Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Study Abroad Botswana 2017!

Hello from Botswana! Students are beginning to arrive in Maun, Botswana for this year's study abroad.

The program officially begins tomorrow, Wednesday, the 24th of May. On Thursday, we will head to our base camp in Ghanzi where we will be based for the first three weeks of the program. We have two student phones, which the students will be able to use freely once they get here. You can also call Professor Thoralf or TA Dan if you cannot get through (in case of emergencies ONLY).

Calling from the US to Botswana: 011 + 267 + phone number

Student Phone 1: 75 05 83 16
Student Phone 2: 75 05 83 18
Thoralf: 72 67 08 36
Dan: 72 31 70 52

Cell phone service in Botswana does not work as well as in the United States, so you might have to call a few times to get through. We have also experienced power black outs in the past which also means you might not be able to get through.

We will have a satellite phone ready once the program starts, which will be turned on every night between 7-8 PM (Botswana time, which Texas is currently 7 hours behind). This phone will work in case of power black outs and when we are on safari (where there is no phone service coverage). This phone is for absolute emergencies ONLY.

The satellite phone number: 00881631627587

We are all looking forward to the start of the program and will be posting updates here on the blog every few days or so.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Re a leboga (many thanks) from Botswana!

UT Study Abroad Botswana 2016 has come to a close. The majority of students departed Maun today to their respective destinations. Some are heading off to travel in northeast Botswana, Zambia, and South Africa, while others will be headed back home to Texas.

Many many thanks to our students and everyone involved for making the past six weeks an incredible and enjoyable experience.

We would like to give thanks to the great people and organizations that made this trip possible:

Thakadu Bush Camp
 Thanks to Jeanette, her family, and their staff for their gracious hospitality during our time in Ghanzi.

For running our base camps in Ghanzi and Maun, and for providing their guidance and knowledge while on safari in CKGR and Khwai. Thanks to Colin, Daryl, Zebra, and the rest of the Kitso staff.

For months of planning, advertising, and endless support.

Lastly, thanks to the UT Department of Geography & the Environment for their continued support in this program.

We will post a short video in the next few days on our time on safari in Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Okavango Delta. Stay tuned!

Last group photo with all our students and Daryl.

Lecture on Botswana health & Peace Corps opportunities

Peggy Flynn, a second-time Peace Corps volunteer, explains the challenges and opportunities in improving health in Botswana. Her work with the Ghanzi District has included improving management infrastructure and creating a youth group for children born with HIV. Top on her list of action items include alternative activities for youth, teens, and young adults and continued multi-media educational messages for promoting positive physical and psychological health for both individuals and communities. She also discussed long-term career and personal growth that comes from working with Peace Corps at multiple points in one's career and life and how in general our students can work to make a difference at home and abroad.

Peggy explaining how health statistics are collected and assessed, and how to read behind the numbers.

Guest Lecture II

We had 3 more guest lecture yesterday. Sven Borquin, a local researcher, presented his Ph.D. research on crocodile conservation, behavior, and diet. Andrew Stein, an American researcher and professor at Landmark College, presented his recent project on how to involve local communities in order to lessen lion-livestock conflicts using new advanced GPS technologies. Tshepiso Rankho, a local tourism operator, described how tourism benefits Botswana and how eco-tourism informs tourists about local cultures.

Sven describing how to catch, take scientific measurements, and release a crocodile safely.

Andrew telling us how he has been able to involve local communities in wildlife conservation.

Tshepiso explaining the tourism industry in Botswana.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Student Presentations III

Everyone has now done both of their student presentations. Here are a few photos from Mary's, Mariana's, and Katie's recent presentations.

Mary presenting on factors influencing wildlife in Botswana.

Mariana presenting on basket production for rural communities.

Katie presenting on human-wildlife conflicts involving elephants.

Art Making

Yesterday we went to visit Melton and his art workshop. We learned several different art techniques and everyone made their own flower and animal keychain out of wire and glass beads.

Melton showing us how to shape the wire for the flowers.

Everyone putting beads on their wires.

Melton working on a giraffe keychain.

Elizabeth's flower.

Group photo with Melton in front of his art workshop.