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For a group of British School of Boston students, months of fundraising, studying Swahili and raising awareness finally paid off this week, when they left Boston to head to Arusha, Tanzania for a service learning trip.

Five BSB students and one staff member joined more than 100 other students from Nord Anglia Education in the African country this week, to identify and kick-off a series of service projects to improve daily life for the region’s residents.

"The camp is very different to what we expected," one student said from Africa Monday. "We think that the greatest challenge will be givIng the teachers (of Tanzania) not only the means, but also the ways to utilize the resources and funding we have managed to provide."

Nord Anglia Education (NAE) is a UK-based educational network of 27 schools around the world, with which the British School of Boston joined last spring. The service trip to Tanzania is an initiative of NAE’s Global Classroom, an online learning community that works to provide international collaboration between students and opportunities for learning outside the classroom.

For the students selected to attend the trip this year, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a foreign culture, meet students from around the world and make a difference for others in need.

BSB students arrived in Tanzania on Saturday, and after spending some time settling into camp, got right to work learning about the local culture and traditions. On Sunday, students celebrated “Africa Day,” learning about traditional African dance, bead-making and also practicing their Swahili.

“I continue to be amazed by the adaptability of teenagers,” BSB logistics coordinator Ruth Williams, who accompanied students on the trip, said Sunday. “They have already made strong friends, planned school lessons, had a go at local bead work, learned an African dance, learned more Swahili and seen a wildlife presentation.”

Their work at Maua Primary School, where students will repaint chalkboards and classrooms, repair broken windows and update pathways on campus, began Monday and will continue throughout the week.

BSB students prepared lessons in art, maths and other subjects leading up to the Tanzania trip, and will teach them to Tanzanian students throughout the week. They’ll also teach the local children and other NAE students about American culture.

The trip is the culmination of months of preparation by BSB students. Students were selected for the trip in October, and have been working since to raise money and awareness for their service projects.

Through sales of coffee, candy, raffle tickets and student artwork, as well as the “Dance to Maua” fundraiser, BSB students were able to raise nearly $5,000 for service projects in Tanzania.

"Dance to Maua,” which asked students to each dance for 22 minutes and 33 seconds- representing in total the travel time to Tanzania- raised more than $2,000 thanks to generous donations from students, staff and parents.

Going forward, the BSB community will continue to be involved in service projects in Tanzania. Students traveling to the country this year will help identify and develop future service projects needed in the region, and additional students will be selected in future years to return to the country to follow through on their plans.

For BSB, it is an ongoing commitment that has been embraced by the entire school community, and is just one way the school promotes education for the whole child, through learning in the classroom, cultural experiences and community service opportunities

Students and families throughout all year groups got involved in fundraising for this year’s trip, and their connection to the trip continues while students are in Africa, thanks to a team of staff and students sharing news and photos from the trip through social media.

Follow British School of Boston on Twitter, like us on Facebook and check out our blog for more information and regular updates on our service work in Tanzania.

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