Tanzania | Community Service

Classroom Construction, Swahili, & Safari

Immerse yourself in village life in Tanzania as you join local people to volunteer on several community-initiated projects. During your student travel program in Tanzania, collaborate on small-scale construction projects and teach English and math to local school children. On your final week abroad, venture out on a specially designed safari that combines world-class wildlife viewing in Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park with a stay in a remote Maasai village.

  • June 26, 2018  –  July 28, 2018
  • July 13, 2018  –  August 4, 2018
At A Glance:
  • Adventure
    Outdoor exploration, hiking, biking, swimming, and other active pursuits
  • Service
    Focus on community-based projects in collaboration with a partner village
  • Wildlife
    Exploration of flora and fauna in natural habitats, national parks, or wildlife reserves
Completing grades 9 – 12
US Gateway City:
New York
Community Service
  • 33 days (June 26 – July 28)
  • 23 days (July 13 – August 4)
Typical Group:
15 – 17 students, 2 leaders
  • $7,290 + airfare (June 26 - July 28)
  • $6,290 + airfare (July 13 - August 4)



  • Help build a village classroom that accommodates 50 students
  • Teach English to Tanzanian students and volunteer at a local orphanage
  • Explore the 10-mile-wide Ngorongoro Crater big game park
  • Stay on safari in a Maasai village and spot lions, zebras, and elephants

Leader Profile: SAMUEL JACKSON

Education: Western Washington University, Fairhaven School of Interdisciplinary Studies, B.A., Environmental Anthropology

While at Western, Sam studied the relationship between climate change and natural resource conflict. After graduating, he parlayed his education into jobs in environmental education… read more

While at Western, Sam studied the relationship between climate change and natural resource conflict. After graduating, he parlayed his education into jobs in environmental education and forest restoration around the Puget Sound in Washington State. A passion for art and storytelling gradually invaded Sam’s stable life of building hiking trails and leading volunteer work parties, and he began developing a science fiction graphic novel set in East Africa. This led Sam in 2014 to spend seven months volunteering as an English teacher at Les Enfants de Dieu (EDD), a school for street children in Kigali, Rwanda. While at EDD, Sam was proud to collaborate with one of his students, illustrating a short story about a Rwandan superhero. Sam’s travels through Africa have taken him to the top of a 12,000-foot active volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo and on a cross-continental road trip from Zanzibar to Cape Town. Currently, Sam is working as a freelance illustrator in New Orleans, Louisiana, and selling his comics to raise money for EDD. He is conversant in French. This fall, Sam will be working on the second chapter of his graphic novel and submitting applications to graduate programs in arts administration. Sam has led Community Service Tanzania.  


Departure • Travel Day • Meet your fellow students and one or more of your leaders in New York, and fly together to Arusha, Tanzania, by way of Amsterdam. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Host Village • Varies • Collaborate with local people and undertake several meaningful community service projects in our host village on the lower slope of Mt. Meru, near the safari center of Arusha. Rise early and spend most of each day in small groups on the project sites. You may build a classroom or simple housing for school teachers, teach math or English to local children, improve the village water supply system, volunteer in an orphanage, or work on local farms planting, harvesting, and selling crops at the market. Late afternoons are devoted to group activities with our Tanzanian friends: play soccer, go for a hike, take Swahili lessons, attend a workshop to learn batik or beading, or work on your independent project. The 33-day program spends three weeks in the host village and the 23-day program spends two weeks.

Students see elephants and other African animals on our community service program in Tanzania

Weekend Excursions • Varies • Visit nearby markets and farms, hike to waterfalls in the forests that surround Mt. Meru, and stay at a community-based eco-lodge in the hills near Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Safari • Varies • Head out on a safari organized by close friends of Putney, who introduce us to Tanzania’s fascinating tribal culture, wildlife, and history. Stay on traditional hunting lands as guests of the Maasai tribe, complete with a reception by a village elder and a feast held in our group’s honor. With professional safari guides and our Maasai hosts, explore the Oldonyo Sambu Wilderness Area on foot and learn how pastoralists interact with the land. In the world-renowned Tarangire National Park, view Tanzania’s iconic big game animals up close from the safety of your safari vehicle. Continue to Ngorongoro Crater and explore the 10-mile-wide caldera with expert guides. Drive through grassland, swamps, and along lakes and rivers, and safely encounter lions, zebras, cheetahs, rhinos, elephants, monkeys, flamingos, wildebeest, jackals, and hyenas. The 33-day program has a six-day safari and the 23-day program has a five-day safari.

Village Farewell • 2 days • Reunite with your new Tanzanian friends in a farewell celebration in the host village. The 23-day program has a farewell celebration before safari.

Return • Travel Day • Fly from Arusha, Tanzania, to New York, by way of Amsterdam, with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

I expected that he would step out of his comfort zone and be open to an amazing view of a different way of life, climate and country.  My expectations were definitely met.

— Eileen Kitinoja, Brattleboro, VT

A Day in the Life: HOST VILLAGE

Due to the dynamic nature of this student program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in the community service village.

7 AM Eat breakfast together as a group
8 AM  Work on service projects — build a classroom or volunteer at an orphanage
12 PM Break for a long lunch and rest time during the hottest portion of the day
2 PM Continue with your service work
4 PM  Prepare dinner, play soccer, hike to a waterfall, or work on independent projects
6 PM Enjoy dinner together as a group
8 PM Group meeting to discuss the day and the upcoming schedule

Students work on a community service project with local children on our community service program in Tanzania

What to Expect

Community Service This summer program in Tanzania is designed to provide the opportunity to learn about another culture by forming meaningful relationships with local people and undertaking a shared community service experience together. You should come to the summer with an open mind, eager to participate in new experiences and interested in exploring another culture and way of life. During your travel in Tanzania, you can expect to participate in several different service experiences — construction projects where you may learn to mix cement, lay bricks, or paint a community building, environmental projects such as planting seedlings or shadowing local farmers, and educational projects such as teaching English to local children. All students participate in each of the group’s projects on a rotating basis, and everyone lends a hand in meal preparation and cleanup. Students enrolled in the 33-day program can expect to complete 80 – 100 hours of community service work, and students enrolled in the 23-day program will complete between 60 – 80 hours of service work. To learn more about our Community Service summer abroad programs, click here.

Independent Project • Pursue an independent project and explore an aspect of local culture of particular interest to you — investigate the function of the local political structure, the role of music and dance in Tanzanian culture, how ujamaa, or villagization, shapes community interdependence, the role of women as the primary agricultural producers, tourism and the economy, or wildlife management. Present your independent project around the campfire on safari.

Physical Activity • This is a physically active summer program. Working on community service projects, playing with local children, exploring our host community on foot, going on a hike, playing a pick-up game of frisbee or soccer, or preparing our group’s meals are all activities in which you might participate during this program. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.

Accommodations • In the host village in Tanzania we sleep in sleeping bags on bunk beds in a private village house. Bathrooms are outhouses and we use basins for bathing in private outdoor stalls. During the safari portion of the program, we stay in tents provided by our local outfitter. Leaders reside together with the students throughout the program.

Meals • Meals are eaten in our home with a group of wonderful local women, known as the “Mamas,” who help us shop for groceries and prepare meals. Students rotate through cooking crews responsible for preparing breakfast and lunch for the group and assisting the Mamas with dinner. Meals include a mixture of local and Western dishes. While on the safari, we prepare our meals in camp with our safari guides.

My leaders were amazing. They were funny, relaxed, knowledgeable, caring, open-minded—I couldn’t have asked for better leaders.

— Phoebe B., Lexington High School, Lexington, MA

Ask Us

Call Emmett at 802.387.5000 or email emmett@goputney.com

The Community Service Tanzania summer program is directed by Emmett Peterson. If you have questions, are interested in receiving more detailed information, or would like to talk further about the program or any of our summer student travel programs, please get in touch!

Emmett Peterson

Bates College, B.S., Chemistry

During college, Emmett studied abroad in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, where he studied culture, environment, and development in East Africa. Based in Jinja, Uganda, he worked for a whitewater kayaking organization on the White Nile while researching the environmental and socioeconomic ramifications of hydroelectric dams under construction downriver. Before joining Putney, Emmett guided whitewater canoe trips across northeastern Canada for several years, leading unsupported expeditions as far as Hudson Bay. He has led our Community Service Tanzania program and now directs programs in Tanzania, India, and New England. A Vermont native, Emmett loves hiking, fishing, whitewater kayaking and canoeing, telemark skiing, and baking.