Embarking on a WorldTeach volunteer experience takes a lot of courage, but it will be worth it when you complete your term of service. Matt, a WorldTeach Tanzania volunteer, reflects on his experience as a teacher in Tanzania and how just a little bit of courage helped him take the initial leap into this experience and how that paid off immensely.
From the moment I arrived into the beautiful, unique and dynamic culture of Tanzania, I knew that this year would forever change who I was and how I would see the world around me. Every new experience was a step into the unknown, exposing me to new challenges that would test my character and form my worldview. Whether it was the first time using public transportation, bargaining for food at the market, moving into my new home, getting to know my new colleagues, or entering the classroom for the first time, every new encounter was always accompanied by at least some amount of trepidation and fear. Yet by having the courage to face each fear I was able to open myself up to so many truly amazing and unforgettable moments that made my year in Tanzania so rewarding. From courageously facing each fear, I met many teachers, neighbors and students that I now call my close friends; I came to fully understand and appreciate an amazing culture so diverse and unique from my own; and I helped to make a positive and lasting impact in the lives of my students, at my schools and in my community.
As a WorldTeach volunteer knowing that there was always something more important than whatever fears I faced, I also learned what it genuinely means to devote yourself to serving a community in need and the rewards that come with that devotion and service. Teaching in Tanzania was easily one of the most challenging experiences of my life, but I leave knowing that gave everything I had to rise to that challenge for my students and my community with the hope that I have inspired them as much as they have inspired me. As I face the difficult task of leaving my schools, my students, my friends and my home in Tanzania, my hope is that I have given them the courage to face their own fears and live up to the potential for great things that I saw in each of the students that I had the honor to teach. My year as an English teacher in Tanzania required much dedication, hard work, and sacrifice, but knowing that I have made a positive impact in my community is enough reward for that commitment to last a lifetime.
Ending my year of service as a WorldTeach volunteer in Tanzania has been immensely difficult, especially as I reflect back upon all that I have personally and professionally achieved, say goodbye to the friends I’ve gained, appreciate the challenge and joy of teaching, and think about how I have changed as a person from when I arrived. Adapting to life in another culture and devoting myself to make a difference in a community in a developing country was filled with many moments of fear that I knew I had to find a way to overcome. Facing those fears and having the courage to persevere through them helped to make my time in Tanzania the most unforgettable and rewarding experience of my life. I leave Tanzania with a sense of excitement, sadness and pride, but also with a newfound sense of courage that I know will help me to conquer any fear and challenge that lies ahead of me when I return home.