Kenya: Pushing your limits to discover who you really are. Past Review

By (Health Administration, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign) for

University of Minnesota - MSID: International Development in Kenya

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned more than I even thought I could. I knew nothing about Africa or Kenya and now I know so much more than I can probably even explan. It has made me realize some interests I did not even know I had, and consider a future I never thought of. I would say befor I came here I was prety well culturally diverse, but, experiencing a non-european culture has truly been a golden experience. This has changed me for the better and there is no doubt about it.

Review Photos

University of Minnesota: Multiple - MSID - International Development in Kenya Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The work load seemed to be large at first because we lacked the resources we were so privlidged to have back in the States. Once you got used to limitations on information, it seemed to get easier. The foriegn language program within this program was aweful. It would have been more benificial to have Kiswahili once a day everyday for an hour, but instead sometimes they would clump 4 hours at a time, for only two days a week. It was an overload. The due dates for things were always negotioable and the professors were always more than understanding on this programe.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Accessibility is horrible in Kenya. BBeing in a deveoping country you really learn how slow things are and unefficient people are. The internet would not always work, or sometimes there was not electricity to charge things or read books. Books were out dated. This program though was 100% supportive and understanding to the fact that we were American students, experiencing these troubles and frustrations for the first timem really. They helped open our eyes to this world, and were always there for discussion. They were the perfect support, and beyond encouraging. My expectations of the program were met completely.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved the fact that my programe required you to live with host families. It really is one of the best parts of the experience because you are fully submerged into the culture. No matter what you do in life there will always be adjustments, and that is all this was, was another adjustment to life. It was an amazing and rich experience that I formed really great relationships.

* Food:

The only trouble was cultural differences. I am a vegitarian and most Kenyans do no understand that choice of not eating meat. Some people could not understand why I would not eat meat, but other would respect it. Sometimes I was given way too much food to eat, but never was given too little. The great thing about this programe is you eat with your family and they introduce you to the cultural dishes and even can recommend places to go. Mine as well as other students favorite restaurants were the Ethiopean restaurants!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The programe took us to a bunch of places to see. We went to differnt parts of the city and witnessed the slums. We saw where people do hard work labor for so cheap. The beginig of our programe was spent on the beautiful Lake Nakuru where were had out orientation and safari rides. We also visited the Ogiek people which was an amazing experience to see this tibe and how the government and laws have affected these wonderful people. There are endless experiences and opprotunities that I will forever cherrish.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

They really drill into your head to be careful at all times. Nairobi is not a safe place after sun set and they make sure to let you know that. Essentially just using your comment sense and always being aware of your surroundings. The health system is a different story. I personally never have gotten sick yet, but other have had trouble with doctors here and being told what was wrong with them. Getting medication though is not hard.

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?

I would practice most my Kiswahili with my waiters. My host family that I was staying with was always busy and didn't have the pateince to speak kiswahili with me, and most Kenyans for that matter would speak English to me purely because I was white. When I did try and speak Kiswahili they would either laugh at me, or be really helpful.

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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Keep an open mind. That is the one thing to come on this program with. I'm a true believer that anyone can do this, as long as their heart is in it. There were plenty of us who did not know what we were doing or looking to get out of this promgrame when we first came... but we left with something great. Unexplainable, but fulfilling beyond means.