Kenya: A Wild Adventure!
Africa. Few places in the world evoke such pure excitement, with the prospect of seeing large mammals roaming free in their natural habitats – elephants lumbering through the bush, lions dozing in the sun, and rhinos standing deep in thought about which grassy patch to visit next. Many of us have ever only seen these behemoths in a local zoo or a tv special. Studying abroad in Kenya, not only will you have the opportunity to see these great animals in the wild, but you’ll also be observing them as a scientist, not just a tourist.
Situated in East Africa and with coastline on the Indian Ocean, Kenya boasts savannas, lakelands, mountain highlands, and the dramatic Great Rift Valley. It is home to the famous Amboseli National Park where a glance south rewards the eyes with views of towering Mt. Kilimanjaro, and each year thousands of wildebeest and zebra pound through the plains on their Great Migration.
Based in southern Kenya near the border of Tanzania, SFS offers fall and spring semester programs, a winter program, and two summer programs – a wildlife fundamentals course that also visits Tanzania and a primates specialty course. The Center is led by wildlife conservationist and elephant researcher, Dr. Moses Okello.
This is a pretty amazing place to study abroad; here are 10 reasons why:
- See the Big Five (lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo, and leopards) plus so many more incredible species including zebras, giraffes, hippos, hyenas, cheetahs, more ungulates than you can imagine, and hundreds of bird species.
- Be more than a tourist! The typical African safari lasts 8 days. You will be spending 100 days for a semester program, 19 days during a winter program, or 30 days during a summer program living and learning in this breathtaking environment.
- Visit famous national parks including the heavily elephant-populated Amboseli National Park, the Tsavo Conservation Area, as well as the beautiful rolling hills of Chyulu.
- Learn about Maasai culture. Visit traditional Maasai homesteads and learn about the history of the Maasai people. Speak with community members to hear about their livelihoods, their relationship with the environment, and the realities of human-wildlife conflict.
- Wake up to views of Kilimanjaro! The sprawling SFS campus is made up of traditional thatched bandas (cabins) and a central chumba (main building), and is not far from the friendly village of Kimana. You might even see resident dik-diks on your way to class!
- Learn some Swahili. Swahili originated as a common trade-language spoken over large parts of East Africa. You’ll have the opportunity to speak it on campus as well as in the local village and communities – it’s as easy as moja, mbili, tatu!
- Get into the community! Campus is located near the small town of Kimana. The community has a bustling weekly market and offers several local eateries. You can find colorful African fabrics, locally-made handicrafts, and strike up conversations with the locals.
- Live sustainably in Africa! On program, you’ll be joined by other passionate student environmentalists. You’ll create a sustainability code for campus and study local environmental issues firsthand such as access to Earth’s most important resource – water!
- Get to Tanzania! On the semester program, not only will you explore much of southern Kenya, but you will also head to Tanzania for two weeks on expedition camping in the famous Serengeti National Park along with visits to Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, and the stunning Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
- Are primates your thing? Primates are one of the most exciting groups of species to study due to their similarities to humans in terms of intelligence and social-ecological behavior. Spend 4 weeks of your summer learning all about the species that live in southern Kenya which include the yellow baboon, olive baboon, vervet monkey, Sykes’ monkey, Colobus monkey, and lesser and greater bush babies.