Robby Thompson

Robby Thompson has written 9 posts for Study Abroad with UNA

One Final Note

Traveling is not easy. Snaffoos and snags such as airlines losing luggage, missed flights, and severe jet lag are all very real downsides of traveling (and we experienced them all). However, the desire and determination to overcome these temporary ailments gets you through and delivers you safely home to relay endless stories and gift wonderful souvenirs– equipped with an incredible and unrivaled experience. I could compose a generic and uninteresting post about the conclusion of our UNA Tanzania study abroad and make an obvious connection to the end of our African adventure to a sunset picture of Zanzibar. BUT, that … // Read more

Tan (Zan) ia

For the last three days, our group has transitioned from the urban setting of Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar– the island counterpart of mainland Tanzania. In the 1960s when then Tanganyika gained independence from the U.K., the island of Zanzibar began experiencing some internal fighting and eventually joined with Tanganyika to become Tanzania (luckily for us, since no comprehension study of the country of Tanzania would be complete without a stop at its island counterpart, we are enjoying the spoils of this island in the Indian Ocean). Zanzibar has a fascinating history as we have discovered through 2 detailed guided tours. … // Read more

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

You quickly realize that studying abroad is so much more than simply a vacation for school credit. I’ll be the first person to agree that any opportunity to travel is lucrative and exciting, but to study abroad means that you are constantly challenged intellectually and noting observations without hesitation throughout your travels; the purpose of studying abroad is not to relax but to insert yourself into an unfamiliar environment and observe. I have participated in three of these programs, and each one has had a defining moment. I think that today’s experiences will culminate in one of those enduring memories … // Read more

The Legend of Hambati

He stands at little over 5 feet tall, but his smile and laughter make him the tallest man in any room. At 44 years old, he has the perfect combination of youthful exuberance and overflowing fountain of knowledge. He captivates a room with stories so masterfully communicated and knee-slapping hilarious. He yells to hippopotamuses and lions on safaris saying, “HEY MAHNNN! WAKE UP! We pay too much money to watch you sleep, hippo!” or “HEY SIMBA! Roll ova, mahn! You are lazy, lion!” He jumps in to sing and dance with Masai (nomadic, cattle herding group in Kenya and Tanzania) … // Read more

The Road to Arusha

After our brief stay in Dar es Salaam, we packed our bags for Arusha– the third largest city in Tanzania and in the northern part of the country near Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti (which extends into Kenya). After another nice “working peoples” breakfast, we rolled out in our bus driven by an Arushan native, Mr. Charles, who has transported our group skillfully so far throughout our trip. Driving is a wildly exciting and equally terrifying endeavor. The roads are usually unmarked and overpopulated with cars, motorcycles, buses (known as dala dalas because they cost a “dollar”), three-wheeled vehicles (known as tuk tuks) … // Read more

Exploring the City Centre

Jambo! Wednesday 14 May was an adventurous day for our group. It began as usual with our breakfast– a “working class” breakfast of 3 pieces of white bread with butter and mixed fruit jam and an egg. We were also served instant Africo coffee with hot milk, which is generally reserved for the higher classes who can afford such luxury. Post breakfast, we traveled back to the University of Dar es Salaam to pick up our guide for the city (Dr. Humbati of the U. of D.S. Geography Department). Dr. Humbati offered a brief lecture that explained the urbanization of … // Read more

Africa, y’all

AFRICA! From Florence to Huntsville to Philadelphia to Doha to Dar es Salaam, we finally arrived at our destination– both extraordinarily weary and uncontrollably excited, we forced our legs to move outside of the plane and into warm, humid tropical air. We left Florence around 12 noon on Saturday and stepped off the plane in Dar es Salaam around 3 pm Monday. Needless to say, our group was exhausted physically and mentally after the extensive travels. The only objective for May 12 was to find our accommodations (The Uplands Centre near the University of Dar es Salaam). A choice of … // Read more

Philly to Qatar

Our group is about an hour away from boarding our flight from Philadelphia to Doha, Qatar. It’s about a 12 hour flight to the richest country per capita in the world (average income is more than $100,000 a person!) Some folks in our group decided to stay up all of last night and through the flight in hopes of conquering the jet lag; others (like myself) couldn’t keep our eyes open on even the short flight from Huntsville to Atlanta. Regardless of what sleeping pattern each group member chose, we will all be exhausted upon landing in Qatar.

Jam Packed

You know that feeling– that feeling of “I forgot to pack something…I just don’t know what it is yet” ? I’ve been extremely lucky to have studied abroad twice before this trip, and I have noticed how international traveling changes one’s opinion on the value of items– you are thrust into “survival mode,” and OH how quickly I have seen people (myself included) abandon the connection to streaming digital communication, begin to observe the new environment, and start acclimating to new social and cultural norms. You become a refined and simpler version of yourself. To attempt to consolidate your entire … // Read more