By: Jacob Handel

Posted: February 11, 2019
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Student Post

First Impressions of Kenya

As the Spring 2019 SFS students begin to settle into their new homes around the world, we asked them to share their impressions of the experience so far. Makenna Kull had this to say about SFS Kenya:

Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
I wanted the opportunity to study abroad in an entirely unique environment from what I experience in the United States. As a biology major at Clemson, most of my typical classes are concentrated solely on the natural and technical sciences. By traveling to Kenya and studying with SFS, I saw that I would be able to incorporate the concepts I have learned in my typical university classes to study and analyze actual communities and environments.

What are your first impressions of the country?
Upon arriving in Kenya, I noticed how beautiful the landscape was. Although I had expectations of what it would look like, it was even more stunning than I had expected. I also noted how calm and happy all of the locals appeared to be. Although I didn’t speak any Swahili, everyone I talked to was extremely kind and willing to teach me a few phrases. The country is truly inspiring.

What are your first impressions of the field station?
The center is absolutely stunning and beyond exceed my expectations! My banda (room) is spacious and comfortable. On a simple trip to the bathroom, I have a clear view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The vervet monkeys and duikers glide between the trees surrounding the campus. The food is authentic and delicious and the cook staff is very accommodating to my fellow students’ dietary restrictions. I am excited to spend the rest of the semester in such a beautiful campus!


Photo courtesy of Evan Fricke

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester, both academically and culturally?
I think that the most academically challenging part of the semester will be staying focused on my curriculum all day for 6 days a week. Although the classes are very unique and interesting, this style of learning is very different from that in typical American universities. Although I am sure I will get adjusted quickly, the academic schedule is very rigorous and variable. The most difficult part of cultural adjustment for me will probably be the language barrier. Most locals speak a little English, but it is definitely intimidating trying to communicate and adjust to a new culture without knowing much of the language.

What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?
I am most looking forward to the Directed Research portion of the curriculum. After evaluating problems facing the surrounding communities and wildlife for the first part of the semester, I am excited to study the implications of a particular issue and propose possible solutions.

Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Excited, Opportunistic, Inspired



Photo courtesy of Courtney Grogan

→ Wildlife and Water Studies in Kenya

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