Studies in Indian Place Names (SIPN) with ISSN 2394-3114

Internship Insights: Tanner Mastaw in Zanzibar

Interview with Tanner Mastaw, Class of 2015. BA in International Studies and Public Policy , minor in Spanish
Summer 2014 intern with the Tamani Foundation in Zanzibar
international internship, DU internship award
Tanner Mastaw holding a turtle in the Tamani Village in Zanzibar
  • What was your role in the internship?
The mission of the organization is to provide quality education to the village. The government schools are poorly run, so they wanted to provide additional skills either before the primary school system or after, as adults. I served whatever role the organization needed for the day, which included teaching 17-19 year olds math and English in preparation for their standardized tests. I also helped with a strategic plan and organizational feedback.
  • How did you find this position?
I studied abroad in India and one of the people who studied with me was originally from Tanzania and his parents run the organization. I already work in education (at South High School) and their model was interesting to me.
  •  What were the key factors in you being hired?
I submitted a resume and cover letter and then did a Skype interview with an Academic Coordinator. They were looking for someone who fit the goals of the organization. They had bad experiences with people coming to help who really just wanted a vacation on the beach, so they wanted to make sure they hired someone who was more serious. They wanted someone who had a solid academic standing and who had worked with non-profits and schools before.
  • What did you love about the position? What was challenging?
I really enjoyed the teaching process. Working with these students was very different because they were like sponges—they wanted to learn everything and enjoyed the process. It was like a different world from teaching students here. What was challenging was that the position isn’t well-defined, so you have to be ready to teach at one moment and clean out the storage room at the next. You may be asked to do things you have no experience doing. I still enjoyed that, but it was a challenge. It was also challenging that there were lots of tourists, and they didn’t always understand the local culture.
Tanner teaching at Tamani Foundation
Tanner teaching at Tamani Foundation
  •  How did DU Career Services help you?
I’ve worked with MaryMichael Hawkins closely to refine my resume and figure out which career direction I wanted to pursue. I couldn’t have done it without the Career Center summer internship award; I had my eye on the position but it wouldn’t have worked out if I didn’t have some source of funding.
  • What advice do you have for other DU students seeking to find and learn the most from their internships?
You need to have diligence. A lot of people tend to be hesitant to make their own opportunities. I had applied to a few programs that didn’t work out, and I needed to be inventive. Don’t look only at the opportunities that are available through websites or personal connections—create the opportunities.
  • What is your future dream job? How did this internship help you get there?
It’s tough to say, because it’s changed in recent years. I want what I do to have an educational component and a cross-cultural component. And that has been solidified by this position. This internship was the key factor in giving direction to what I want to do.

Tamani Learning Center (TLC) is an early childhood and adult education initiative on the island of Zanzibar of the coast of Tanzania. TLC is focused on bridging the education gap caused by a lack of emphasis placed on early education in the Zanzibar school system by establishing a nursery school for children ages 4 to 6 and adult classes to bring the benefits of an education to both generations. The foundation is funded by tourists staying in the Tamani Villas.

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