My Kenya Extravaganza! OSU HES 3080 Past Review

By (Human Development and Family Science: Child and Family Services, Oklahoma State University - Stillwater) for

Study Abroad Programs in Kenya

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to not have stereotypes. I try to not complain about the simple chores like washing clothes, we at least have a washer and drier. I am definitely more appreciative of what I have, and I am most proud of my country, my opportunities I have, my education and who I am! I would be more than happy to talk more about my experiences to anyone in person or go into more detail about anything and everything. Going to Kenya was a once in a lifetime experience, and I am glad that I experienced it all!!!

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.

I think that the grading system overall was pretty good. Requirements were given, but the expectations were inconsistent between professors. For example, we need to give presentations about our trip to groups of people (church, a class, etc.), but the logistics vary between teachers. Some say that we can do it in partners, and some say that we are not allowed to. It would just be better if the professors in charge could be on the same page when it comes to the expectations for the students. Differences in the educational system between our host university and hours did exist, but they did not make the learning experience uncomfortable nor did it distract me and my peers from learning. Internationally, our university and their university differed on ideas, such as child development, but we both were able to respectively give our opinions and input without having issues. We were all able to be mature and learn about other cultures.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The hospitality during our stay in Kenya, nationwide was unbelievably exceptional! I cannot not fully describe how pleased I was of how welcoming everyone was. Not only was the Universities hospitable, but my home stay family was extremely welcoming as well! We were always greeted with open arms, always had water bottles to drink, like at our classroom lectures and in our rooms, had snacks and tea breaks, we just never felt unwelcome! During our lectures, we had PowerPoint presentations, which were all very nicely done. The lecturers were very knowledgeable, nice, and presented very well. My expectations were over met! I loved it!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I do not want to sound conceded, but my host family was the best out of our entire group. Not only were they welcoming, they were wonderful hosts. There were three other OSU students who went with on the home stay. Our family treated each one of us with great respect. We all got so close, that I am still in contact with my home stay family today. We talk via Facebook and Twitter. At the end I felt extremely close to them;they actually felt like family. Some examples: we drove around for thirty minutes so we could find bottled water, because they knew that we had to drink bottled water. We had to drive to two different places because every store was out, but they were persistent. When we finally found some water, they were a little pricey, but they did not care about the price, they just wanted us to have water! We did not have to buy anything. Elizabeth, the mother, went out of her way to satisfy us. She even asked her close friend to stay the weekend to help take care of us. Rebecca, Elizabeth's friend, cooked everything for us, made our beds, cleaned our rooms, and expectantly washed our clothes for us! One of the OSU students, unfortunately, did not always have the best manners or show the best respect, but our home stay family were still respectful to her. I truly enjoyed my home stay, and I miss them terribly! I was very nervous to go at first, but I am glad that I went in with a positive attitude because it was the best time of my life! I want to go back to Kenya and I desperately hope that I can see them again!

* Food:

The Kenyatta University food was always wonderful. Although we all had stomach issues, but that was just because of the foreign food and different ways of cooking and spices. We were always given breakfast and dinner. There were some instances that I did not eat lunch because it was too pricey or because I did not feel that there was cleanliness. I do not know if it is feasible, but having lunch provided would be a lot better. There was one instance were lunch only cost 200 shillings ( about 2 dollars) but since we were white tourists we were charged about six dollars.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The giraffe center was wonderful. I actually kissed a giraffe! Definitely recommend that again! Oh and going to the U.S. Embassy was exceptional! It was really cool to visit and not have to be there cause we needed help. It was very cool to learn how the Embassy worked.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

At first I was nervous about the safety, but towards the end of the trip I felt just as safe in Kenya as I would in downtown Dallas. There was a clinic for us to go to on campus that was open 24 hours. We had our travler's insurance which came in handy.Some recommendations for future students: *ALWAYS drink bottled water, even at dinner. The pitchers of water at the tables still may have bacteria. Just to be safe, just ask! *Do not eat ice cream or any milk product, even at a major tourist attraction. Friend got really sick We had to go to the health clinic on campus. It was around 1 a.m. The doctors were very nice and we trusted their advice. *Wash wash wash your hands. Bring a lot of hand wipes. Hand wipes work better than hand sanitizer. *Carry toilet paper with you everywhere, especially girls! *Bring tums or some sort of stomach relief and but the diarrhea pills at the OSU health services! They only cost like $4. Although the vaccinations are expensive, I still really recommend getting them. I received the yellow fever vaccination. It cost $95, and I got it a Tiger Drug. OSU clinic doesn't give the vaccination. Just as a heads up, it is normal to have the area get a little itchy and red. I actually got flu like symptoms. It all went away in about a week. So no worries. I also got HEP A and typhoid. Non of these are required, but recommended. You also need to get malaria pills. They are a little pricey and insurance generally doesn't cover the expense. They are about $10 a pill and we needed 9. With the malaria pills. Some experienced some nausea so eat something before hand. Also, some had some weird dreams after taking them. But nothing too serious. I recommend getting your pills and vaccinations done asap!! You have to wait weeks in between some vaccinations.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

There are two main languages in Kenya: Swahili and English. All of the Kenyatta University professors and students spoke English. Their English was actually spoken very well. There were some differences, but nothing hindered us from carrying a conversation. We could practice the language with the students, and they helped us learn the language; they actually were excited that we wanted to learn and could speak some Swahili. When we were out in Nairobi, sometimes we encountered someone who did not speak English, but luckily we had Dean Wilson who spoke fluent Swahili.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hostel
  • Hotel
  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Local Students
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Going to Africa is a completely different experience. Be flexible and understanding. You are going to be around the same people for a long time and while you are going to make some great, lifetime friends, you are also going to get on each others nerves so just give everyone some space once in a while. It is okay to be uncomfortable, but just stick with it. You will grow as a person and learn a ton. Talk to your friends if you ne to. It is a very emotional trip, so do not keep it to yourself. Try best to not talk about people... PACK LIGHT!!! You go from one place to the other a LOT!! The student that would benefit the best from the trip is anyone who is willing to learn about themselves, other cultures, and is not afraid to change as a person.