Life Changing, Eye opening, and Impactful Past Review

By (MA International Development, The College of William and Mary) - abroad from 06/18/2012 to 08/12/2012 with

Study Abroad Programs in Kenya

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a perspective into a culture and society that I had never been exposed to. I saw the challenges as well as the opportunities provided by a community that was very different from my own. It was absolutely worthwhile.

Review Photos

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Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

It was the appropriate amount of academic assignments, could have used more language training. Would recommend another formal class mid way through the program.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Abdallah Mohamed was the CountryCoordinator and he was phenomenal. Friendly, approachable, and able to bridge the gap between the locals and the students both linguistically and socially.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was wonderful, their homestead was clean and they provided anything that we needed.

* Food:

I was well fed, the local restaurants used too much oil at times and made my stomach upset but that is more a cooking style not a lack of service. My host family always had breakfast and dinner ready for us and I was full every meal that they provided.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We were fully immersed. There was a significant language barrier throughout which made fully connecting with locals hard but that is due to the short time we were in our locations.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I needed vaccines for Yellow Fever, Typhoid and Dengue Fever. I took malaria medication throughout. Malaria is a big issue in Kenya. I also had to get an insect, known in english as a jigger, out of my toe. They are common in the area I stayed and lodge themselves underneath the skin. The clinic was a small rural one with a single doctor but he was well trained and provided excellent service. I recovered fine. I also had a fever the last week and my Advisor and Country Coordinator took me to the Aga Khan Hospital in Mombasa which was also a good experience.

* Safety:

The city of Mombasa had a high risk of attack while I was there because of it's proximity to Somalia. We did have to leave the city early because of supposed threats, not to Americans though. In the community I heard rumors of different locals attacking others but I personally saw no danger and received no threats. ThinkImpact no longer works in Kenya though, I'm guessing because of increased activity from Al-Shabaab.

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)

You have to fund raise for your trip and find a way to pay for your flight and cost of your term. I applied and was accepted with short notice so I didn't have a lot of time to raise funds, I took out a student loan instead.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Food was included in our program expenses, I spent probably a total of 5 dollars a week charging my phone or buying souvenirs.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you can begin fund raising early so you have enough to cover your trip expenses as well as gifts!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes

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 full immersion
  • ThinkImpact's approach to development
  • Language course
* What could be improved?
  • Organization of the planning material
  • Emphasis on learning the language
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Basic Swahili. I think being open minded and wanting to learn stopped me from being presumptuous. I think the less I knew actually made me more successful.

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.'