Guide to Work, Study, Travel and Living Abroad  FacebookTwitterGoogle+  
 
Issue Focus on Travel, Volunteering, Work, Study, and Living in Africa and the Middle East
The Heart of a Nomadic People: The Fulani of Burkina Faso and Niger by Irene Abdou
Dicko, a Fulani girl.
Nine-year old Fulani girl Dicko of Niger readies herself to walk to the market.
You’re not alone if you’ve never heard of the countries of Burkina Faso and Niger, or if you couldn’t find them on the map. Two landlocked, neighboring countries in the heart of West Africa, they probably weren’t on your wish list of places to visit. You might even have trouble pronouncing their names (“Ber-kee-na Fah-so” and “Nee-jair”), or you might confuse Niger with its big and politically dominating neighbor to the south, Nigeria... Read more
Wildlife Research Expeditions in South Africa by Lisa M. Chavis
Cheetahs at a Game Reserve in South Africa
Cheetahs at a Game Reserve in South Africa. Photo by Lisa M. Chavis.
It's 5 A.M. at the Karongwe Private Game Reserve. While still dark, soon the sky will share both the sun and moon to light our way. Today we are observing Ingala and Skankank—African Shangaan tribal names for lion and cheetah. Cameras and binoculars—check. Water bottles and a mid-morning snack—check. Telemetry equipment and notebooks for recording data—double check—as these are even more important than the extra thermos of coffee. Collecting data on the large predators and other wild animals is the main reason we are here, living and volunteering our time for ten weeks on a game reserve in South Africa's rich and varied Limpopo Province. For those with a passion for studying and viewing African animals up close, this is an adventure sure to thrill. Even at this early hour, the excitement of what we will see today is all around us—and it's not just a caffeine buzz from the coffee. Dawn breaks quickly here in the bush as we startle a sleeping giraffe. "Sorry fella," I whisper. Those tinker-toy legs take quite a while to untangle... Read more
Africa: Is One of the Last Frontiers of Global Tourism as Volatile as Ever? by Volker Poelzl
 
Africa is one of the last frontiers of global tourism. While travelers can follow a well-developed tourist trail on most other continents, travel in Africa remains an adventure. The continent has a rich cultural heritage and fascinating ecosystem, but the tourism infrastructure is poorly developed, and travelers in many parts of Africa need a strong sense of adventure and courage...Despite the many problems facing this vast continent, some countries are moving toward greater prosperity and stability, and tourism plays an important role in this development... Read More
Independent West Africa Planner by Terry Redding
Girl with milk in Gambia
Travelers mulling a first visit to Africa—but with limited time and budget—should consider West Africa. There are no big game parks, but most of the countries are smaller and you can cross a few borders in a short trip. Even if you are limited to one country, you will have the opportunity to experience several ethnic groups, as their distribution bears no resemblance to the colonially imposed national borders... Read More
Hospitality in the Middle East by Friedel Rother
Hospitality in the Middle East
It was a full year into our world bicycle tour before our families dropped the first hint of unease. Our 2-wheeled adventures across Europe barely raised an eyebrow but emails started flying when we announced joyfully that we'd gotten an Iranian visa and would also pedal through Turkey and Syria... Read More
Teaching in the Muslim World by Alison Bate
Camdel Driver in Sudan
Shortly after I arrived in Sudan, one of my favorite male students quietly passed me a handwritten note, whispering that I should read it later.

After class, I read a charming explanation that because he was Muslim and I was a woman, he could not shake hands when we met.

"OK?" he asked, embarrassed, the next time we ran across each other.

"OK," I confirmed, smiling, keeping my hands firmly behind my back and mortified that he felt the need to explain his actions... Read More

Volunteer Effectively in Nigeria: The Key is Thinking Grassroots by Lola Akinmade
Akinmade with Children in Nigeria
We sat on white plastic chairs outside the small temple, waiting patiently as traditional worshippers recited their daily chants and prayers inside the dark room on a warm August summer morning.

Forty-five minutes later once their devotions were over, the group filed quietly to the king's palace about 200 feet away. More plastic chairs had been set up within the king's living room to host a health education forum... Read More

A Glimpse into Nigerian Culture on the International Stage by Lola Akinmade
Femi Dancers
...With a population pushing 145 million, it is no wonder Nigerians are spreading across the globe, aggressively infiltrating various fields and forms of creativity. From journalism to literature to fashion, Nigerians are not only assimilating but infusing strong cultural traditions and style into their ever-growing spheres of influence worldwide... Read More
Nigerian Musician Seun Kuti Interviewed by Banning Eyre of www.Afropop.org
Seun Kuti
At the WOMEX fair in Seville, Spain, in October 2007, Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 of Nigeria were perhaps the most electrifying of all the many acts that performed. Afropop's Banning Eyre, along with Marco Werman of public radio's The World, were fortunate to interview Seun in his hotel room before the show... Read More
Study Abroad in Niger by Alexis Wolff
Study Abroad in Niger
Every so often I get an email from a name I don't recognize. In essence it says, "I'm interested of studying abroad in Niger, but I'm just not sure. Someone in the study abroad office suggested I contact you." I drop whatever I'm doing to respond. "You must go," I write. "My semester in Niger was the most memorable and important of my college career." Read More
Internship for an Ethiopian NGO by Sara Cornish
Internships for an Ethiopian NGO
Leftovers from Christmas dinner were still in the fridge at my home in Philadelphia when I arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to begin my 3-month internship. The Ethiopian Airlines jet had departed from Dulles Airport full of nationals anxious to return to their rich heritage, their colorful city and beautiful land. I was headed across the Atlantic to work for the Gaia Association, an Ethiopian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that promotes the use of alcohol fuels as household cooking energy for low-income urban households and refugee camps... Read More
Sensible Rules for Safe Travel in South Africa by Pearl Harris
White lion South Africa
I emigrated from South Africa to Europe in 2002 and re-visited only recently. South Africa is truly a beautiful country, with friendly, hospitable people, incredible scenery and incomparable wildlife. I believe that these qualities are certainly more worthy of publicity than the crime and other negative aspects. Indeed, I can think of no other place on earth so rich in a diversity of scenic beauty, wildlife, sights, sounds, music and varied cultures as South Africa... Read More
Discovering the Culture of the Xhosa People of South Africa's Wild Coast
by Tanya Linnegar
Xhosa, South Africa
Foremost on our itinerary during a recent trip to South Africa was a visit to Coffee Bay—one of the loveliest spots on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape—if not in the whole world.  The Eastern Cape, with its 500-mile stretch of unspoilt coastline, is South Africa’s second-largest province and homeland to the Xhosa nation.  There is no better way of getting to know these proud people with their ancient tribal culture than by visiting Coffee Bay... Read More
Travel in Swaziland: The Joys of Plans Gone Awry by Dorothy Conlon
Sobantu in Swaziland
It's always nice to arrive at a new place in the daylight so you get a feel for the land and layout, but it was dark when my delayed flight reached Manzini Airport in Swaziland. Heiso and Amos were there to meet me as planned, and we chatted comfortably together during the 1-plus hour drive to our destination, a backpackers' hostelry... Read More
Study French and Wolof in Dakar, Senegal by Katie Krueger

If you would like to learn French outside of a European context, Senegal is a great option. You can learn one of the world’s most widely-spoken languages while immersing yourself in the rich culture of West Africa. I studied French and Wolof at the Africa Consultants International’s Baobab Center in Dakar, Senegal. The school offered quality classes and coordinated a home stay, provided cultural orientations, offered day trips and set me up with a volunteer internship... Read More

Volunteering in an Orphanage in Northern Tanzania's Countryside by Lies Ouwerkerk
Dancing Orphans in Tanzania
When my taxi comes to a halt at the dusty playground of the orphan center in Ngaramtoni, many excited kids swarm around the car to meet and greet their new teacher. Enthusiastically they shout "karibu!" ("welcome" in Swahili) and stretch out their little hands through the open window. I have arrived in the land of the Masai tribe, once semi-nomadic throughout Kenya and Northern Tanzania and famous for their success as warriors and their vast herds of cattle. They are also widely known for their distinct appearance of lean, long bodies wrapped in red and purple robes, as well as for their facial decorations such as cut ears and burn marks on their cheeks. Nowadays, some of the Masai have permanently settled in the foothills of Tanzania's Mount Meru, about 60 miles from Africa's highest mountain Kilimanjaro, where they co-exist with other tribes and make a living as small farmers.... Read More
Volunteering in Zambia by Marianne Stamm
Volunteering in Zambia
Kitwe, Zambia was not in any of the Rough Guide books for Africa. In fact, I could not find a guide book for Zambia at all. It appeared that we definitely were not headed to one of the main attractions on global tourist route. Wheat farmers from central Alberta, Canada, my husband, me, and another couple from our community had volunteered through our local church to help plan and implement an irrigation system for bananas in Zambia. Heart of Africa Mission is run by local Zambians, with an emphasis on community development. We were there to share our agricultural experience and knowledge with the African farmers... Read More
Living in Nampula, Mozambique: Just Left of Paradise by Caroline Cowan
Whenever I tell people I am living in Mozambique, they imagine paradise. The picture they have is of white sand beach, palm trees, beautiful warm blue seas and a diet of fresh seafood and ripe juicy fruit. I do allow friends to indulge their fantasy because, truth is, there are parts of Mozambique exactly like that—but not where I live. Nampula is in the north, far north but not as far as Pemba. It is the third largest city in Mozambique and growing fast. It is also inland, about 150 miles to the nearest beach. This makes it a hot, humid, dusty industrial city. It has palm trees everywhere. I love the mango season, where gardens droop with fruit ready to drop. Most gardens have mango, giant avocado, banana, papaya and coconut trees, but many have been replaced with concrete. The sand is red and found everywhere: it settles on the floors, windows, computer screen, bedspread, and mingles with truck fumes and sunlight to form a yellow haze... Read More
Feasting in Fez by Beebe Bahrami
Feasting in Fez, Morocco
I had been living in Morocco’s capital, Rabat, for several months when my new friend Fatima invited me to join her on a trip to Fez to attend a newborn baby boy’s naming ceremony. He was the son of Fatima’s friend Kenza. A few days later, on the train to Fez, I told Fatima how excited I was to participate in my first naming ceremony. She rolled her eyes and told me that this was not going to be a typical naming celebration. As our train left Rabat’s green Atlantic coast and moved inland toward the drier brown hills around the bowl-like city of Fez, Fatima unfolded Kenza’s tale. Kenza was originally from Fez but moved to Rabat when she landed an important job at one of the city’s archives. It was in Rabat where she met her husband and married. Four years into their marriage they had a child. The demands of career, motherhood, and marriage reached a crisis point shortly after their son’s birth. Kenza was not a person of compromises. Neither was her husband... Read More
Oman: A Wadi of One's Own by Anna Maria Espsäter
Oman
“Don’t wash your compliance”, the sign by the water pools at Wadi Bani Khalid boldly proclaimed, leaving the group of us sweaty hikers somewhat puzzled. Personally I was ready to throw myself in to cool down as swiftly as possible, compliance and all, whatever it might be referring to. I was spending time in the Sultanate of Oman, doing some wadi-hiking and it was hot... Read More
Living in Turkey: Awakened Dreams in Gölcük by Karrie Hawkins Erenoglu
Turkey
I live East of Istanbul in the little Navy town of Gölcük, Turkey. The town experienced an earthquake in 1999 which resulted in mass death and destruction. The infrastructure of Gölcük has nearly recovered from the devastation, and is now experiencing a revitalization of culture, art and enthusiasm for life. As I write this I can hear the afternoon’s call to prayer resonating from the lofty minaret of a local mosque. The sun is shining warmly over the Sea of Marmara, and soaring above it is snowcapped Kartepe Mountain rising above the ancient city of Izmit. I’m feeling excited because today is the opening ceremony for my art exhibition at the Gölcük Belediyesi Sanat Galerisi, a new local art gallery... Read More
Endpage: Education From the Streets of Giza, Egypt by Alexander Breimann
2008 Narrative Travel Writing Contest Winner
Streets of Giza
"Where do you live, Hannah?" I asked.

"I live in Zamalek, but drop me off when we get to Sudan Street, if you don't mind." I translated her request so the driver would understand and moments later the last student from the day's excursion hopped out of the van and disappeared into the thick Cairo dusk. As the driver and I rode back to Haram, the sprawling district of Giza in which we lived, I paid him and stuck the rest of the money in my pocket. In a friendly, conversational tone, the driver asked me a question that had been on his mind the whole day: "Why did you come to Egypt?" Of course, there were plenty of reasons, but I always hated that question. I assured him that it was not to be a tour guide; I only did that to keep my finances afloat.

As we approached the intersection of Salah Hamza and Pyramids Street, I decided I wanted to walk for the last remaining bit to stretch my legs. Bidding farewell, I poured out of the van, legs weak from hours on the road, and checked my pockets to make sure I did not leave anything behind. Feeling the wad of cash in my left pocket reminded me how fruitful the day had been... Read More 

Travel Photography Tips: Photographing Festivals
by Volker Poelzl
Photograph Festivals
Festivals and cultural events are among the most exciting events for travelers to photograph. They are a great way to show the local culture, customs and people in order to portray a foreign culture and country. Photographers are naturally drawn to colorful subject matter, and festivals are colorful in every sense of the word. There are colorful floats, costumes, crafts, food, and merchandise, and you will find many colorful characters participating in festivals. But as much as festivals provide great opportunities for lively pictures, they are also quite challenging environments for travel photographers... Read More
Finding Inner Strength While Traveling as a Solo Woman
Women's Travel Columnist Beth Whitman
Beth Whitman
For more than 15 years I had been an independent, mostly solo, globetrotter. I had ridden my motorcycle solo from Seattle to Panama; driven my jeep to Alaska from the lower 48; and backpacked around the Pacific Rim countries for a year. I like to think of myself as a seasoned traveler.

But, after years of living and traveling with my significant other, Jon, I learned that slipping back into the devil-may-care existence of solo travel wasn't as easy as I had anticipated... Read More

Ask the Expert Q&A: Moving Overseas with Pets
by Living Abroad Contributing Editor Volker Poelzl
Volker Poelzl
An important issue often overlooked by people planning to relocate overseas is the question of what to do with their pets. Should you bring them with you, leave them behind with friends or family, give them up for adoption, or drop them off at the local animal shelter? Read More
Book Review
Traversa—A Solo Walk Across Africa, From the Skeleton Coast to the Indian Ocean
by Fran Sandham

Stuck in a grey and less than pleasant London, author Fran Sandham saves every penny to be able to afford his planned adventure in Africa. As he confesses about his time in London prior to his trip: Please, I'd pray silently, let me swap this London awfulness for steaming jungles and burning deserts, vast distances, danger, fierce heat, sickness, exhaustion, wild animals, snakes, the villainous itch of mosquito bites, cockroaches the size of   Dinky toys, the clatter of tropical rain on a tin roof, a riot of African color..." And Sandham got all he asked for and lived to write about it... Read more

Movie Review
Watching foreign movies is a great way to get into the spirit of an upcoming trip and learn about local cultures and customs. We will regularly feature reviews of noteworthy new and classic foreign films which tell stories about foreign lands, their people, cultures, and ways of life.
The Yacoubian Building
by Marwan Hamed (Egypt, 2006)

'The Yacoubian Building' is a compelling portrayal of Egyptian society in the late twentieth century. It is based on the homonymous novel by Alaa Al Aswany (published in 2002), who practiced dentistry in the Yacoubian Building in Cairo for many years, an experience that inspired his novel. The movie follows a number of residents of the Yacoubian building through their daily lives. What makes this movie so fascinating is how it gradually reveals the hypocrisy, double standards and conflicts present in contemporary Egyptian society... Read more

Music Review
Rogamar
by Cesária Évora

Rogamar (released in 2006) is the most recent CD by Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora. Cesária Évora was already 47 years old when she released her first CD (La Diva Aux Pieds Nus, produced in Paris in 1988), but her background in music goes back to her childhood and her family's enjoyment of music... Read more

What's New at TransitionsAbroad.com
TAzine Editorial
We are proud to launch TAzine as a monthly Webzine which continues the 31-year tradition started by Transitions Abroad magazine. TAzine features many of the same columnists who wrote for the magazine, a growing group of new columnists, while featuring many freelance writers who wish to share their experiences and expertise within the context of our pioneering coverage of work, study, travel, and living abroad.

Founded in 1977 by Dr. Clayton Allen Hubbs, Transitions Abroad magazine was the only print publication dedicated to work, study, living, volunteering, and immersion travel abroad. Its purpose—in print and now as a Webzine—is the dissemination of practical information leading to a greater understanding of other cultures through direct participation in the daily life of the host community.

Send in your submissions for the webzine to webeditorial@transitionsabroad.com on the subjects of travel, work, study, internships, teaching, volunteering, living abroad, and much more in accordance with our detailed writers' guidelines!

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Africa and the Middle East
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