An educational and powerful adventure 7,000 miles away from home Past Review

By (International Relations And Global Studies, Tufts University) - abroad from 01/16/2012 to 04/28/2012 with

University of Minnesota - MSID: International Development in Kenya

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I grew personally and became more able to live independently. I also learned how to work and live with different people from diverse backgrounds. I have a new perspective about the role of government for its people and learned about poverty and social programs from people struggling to get by daily.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The semester was separated into classes and then a research/internship phase. Learning about Kenyan-specific history, culture, politics, economics, etc. allowed me to better engage with the environment and more fully understand the context what I was seeing daily. The program combines academic coursework with experiential learning, which proved to be the most valuable portion of the trip for me.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff was constantly available for any needs of the students. The staff had close connections with host families and could serve as a connection between you and the family. After dealing with so many American students, they had a strong understanding of possible cultural shock/ barriers.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

For the students who did get sick on the program, they were moved to Nairobi and seen by specialists at a private hospital.

* Safety:

The program staff took appropriate actions to deal with dangerous environments and other incidents in the city (living in the capital is generally unsafe) when they did occur.

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
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

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

A large portion of Kenyans students come into contact with speak English, but the program encourages you to use Swahili with your host families.

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
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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
  • Other
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?
  • Research/internship phase
  • The other students
  • The staff
* What could be improved?
  • More interaction with locals (outside of the host family) during the first phase
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Go with no expectations.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.