Continuity and Change in Tanzania, South Africa & Zimbabwe​




Make an impact—spend a semester studying and working in communities in Tanzania, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. View map

This semester-long study abroad program provides Sarah Lawrence students with the unique opportunity to study psychology, history, and public policy while getting hands-on experience with community organizations based in three locations in Southern and Eastern Africa.


Sarah Lawrence College and Pitzer work together in a multi-country (Tanzania, South Africa, and Zimbabwe) comparative studies program that exposes students to important issues, cultures, and people of this region. Students will focus on Human Development, learning how to understand, implement, and evaluate effective community-based work in each location.

The program is based in Botswana with extended study trips to Tanzania (two weeks), South Africa (four weeks) and Zimbabwe (four weeks). Students live with host families, participate in community service projects, study local cultures, and work with local scholars and experts in each country. Participants experience first-hand the concept and life of Ubuntu, the notion that defines the communal nature of the cultural values of the South African, Botswanan and Zimbabwean peoples.

It embraces the notion in their greetings that proclaims, “I am well if you are well,”and “my destiny is intricately intertwined with yours.” Additionally, the program provides students with an opportunity to learn about the multiple ways governments, NGOs and local communities in the region choose to approach issues that are common across borders, such as the colonial legacy, development, race, power, human rights and reconciliation, big game conservation, ecology and tourism, health care, education, and poverty.


Core Course: Socio-political Change and Community Development in Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe
This course provides students with a broad overview of Botswana, including its history, politics, culture, religion and important current issues, within which students are asked to place and analyze their personal experience. Through extended study trips to Tanzania, South Africa and Zimbabwe students also receive comparative and regional perspective on these topics.

In each location, students engage in family stays, engage in community service projects, participate in a series of lectures given by university faculty and specialists from governmental and non-governmental organizations, and take study trips to areas of historical, cultural and environmental importance.

Students complete a series of writing assignments to integrate readings and lectures with the more experiential components of family stays, internships, and study trips, to explore issues from the host culture perspective and to deepen their cross cultural learning.

In order to gain first-hand experience with issues explored in the core course, students will spend several afternoons a week working with a local or international organization in all four countries. A variety of opportunities are available, including, but not limited to, work in a hospital or clinical setting, teaching in a government school, participating in an organization that advocates for human rights, or working in wildlife conservation.

Intensive Language Study in Kiswahili and Setswana
While English is widely spoken by many people in the region, the program realizes the importance of learning the local language as a way to honor the host community, to connect more deeply with locals, and to open windows into the host culture. Students will have an opportunity to develop a basic level of communicative proficiency in Kiswahili, while in Tanzania, and in Setswana, which is spoken throughout Botswana and in nearby parts of South Africa. The language courses emphasizes proficiency in speaking and listening through a highly communicative, interactive language curriculum that is closely connected to the rural family stay experience in Botswana and to other field activities.

Independent Study Project
These projects are guided by university scholars, local specialists, or program staff. They may be a research project, an apprenticeship, an internship with a school, governmental departments or non-governmental organization.


Academic Calendar

Week 1:
Orientation in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Weeks 1 – 3:
Mwanza, Tanzania: Community Development and Kiswahili Instruction

Weeks 4 – 6:
Manyana, Botswana: Village Homestay and Intensive Setswana Language

Week 7:
Study trip to Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, Vic Falls

Weeks 8 – 11:
Soweto, South Africa: Homestays, University Lectures, Community Service

Weeks 12 – 13:
Harare, Zimbabwe: Urban Homestay and University Lectures

Weeks 14 – 15:
Motopos, Zimbabwe: Rural Village Stay and Community Service

Weeks 16 – 19:
Independent Study Projects (ISPs) conducted in Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe or South Africa

Week 20:
Final Seminar, ISP presentations, Farewell Dinner Departure from Botswana

Living and Travelling in the Region

Family Stays

The heart of the program is the opportunity to participate in the life of a host family in each country. Host families serve as important co-educators on the program, not only for language and culture learning, but also as a way to allow students to explore ideas and issues that are presented in lectures and readings. Students will have a four-week rural family stay in Manyana, Botswana, a two-week urban home stay in Harare, and a three week homestay in Soweto, South Africa.

Study Trips

To understand local and regional issues, students participate in a number of study trips while in each country. 

Study trips in Tanzania include:

  • Visiting Mt. Kilimanjaro
  • Exploring the rock art and cave paintings in the Mwanza area
  • Visiting the Serengeti National Park

Study trips in Botswana include:

  • Examining the progress made in HIV-AIDS prevention and treatment through the Baylor Clinic
  • Reflecting on issues of social justice at Ditshwanelo Center for Human Rights
  • Learning about local and traditional governance from the Chief of Manyana
  • Studying big game conservation and tourism in the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park

Study trips in South Africa usually include:

  • Exploring Pretoria and Johannesburg
  • Meetings with residents of Soweto
  • The Apartheid Museum
  • The Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park
  • Attending a rugby or soccer match
  • Visiting Krueger National Park and/or Madikwe Game Reserve

Study trips in Zimbabwe usually include:

  • Victoria Falls
  • The Great Zimbabwe Monument  
  • Hwange National Park


The Sarah Lawrence College program in Southern Africa is open to Sarah Lawrence students only.

Applications & Deadlines

Completed application and don recommendation are due:

  • February 1 (for fall applicants)
  • October 1 (for spring applicants)

Tuition & Fees

Students are charged the cost of Sarah Lawrence tuition each semester. An estimation of all other fees will be provided once available.

Financial Aid

Sarah Lawrence College students who normally receive financial aid may apply their awards to any College-sponsored program abroad.

For more information about Sarah Lawrence financial aid options, e-mail the Office of International Programs.