speaking was also very important. People are more than willing to help and correct you with your Swahili. - But you need to try to speak it in order to really understand it. I would not exactly call myself an expert in speaking and writing in Swahili, but I have had the fortune of spending a year in Tanzania, and I understand a lot more Swahili now compared to one year ago.
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Useful  |  0
Challenging, Enlightening
Goodluck M
Tanzania, Graduate
Business Studies
Overall
The University program made it possible for me to go to work in the morning and attend my classes three times in a week, evening classes. 

I learn a great deal as most of the course content was covering global and local business environment.
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Pros
Part-time option
Cons
Heavy curriculum
Useful  |  1
greg8
Syracuse University, Syracuse, United States
International Relations, Undergraduate, Independent
Student life
Describe host city:
Students interact with the local community without much university involvement
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Activities, Travel, Nightlife: Takes place mostly outside the university/student environment
Personal social experience
Activities
Nightlife
Travel
Overall
Personal comments
There are many amazing beaches just outside of the city center of Dar-es-Salaam. There are a few fun nightclubs, such as Bilicanas or California Dreamers, but the price of entrance fees and beverages can get expensive, especially if you take out your Tanzanian friends. Many local bars off of campus, though one should not go without a friend for safety reasons. There are three cafes/bars on campus, but they can get monotonous pretty fast, so one will probably want to go to the city center for nightlife. There are many wonderful restaurants both in and on the outskirts of the city, with foods from all over the world. - Many to choose from. There are not many extra-curricular activities on campus, but there are many opportunities for volunteer activities outside of the university. Such opportunities may range from working with primary school students to HIV/AIDS work to gender networking activities.
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