My name is Roshan Tabari-Cherer, I am a fourth-year student at Queen’s majoring in Global Development Studies. This is my first time blogging with QUIC, and I am really excited to learn about the Centre’s programs and become involved in something that supports the international community at Queen’s.
As I have progressed in my studies on global development, as well as in my life as a young adult, I have developed more and more of an appreciation for people of different cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. I have learned so much over the years about the continual, yet for many implicit, existence of power relations worldwide, and how they are so embedded into our daily lives that most of the time we don’t even acknowledge them. However, the very critical approach of development studies has spurred my interest in becoming more knowledgeable, and more cultured as a privileged human being living in a privileged country.In addition to my academic experiences, I have learned a lot via travel. Since I was 10 months old, my parents have taken me to places such as Venezuela, Cozumel, Nevada, California, the UK, Germany, Australia, the East coast of Canada, and many more; but I realized as I got older (and more geographically inclined) that we never travelled to Asia or Africa.
So, when the opportunity arose to go to East Africa for the winter term of 2012, I jumped at the chance. The Canadian Field Studies in Africa program (CFSIA) has been run by McGill University for over 20 years, and, if I might add, has quite the reputation in Canada, as well as in Kenya and Tanzania. Our group travelled across southern Kenya for two months, then headed south to Tanzania, specifically Moshi, Dar es Salaam, and finally Zanzibar. For just over half the time we were on the trip, we camped in remote areas in Kenya, staying in sturdy tents that (we thought) were from World War II.
East Africa was like something I have never experienced before. The colours of the landscape and the animals were so vibrant; the people were very welcoming; and sometimes, the climate was absolutely unbearable! What stuck out the most for me was the diversity in cultures and ethnic groups. It was so interesting to see how if you drove two hours north of Nairobi, you encountered a number of people speaking a different language, having very different lifestyles, yet still having a connection to the urban centres. Travelling to East Africa was one of the best experiences I have had, because I was able to make new friends, exchange knowledge with Kenyans and Tanzanians, and develop an entirely new outlook on Canada’s relations with some of the countries of East Africa. I recommend this trip to anyone that is interested!