Stretch yourself in all directions in Tanzania
Live as a local and volunteer in the heart of Africa, surrounded by beautiful safari parks and friendly people. Get immersed in the busy and cheery little town of Arusha with snow-capped Mount Meru on your doorstep and Kili, the highest free-standing mountain in the world, just an hour's drive away! Throw yourself into Tanzanian life and live with at least one other volunteer in basic village accommodation, close to the heart of the community (and school if you have chosen to teach). Being at the centre of the action means you'll soon be embraced as a member of the community.
Get together with other volunteers at the weekends, enjoying the fantastic social life of Arusha or heading further afield. We recommend our very popular safari to grab the best chance to see the 'big five'. Why not also take on a trek to Mount Meru, or even Kili, or visit the paradise island of Zanzibar for a relaxing snorkelling and dolphin-spotting opportunity surrounded by white sandy beaches and great friends. We feel it is the chance to really make a positive impact that makes this project so popular with gappers and career breakers alike.
What will I do in Tanzania?
The great thing about Arusha is the variety of projects that Oyster can offer and we don’t just tie you down to the one project. If you want to teach at a school and get involved in a childcare program for a few afternoons a week that is absolutely fine by us! We don't charge you for each project you want to get involved in. One price covers everything, although we would encourage you to stick to a maximum of two projects just so that you don't spread yourself too thin.
Most teaching in the schools is finished by early afternoon, leaving you free to volunteer on other programs, mark books or get involved in after-school clubs.
Here’s a selection of some of our projects:
- Teaching: Many Primary village schools are crying out for volunteers; they may not have much, but the children are happy, full of energy and keen not only to learn English but to benefit from other skills you may have, such as sport, music, singing or drama. Volunteers have been welcomed since 2000, including our own Operations Manager, Jon, who spent 5 months on the program in 2004.
- Orphanages: Two orphanages have welcomed our volunteers as care workers since the year 2004: they provide a permanent, loving home for unwanted or orphaned children.
- Healthcare: Gain valuable experience volunteering in a local village hospital on the outskirts of Arusha. This is a rewarding and fascinating experience for medical or healthcare students and even people that are already qualified and want to share their knowledge.
If you are considering a career in medicine or nursing, you will know that getting hands on experience in the UK is extremely difficult to come by. In Tanzania, those with an interest in medicine are welcomed as an important addition to the hospital staff.
On a day to day basis you will shadow Doctors and Nurses and get involved in changing dressings, caring for patients, analysing test results and X-rays and even sitting in on child birth!
One of the highlights for recent volunteers is the hands on experience in minor theatre procedures - taking casts off, passing doctors instruments and helping to support patients whilst bones were set.
With a month or more of hands-on medical experience under your belt, your CV will certainly look good when it comes to starting your medical training or looking for a job in medicine.
This project is also a great way to get a completely different experience with regards to how healthcare works in Tanzania compared to the NHS. Returned volunteers have said this has been particularly useful when contributing to seminar discussions as they can give examples from a completely different system.
- Journalism: Volunteers can get stuck in as a junior journalist on a local Arusha newspaper - something that is increasingly difficult in Europe and gives you an amazing insight in African life.
- Sports coaching: Introduce kids to the thrills of football, rugby, hockey, athletics, frisbee and cricket to name a few. Work with local schools and organise extra-curricular sessions.
In Tanzania there are no PE lessons on the timetable in school and it really falls to the volunteers to bring their own skills and interests and set up after-school clubs.
When Jon was a volunteer teacher he coached football a couple of times a week. The interest from the children was unbelievable and he often found himself trying to referee games that had 20+ children on each side... great fun though!
Most of our volunteers combine sports coaching with a teaching or orphanage program although we can arrange for you to move around schools coaching sports throughout the day and setting up tournaments between schools.
Read our blog for more information.
You will spend your first few days in Tanzania taking part in our orientation course. This is designed to let you get over your jet lag, learn some Swahili and also for us to remind you about some of the important safety issues covered in our UK Briefing.
You will stay in a rather nice Lodge on the outskirts of Arusha. Your meals will be provided (you pay for your own drinks) and you can relax in the lush green surroundings of the complex. There is a pool table and also a swimming pool.
During the course, Tracey (our representative), will provide you with a local SIM card, give you a tour of Arusha, take you to visit the projects we will be using for your group and also arrange for you to go on a day hike to the Oldonyo Sapuk waterfall, located on the slopes of Mt Meru.
Your day’s hike is designed as an introduction to Tanzania and gives you the opportunity to get to know your fellow volunteers. It will take around 7 hours but is not designed to be too physically demanding! From the lower slopes of Meru, you will walk through local villages where the residents grow local crops, such as coffee, banana, maize and vegetables. The local tribe is Waarusha who are related to the Massai. You will visit a local boma (house) and learn about the culture and traditions of this tribe as well as a local school. Along the way you will get the opportunity to chat with the local people and interact with the children.
You walk along the Temi River, towards the waterfall. When you reach the waterfalls you will have the opportunity to swim (bring you swimming stuff & a towel!) in the cool water and also have lunch while viewing the breathtaking waterfall.
You will pass through different areas – forest, cultivated land and water and see some amazing views along the way.
At the end of the orientation we will take you to your village and make sure you can settle in before getting started on your project.
Tracey will meet you on arrival, sort your paperwork and take you to your accommodation (usually in or near the school or home). She also runs the orientation course.
Tracey became the Oyster representative in Tanzania in the summer of 2011. Having taken a career break to Tanzania as part of our January 2009 group, Tracey decided that Tanzania was the place for her and now calls Arusha her home. Tracey lives with her partner, Frank, and they have a son, Joshua.
Having experienced life as an Oyster volunteer first hand, Tracey is well placed to offer help and support to our volunteers throughout their stay in Arusha. She is very friendly and approachable and is looking forward to sharing her knowledge and experience with you!
Enjoy living on site or at least very near to your community project. You have to adapt to traditional and basic accommodation but this is all part of the experience. At weekends you can always treat yourself to a little luxury, staying in a touristy hostel in Arusha.
Food and transport is very affordable with £20 a week easily covering this and a few local 'Kili' beers!
Cost and what is provided
The cost for 3 months is £2225, excluding flights. We encourage volunteers to stay for longer and charge £400 for each additional month. Shorter trips of 1 month + are also possible. Contact us for a quote.
What is Provided?
- Phone or face-to-face interview and informal briefing
- Pre-departure briefing course covering medical, safety and placement advice
- Help and advice from our UK office before departure and whilst in Tanzania
- Advice on obtaining a visa
- Oyster polo-shirt
- Finding you a suitable work placement in Tanzania
- Accommodation for the duration of your placement
- (Optional) flight with flexible return date (modest fee levied by airline for date changes). Please add £800 to the above price if you want us to organise your flights.
- Oysters local representative who will meet and welcome you on arrival
- Induction course in-country to orientate you and brief you on local matters
- Basic Swahili training
- Tanzanian SIM card
- Mosquito net
- Day trip to local water falls during the orientation
- Transportation to your school from the airport
- Assistance and support from our representative during your placement
- Oyster is able to offer volunteers an optional 4 day luxury safari for around £500. This is a fraction of the cost of booking from the UK
- Excludes food (approx. £2 per day)
- Free access to InterHealth's Travel Health Advice Service
- Free myTsafe secure document storage account - worth £39!
What do I need?
- A passport valid for the duration of your stay
- A Volunteer Visa for Tanzania, which at the time of printing costs US$250 (around £190) for up to 3 months. This can be extended for another £190 for the following 3 months if applicable. We help you obtain this.
- Insurance (covering your placement time and any planned independent travel)
- Cost of changing your return flight date if you need to (approx £100)
- Independent travel costs and return to the airport
- Food and living costs (about £20 per week)
- Any home country travel costs (to airport and interview if face-to-face)
And one more thing...
If you can get to Zanzibar, don't miss the slave memorial and Old Slave Lodge in Stone Town, in commemoration of the brutal trade in humans.