F&M Stories

Off-Campus Study: Phoebe Walsh '16

We poked our sleepy heads out the top of our Toyota Land Cruiser as we drove down the muddy roads at 6:30 on a sunny morning. The Serengeti was waking up with us. Young antelope play fought in a clearing, and hippo prints from the night before dotted our path. Most noticeably, hundreds of birds were going crazy in the misty morning light. Our task on that game drive was to identify and record as many bird species as possible out of the five hundred in the park. What we saw was truly incredible. My study abroad experience with the School for Field Studies in Tanzania brought my textbooks to life. One day in class we would learn about animal behavior, and the next day we would spend an entire afternoon researching and recording elephants. We studied problems with illegal hunting from a Powerpoint, and the following class gave us the opportunity to interview local poachers.

For three months a group of 41 American students and I studied wildlife conservation at a research center in Karatu, Tanzania. For the first two months we spent time in the classroom, in the field, and on two trips to Tarangire National Park and Serengeti National Park. For the last month I researched the Maasai, a local tribe in Tanzania, about their oral literature on wildlife. Franklin & Marshall does an excellent job with hands-on learning, but for me it was never quite like this. As an Environmental Studies major, interacting with problems on that immediate and personal level brought more meaning to my past learning and continues to influence my life going forward. Working on urgent environmental problems in another country where solutions weren't always obvious or expected continues to influence how I view American and global issues. I will always value my study abroad experience for making me a stronger learner and global citizen and for fueling my passion for ongoing exploration.


OCS Profile

Phoebe Walsh '16

School for Field Studies - Wildlife Management Studies

Kilimanjaro Base Camp, Kenya

Term Abroad: Fall 2014

New College House

Major: Environmental Studies

Minor: Anthropology

Campus Affiliations: Off-Campus Study Ambassador, Environmental Action Alliance, Ultimate Frisbee, Kappa Delta sorority

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