Profile: Libby Williams '20

Libby Williams in Ecuador

Programs: SFS/ Tanzania: Wildlife Management Studies and IES/ Galapagos Islands Direct Enrollment - GAIAS (Split Year)

Major/Minor: Environmental Studies and IIM (Land and Wildlife Management and Conservation) double major, International and Global Studies minor
Year Abroad: Academic Year 2018 (Split year)
Reason you chose this program: When deciding on the two programs for my split year, one of the things that I was most concerned with was learning and experiencing things while abroad that I could not have learned/experienced at Brandeis. Both of the programs I chose felt like really good ways to gain new experiences and learn new things that I would not have had access to either at Brandeis or through another study abroad program.
Favorite Classes: Political Ecology, Tropical Biology and Climate Change, Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values
Housing Situation: I lived with a homestay family in Ecuador and, in Tanzania, I lived at Moyo Hill Camp which served as our study center.
Best Memory: Watching the sunset every night on the beach across from our campus in Galapagos and sharing honey with local beekeepers as I conducted interviews for my directed research project in Tanzania
Greatest Challenge: The greatest challenge that I faced during my split year was not comparing my programs/experiences to one another and letting each of my semesters stand alone as its own amazing experience.
Did you apply for any scholarships? If so, which ones and how did they impact your time abroad?: I applied for additional scholarships through IES, and was awarded one of IES’s need-based grants. This scholarship basically covered the cost of my flights, visa, and other additional expenditures while abroad, and made my semester in Ecuador cost more or less the same as a semester at Brandeis would have (and maybe even a little cheaper!).

What you know now that you didn’t know before: Effective conservation manages the needs of people and ecosystems in equal parts. You can’t do conservation well (or ethically) if local stakeholders’ needs are not met!
Fact about Ecuador that you think people would be surprised to learn: four of the thirteen Islands in the Galapagos have people living on them—It’s not just finches and tortoises!
Fact about Tanzania that you think people would be surprised to learn: Freddie Mercury was born in Tanzania (on Zanzibar)