On June 27, Matthew Simpson left for Tanzania, Africa, for four weeks to participate in a study abroad course offered through his master’s degree program at Northern Illinois University. The course will focus on the role of the Non-governmental Organization (NGO) in social and economic development.
Simpson has wanted to study abroad since his undergrad years, and he was determined to go overseas when he returned to school full time last year. “I shared this goal with the director of my master’s degree program, and he told me about the amazing Tanzanian study abroad program,” Simpson said. “I found that the course that is offered is a great supplement to my class work and my professional experience.”
Not only is Simpson excited to learn about development strategies and experience the social and economic challenges in Tanzania, but he is also looking forward to being immersed in the culture – seeing and interacting with the people, tasting the food, hearing the music and learning about customs and traditions. Since Tanzania is still developing, there will be struggles with staying connected to the outside world. “I’m just so used to having my phone and being connected all the time, but on some levels I think it will be refreshing to unplug,” Matt shared. “That will be the hardest thing to adjust to.”
Matt has done a lot to prepare for his overseas travel. He has done research and reading to become familiar with the region. Through his research, he has gained a better understanding of the country’s sociopolitical climate and the types of work other non-governmental organizations do in Africa.
“There is a quote from a Senegalese writer Aime Cesaire that I constantly tell myself: ‘The Man of culture must constantly ask himself the question, ‘What sort of world are you building for you people?’ I’d like to consider myself a man of culture,” said Simpson. “My hope is to learn as much as I can in Tanzania and leverage the knowledge and experience to have a positive impact back home.” He hopes to share what he learns about administration and development wherever possible and contribute to improvement efforts in any way that he can.
Soul News Network wishes Matt a safe and rewarding experience in Tanzania and we are looking forward to sharing any updates we receive while he is abroad. Congratulations Matt!