Make The Connection

Travel-Learning Course, ‘Biology of East Africa’

December 17, 2014 – by Katie Nunner '15

OWU students observed lions in the wild as the students explored the Serengeti as part of a Travel-Learning Course. (Photo courtesy of Margaux Erilane ’15)

Learn how OWU’s Course Connections, Travel-Learning Courses, Theory-to-Practice Grants, and other programs prepare students for global citizenship and leadership and help them…Make the Connection.

Ohio Wesleyan students visited Tanzania with professor John Gatz as part of a Travel-Learning Course that examined the ‘Biology of East Africa.’ Their trip included a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti. (Photo courtesy of Margaux Erilane ’15)

Margaux Erilane ’15

Name: Margaux Erilane ’15
Majors: Zoology and Psychology
Hometown: Manhattan Beach, California
Experience: Travel-Learning Course, ‘Biology of East Africa’

Lessons Learned:

“As I expected from a course in African biology, I learned a lot about the various species and how they interact with one another in the ecosystems we studied. While I gained a comfortable understanding of the material during the lecture portion of the course, I was surprised at how much more the information solidified with me during the travel aspect.

“For example, we covered over 80 species of bird in class, and I was useless at identifying any of them apart from an ostrich, but by the close of the trip I knew majority of those 80 species. …

“Tanzania stole my heart when we took our hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti. We were an exceptionally lucky group on an exceptionally amazing trip, each day more perfect than the last.

OWU students observed elephants in the wild as the students explored the Serengeti as part of a Travel-Learning Course. (Photo courtesy of Margaux Erilane ’15)

“What I didn’t expect from a course in African biology was how much I would fall in love with the Tanzanian culture. We had the opportunity to go on a walking tour through a village called Mto Wa Mbu. There, we saw over 100 different tribes living together peacefully with no conflicts at all.

“It’s the sort of place you want to live, where the philosophy is just to be kind to one another and help out when you can. Every person we met – man, woman, child – was gracious and open to our group, even though we were outsiders. That way of living is what keeps the world turning.

“I’ve always believed that in order to truly become a citizen of the world, you have to fully immerse yourself in other cultures and take something away. I would be crazy not to take many things away from Tanzania.

“The Tanzanian people are so joyous, and Swahili is one the happiest languages I’ve ever heard. They love and respect the land they’ve been blessed with and they take life one day at a time.

“The world could learn a lot from Tanzania; I did.”

OWU students observed lions in the wild as the students explored the Serengeti as part of a Travel-Learning Course. (Photo courtesy of Margaux Erilane ’15)