Ariel DeFrank

Bio Summary
Cohort Year: 
Home Institution: 
University of Pittsburgh-Bradford
Heinz Programming Area: 
Study Abroad Country: 
International Experience

As a Vira I. Heinz recipient, and first-time international traveler, Ariel ventured outside of her comfort zone to Tanzania for six weeks. Here, she studied the language, culture, and health problems the nation faces. She stayed on a college campus in Iringa living amongst the native students, making adjusting to her temporary home much more tolerable. Ariel had the opportunity to partake in instructed off-campus site visits 2-3 times per week to adhere a tangible aspect to the content of their courses. Site visits included a trip to a local AIDS clinic, a local orphanage, and visits to multiple parts of a water treatment and filtration system that serves one village, and many more. Although Ariel was in Tanzania heavily based on the health aspect of those specific courses, she found herself much more enthralled in the cultural whirlwind. She took particular interest in and began researching the traditional culture of marriage and relationships, such as dowry and ownership, and comparing them to the current Tanzanian culture that she was experiencing. Using this, she analyzed the power difference and between men and women of the country. Ariel spent long hours out in the town interacting and making friends with locals. Although she loved meeting the strangers, the best friends Ariel met on her journey are the students of the college she stayed at. The American students and Tanzanian students took time daily to have volleyball tournaments, study together, and most importantly, share their cultures. 

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