He sat inside a giant tent with his family, guarded by armed Maasai tribe warriors. While hearing the roars and screeches from animals that could take his life instantly. Senior Cole Mitchelson realized that he wanted to come back to Tanzania.“I have been fortunate enough to travel the world, and I would trade all of them to go back to Africa,” Cole said.
If the plan works out, a student initiated program (SIP) through Kansas University is going to let him revisit Tanzania for a semester in his junior or senior year.
But, this time he is not going to be on vacation. He will be studying biodiversity and wildlife with other students from various colleges. He will hopefully be working for an organization called “andBeyond”, that will allow him to go on safaris and examine the animals in person.
Mitchelson is going to study biology at KU. He was offered scholarships by many colleges because of his good grades and ACT score, but decided to go to KU because they offered the best scholarship. He also likes being close to home and has friends attending.
Cole’s mom, Megan Mitchelson, said, “He is going to be a third generation Jayhawk,” said Megan Mitchelson, Cole’s mom.
Studying abroad and his major will most likely affect his career later in life, since want to works with animals. According to many friends and his mom he has always loved having all different kinds of pets and loves animals in general.
According to Cole’s mother, the plan is not 100 percent. This is because students do not study abroad until their junior year, so there is no way of being sure of it until then.
According to Cole, there is a lot he has not figured out yet, for there are a few years until he able to go. For example, the language spoken in Tanzania is Swahili and he only knows a few words. But, He plans to study the language in a college course.
“I feel the whole experience in itself will be very fun because, I mean, I am in a different country. It feels like a whole different world almost,” Cole explained.
He will be studying large predators, such as lions, wildebeests, elephants and rhinos, in Tanzania.
Mitchelson is aware of the future dangers on his trip. There are diseases, such as malaria, and dangerous animals like lions, cheetahs, rhinos, wild dogs and other large predators. Cole will most likely be going on safaris to study and those are usually pretty safe, but you never know.
“The last time I went I had to get eight different shots, and pretty much anything and everything out there can kill you,” Mitchelson said.
Most would probably think his mother would be worried sick about the dangers in Africa, but it’s the contrary.
“I am not concerned because when I went in 2012 I felt safe the whole time and my parents went, I have friends just now coming back. If you are just aware of your surroundings and prepared, like anywhere, you will be fine,” said Megan.