What's an Adventure Without a Struggle? Past Review

By (Economics., Tulane University) - abroad from 06/17/2011 to 08/19/2011 with

Study Abroad Programs in Kenya

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a stronger sense of myself, a love for a different culture, valuable friends from Kenya and the US, and experience traveling. It was definitely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The curriculum consisted of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), Social Entrepreneurship, and IDEO's Human Centered Design Approach, all of which have benefited my future endeavors. Academic experience isn't just taught out of a book here; it is practiced and learned out in the field.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The advisors and programs did a pretty good job. While it wasn't exactly a fluid trip (some things were misplanned, etc.) it was Africa-esque in essence, making for an unparalleled experience.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Be prepared for an intense rural atmosphere, full of cow dung and mud huts. An unbelievable experience, however - the lack of electricity makes for a star-filled sky.

* Food:

Food varies depending on where you are. In the home stay, food is basic but filling. In the city, the food is delicious with an obvious Indian influence. During the weekends at the hotel, the food is plenty and well prepared.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Unbelievably integrated. I made lifelong friends from the beautiful city of Makomboani.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I actually contracted or brought in mononucleosis while I was there. I fell ill for the second half of the trip. I visited the doctor twice, but both times they told me the sickness would pass in a week. It remained for a few months after arriving back home... They could never accurately diagnose me there, but I still managed to have a good time.

* Safety:

I felt safe, however ThinkImpact limited some freedom while there, probably for the better.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Very good purchasing power in Kenya - things were cheap! Being in the rural area for the majority of the time made for valuable savings as well.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $10
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Not really; things are inexpensive.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

We had weekly Swahili lessons, giving us the foundation to practice out in the community.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Maybe do some research before; you catch on pretty easy however.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The intense immersion
  • The project oriented learning
  • The lasting friendships
* What could be improved?
  • Prior organization from the staff
  • Clearer outline of the program
  • Better healthcare options
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would've known how intense the immersion would be. Living in such a rural setting made for an interesting adjustment; it is totally a worthwhile experience however.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'