Exciting, educational, and humbling October 15, 2022

By (Geography, Philosophy, University of Maryland - Baltimore County / UMBC) - abroad from 08/28/2019 to 12/07/2019 with

The School for Field Studies / SFS: Kenya – Endangered Species Conservation

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Challenges quite a few assumptions and really deepened my understanding of life, humanity, and the commonalities (and differences) between people(s).

Review Photos

The School for Field Studies / SFS: Kenya - Wildlife and Water Studies Photo The School for Field Studies / SFS: Kenya - Wildlife and Water Studies Photo The School for Field Studies / SFS: Kenya - Wildlife and Water Studies Photo The School for Field Studies / SFS: Kenya - Wildlife and Water Studies Photo The School for Field Studies / SFS: Kenya - Wildlife and Water Studies Photo

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.

Learned a ton, especially with regard to the intersection of tourism, conservation, climate change, and everyday life for local residents.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Everything was planned out and communicated well.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Certainly not posh, but perfectly comfortable.

* Food:

Good quantity, quality, and variety, and we were able to learn while helping out in the kitchen! Accommodations for dietary restrictions were made, but it seemed that they did reduce variety a decent bit.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

In a separate compound a decent bit away from the nearest town, but still some folks nearby. Even when in town and interacting with people it was hard to feel one with them (though reflecting on this was the source of a lot of what I learned on this trip).

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Yellow Fever vaccine (pretty expensive in the US) was required to enter Tanzania (where we flew in/out of and visited for 2 weeks). Anti-malaria pills strongly recommended (I got 3 months supply pretty cheap in US) Got a mild case of food poisoning (likely from local restaurant, not campus). Visited a local clinic and got a weeks-worth of 3 meds (pain reducers, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory) for ~20 $US - without insurance required.

* Safety:

Never felt in real danger, though at times felt uncomfortable or a little wary. Program did well to keep us in groups or pairs.

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

I don't know if I would go back, but I'm glad the visit I got was through this program.


* 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)

Almost everything you need is paid for beforehand (food, lodging, etc.). You'll need some cash for fees and such in-country, but most of what we were purchasing were options trips, food, and souvenirs.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50-$80
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Bring large bills for better conversion rates. Bring 3-month supply of things hard to find in-country (hygiene products, snacks from home, etc.)


* 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 were encouraged to use it, but it was definitely not the focus of the program. The education and activities we were doing necessitated using English, often directly but occasionally through translators.

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 for any relavent languages
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? The one student (not me, for the record) who really excelled certainly had extra talent when it came to languages, but also dove into using it with no regard to embarrassment or miscommunication.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Educational topics
  • Tours, park visits, camping trips
  • Separation from digital life
* What could be improved?
  • Cost of attendance
  • Campus location
  • Hands-on/non-classroom learning
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Farmers markets are pretty boring if you don't need to buy groceries.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!