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24. July 2013 Jonáš Jelínek

From the icy waters of the North Sea to the furnace of Tanzania

Given my current location in Tanzania, everyday access to a computer and all the more so to the Internet seems luxury I cannot afford. Therefore, I will try to keep this post both short and terse.

Having received my exam results, I am now officially a second year student. The end of the second semester passed unbelievably quickly. The reason for this might have been the long-awaited arrival of spring weather which put a little bit of fizz into otherwise foggy and grey St Andrews and the fact that summer was round the corner. The amount of workload in second semester did not seems as substantive as the amount in the first half of the academic year. Subjectively, the semester felt very short as two weeks of spring holidays and a revision period of almost two weeks as well were squeezed into the academic calendar. As a result, I did not feel under pressure and managed to balance my time with all my duties. Academically, I improved significantly and my grades went up in all my subjects except for International Relations which was caused by a penalty imposed on my essays for not observing the rules of the format of my essays. If it had not been for this fatuous mistake of mine, I would have made it on the Dean’s list.

In my free time I kept working on my dodgeball league and took part in May Dip which is a rather unorthodox tradition of St Andrews – students welcome the arrival of May by running in the icy water of the North Sea at sunrise on the 1st of May.

After the exams and a drop-in home I embarked on a journey to Africa, the highlight of my summer. Having received a scholarship from St Andrews and fundraised a considerable part of the costs, I could afford to go all the way to Tanzania for around a month and a half. Here in Tanzania I stay in the capital Dar es Salaam in a small guest house with other volunteers. My main task is to teach English, Maths, Geography and Computer skills at a local primary school as well as to converse with adult fishermen at another school in a nearby fishing village. Both the kids at the school and the adults in the village are very welcoming and appreciative of my presence which makes my work much easier. So far, I have enjoyed every bit of my experience in Tanzania and I had no problems adjusting to the local very different style of living. I already know that when I have come back I will ineffably miss all of my students. After my arrival to Prague, I will not have much time to rest since I start an internship at the Czech Foreign Ministry of Affairs at the beginning of August. I will work in a department which follows sub-Saharan Africa. I hope this internship will prove valuable and beneficial. I will provide more information about the internship in my next post after summer. 

Although I enjoy summer a lot, I also look forward to my second year at St Andrews. There are a few ideas and project I would like to bring to life. Moreover, I was elected as the Secretary of my hall – University Hall, got a position on the committee of the Foreign Affairs Society and I still have to develop my dodgeball league. To conclude, let me wish everyone a very sunny and memorable summer.

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