Tanzania: Teaching Photography for National Geographic Student Expeditions

Wow, I absolutely LOVE my job! This summer I had the incredible opportunity to lead a photography workshop in Tanzania for National Geographic Student Expeditions.

I was in the middle of packing to move from Portland to Seattle when I got email from a friend saying that Nat Geo was looking for a female expedition leader who has experience teaching photography in remote locations. Reading through the job description I just felt like it so perfectly described me (minus one part about speaking Swahili), and the job so perfectly combined some of my favorite things: traveling, teaching photography, science, and working with students. I put packing on hold and started updating my resume.

Two weeks later I was on a plane to the east coast for orientation.

And just a couple weeks after that, I met up with fifteen eager high school students at JFK, and we flew to Arusha, Tanzania where we joined my amazing co-leader Ian (who thankfully speaks Swahili). Together we spent three weeks adventuring and exploring the country’s villages and national parks.

We hiked with Maasai warriors, experienced village life in Maji Ya Chai, and went on safari to see elephants, lions, hippos, and black rhinos(!). One highlight was staying up on the Maasai Steppe at Noloholo Environmental Camp, a research station run by National Geographic Expert Laly Lichtenfeld. There we participated in African People and Wildlife Fund’s Living Wall Project - where we helped build a wall out of trees to keep lions away from livestock. This human-wildlife conflict prevention program protects 150 lions each year from retaliatory killings.

Throughout our trip, the students worked “On Assignment” in their area of interest: photography or wildlife conservation. My photography students and Ian’s conservation students teamed up to collaborate on a final project - a magazine about Tanzanian culture, wildlife, and conservation. It turned out amazing, and I’m so proud of their dedication and hard work.

I feel SO fortunate to have spent three weeks traveling through Tanzania with such an amazing group of people! Did I mention that I love my job?!