NMSU in Nairobi - Aggies Go Global Past Review

By (Soil Science, New Mexico State University) for

Study Abroad Programs in Kenya

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was extremely worthwhile. For the first time, I participated in a professional event in another country. Not only did I learn a lot on the technical aspects of applying agroforestry to rural environmental and economic issues, but I made connections that will undoubtedly be helpful in my future professional endeavors.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Fall 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The Congress was not just a networking meeting for agroforestry practitioners and stakeholders from 96 countries, but a venue for the sharing of research findings. I attended numerous technical sessions and seminars focusing on various aspects of agroforestry including hydrology, soil physics, soil chemistry, agronomy, economics, climate change, sociology, and policy.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

My program was administered through NMSU faculty/staff who were in attendance at the Congress. They were well-organized and took care of the issues that arose. My expectations were met.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed at the China Garden Inn, a complex with regular hotel rooms as well as extended stay apartments. It was very close to the United Nations headquarters in Nairobi. The location was in the middle of a secure, affluent district of Nairobi known as Gigiri, where many foreign embassies, non-governmental organizations, and ex-patriate homes are located. An outdoor mall called the Village Market was within 5 minutes driving time. I was assisted with housing arrangements by an NMSU professor on sabbatical at a research organization in Nairobi.

* Food:

The food is almost always great when traveling, and Kenya is no exception. Students should be adventurous in trying local dishes and other cuisine available. As always, travelers should be aware that their digestive systems may need to adjust to the local microbes.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I enjoyed interacting with the many nationalities present at the Congress. Local Kenyans were extremely friendly and helpful. One night I went to a restaurant to see some live music from students at the International High School in Kenya. I also had the chance to travel to Nairobi Park, a reserve just outside the city where one can see many of the famous African savannah animals.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I was made aware of the various health risks that could be encountered during my stay in Kenya and was adequately prepared for them. I felt very safe in the section of the city that I spent most of my time in.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I was able to withdraw money from an ATM without any trouble. Exchanging money back and forth was also simple and fairly widely available.

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Get your visa beforehand to save time when you arrive, and don't get frustrated when things take longer than you think they should or seemingly simple logistical errors occur and no one is in a particular hurry to do anything about it.