by Work the World

We love to hear about what students do in their spare time when you are overseas; from tea drinking between shifts with the local staff in Nepal to attending loud and lively weddings in Ghana…This week we asked the students “What is the most interesting and positive encounter you’ve had with a local outside of your placement?”

Carol in Arusha reports that “Haggling with the locals in the Maasai market is a bit intimidating at first but great fun once you get into it.” Fiona agreed and said “it’s a good way of practicing Kiswahili too.” Louise has even made friends with some of the Maasai mama’s “Making friends with the ladies in the maasai market gets you a good bargain! They remember my name and call “Louisa” every time I go there.”

Victoria recommends asking lots of questions as you will come across some really fascinating people “The guide at Lake Duluti told us lots about Tanzanian life, Maasai traditions and the local area which was very informative and interesting” Rachel added “don’t forget Paradiso Orphanage. It was amazing to spend time with the children, see how much the orphanage does for them and how they’ve become a big family.” Volunteering at the orphanage is extremely popular with our students; make sure you collect lots of toys, pens and notepads for when you visit.

We also have a great relationship with Fonelisco Orphanage in Lake Victoria. Anna tells us that “A man called Joseph runs the orphanage which we plan to volunteer at regularly. He is such a happy and friendly man who is pleased to answer any questions about the kids and their home.”

Jasmine went to the Serengeti Fiesta last week and Shaggy was performing! “We met the Tanzanian band; THT and we were able to sit with them and watch the concert. They looked after us throughout the day and we all had amazing time!” More on the Serengeti Fiesta to come...

Kasimir met a local radiography student at Tilapia Hotel who he made friends with. “We regularly meet for lunch or a night out and he’s showed me a lot of places in Mwanza and explained to me a lot along the way. It is an invaluable experience for me as whenever we are out together I get treated differently. I do not really appear like a regular tourist which makes my stay here really interesting.”

The 29th June in Nepal marked the celebration of Ropain; the rice plantation festival. Locals and tourists join in with sowing the rice seeds, singing traditional songs, wrestling in the mud (!) and competing in tug-o-war. Our students in Pokhara found themselves embraced by the local farmers and getting involved in plenty of mud fights!

Student medic, Alexander actually won the mud race “I was given 3 San Miguel and some lunch vouchers. The Work the World group also managed to bag themselves a hamper full of treats through winning the tug-o-war.”

In Argentina; Rachelle our medic from Canada, says her favourite activity with the locals has been going for drinks in Arístides: a busy street where all the major bars and independent designers are. “It’s a great way to practise my Spanish in a non-intimidating environment.”

Maisie from Bristol, says the most interesting encounter was during a weekend tour to San Rafael; a Southern city in Mendoza. “We were impressed with how lively and friendly everyone on the bus was, they were all singing and passing mate around, including us in everything! Marta, a 50 year-old woman in particular was incredibly nice and told us everything about her exciting life in Mendoza. She kept shouting “suerte” at us as we were leaving the bus station. Thanks to that we learnt how to say “good luck” in Spanish!” she added “all of the locals I've met have been so welcoming and friendly!”

Students have also been attending many asados (BBQs) at their supervisors' houses. This means they get lots of Spanish practise while writing "thank you" cards!

So, some interesting characters across the globe... It can often be daunting landing in an unfamiliar country but go with an inquisitive and open mind and you may stumble across your very own Marta! Sticking with a similar theme, this week we are asking the students “what is the most interesting piece of  local curiosity or craft work that you have seen and tell us a bit about it.” See you back here next week with the answers.

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