Kenya

Center for Wildlife and Water Studies

Kenya

In the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Kenya’s grassy savannas, Rift Valley lakes, and mountain highlands provide habitats for an astounding diversity of life. Charismatic species such as elephants, lions, zebras, hippos, and giraffes roam this landscape, using wildlife corridors to move between national parks, sanctuaries, and protected areas. The wildlife share this region with the pastoralist Maasai people whose communities have been here for hundreds of years.

Programs

semester

Wildlife, Water, and Climate Resilience

Spend your semester in the world-famous national parks and stunning landscapes of Kenya, studying the country’s diverse wildlife – from colossal elephants to the endangered black rhinoceros – and approaches to conservation. Here, in the heart of the Great Rift Valley, climate change and natural resource availability are affecting Kenya’s ecosystems and those living in them. Research the root causes of these changes and how different conservation strategies can benefit...
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15 Weeks
18 Credits
Spring 2021

Jan 26 - May 8

Closed

Fall 2021

Aug 31 - Dec 11

Open

winter session

Foundations of Wildlife Management and Conservation

Spend your winter break exploring the rich biodiversity and stunning landscapes of Kenya where world-famous national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and protected areas are your classroom. Explore the complexity of sustainable wildlife conservation including learning how the Maasai and other communities interact with wildlife and nature. Conduct animal behavior observations on safari drives where you’ll see a range of iconic African species.
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03 Weeks
03 Credits
Winter 2021

Dec 28 - Jan 15

Closed

Winter 2022

Dec 27 - Jan 14

Open

summer session I

Fundamentals of Wildlife Management

Kenya + Tanzania. In this two-country summer study abroad program, the world-famous national parks and reserves of Kenya and Tanzania are your classrooms. Through safari drives and field excursions, study wildlife found nowhere else on the planet – in person. Discuss different approaches to wildlife management and conservation, and learn about traditional knowledge and culture from Maasai and other community groups.
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04 Weeks
04 Credits
Summer 2021

May 31 - Jun 30

Open

summer session II

Primates of the African Savanna

Primates are some of the most intelligent species on the planet and a fascinating case study on animal behavior. During this summer study abroad program, venture into Kenya’s national parks to study these complex, social creatures. Through field observations and research, learn about the ecology and behavior of Syke’s, colobus, and vervet monkeys, bush babies, and yellow and olive baboons as well as human-wildlife conflict and conservation issues.
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04 Weeks
04 Credits
Summer 2021

Jul 5 - Aug 4

Open


What Students Are Saying:


 
“This program offers so much more than your typical study abroad program. You get to live in an area of the world that most people only dream of visiting. Surrounding by acacia woodlands, the Kenya field station sits on the northern side of Mount Kilimanjaro. From the outdoor showers, you have a perfect view of the top of Kili!”
 
– Caleb, Boston University


 
“Getting to go on all-day safaris to world- famous parks almost every week was awesome, but even better were the connections I made with people, which I wasn’t expecting. We got to become a part of the community during our stay there; saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do! I also stay in touch with the group I went with; I had never met any of them before boarding the plane, but our incredible shared experiences brought us so close.”
 
– Katie, Colorado State University


 
“There are infinite aspects of Kenya that I will never forget and will miss dearly. The wildlife, nature and overall surroundings were stunning. The spellbinding African stars are indescribably spectacular and are incomparable to anywhere else in the world that I have traveled to. I doubt I will ever be in a classroom with acacia trees with baboons swinging around in them right outside again.”
 
– Ellie, Franklin University (Switzerland)

 

Where You'll Be Living

The Center lies in the heart of Kenya’s Rift Valley, between three world-famous national parks. The snow-capped peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro towers over miles of savanna, replete with a diversity of wildlife. Our sprawling, grassy campus includes thatched bandas (cabins) and a central chumba (main building), just down the road from the small town of Kimana.

  • Dorm living with 4-person bandas
  • Chumba contains classroom, computer lab, and study spaces
  • Kitchen and dining hall, on-site cooking staff
  • Campus offers amazing views of Mt. Kilimanjaro
  • One-mile running trail on campus
  • Volleyball, soccer, Frisbee, and fire pit
Click here to read stories from students, staff, and faculty on our blog

 
 
 

Program Costs

Study abroad is an investment in yourself – you’ll return home with new experiences, skills, knowledge, and friendships that will stay with you for the rest of your life. SFS program costs cover a variety of expenses, including:
 

  • Pre-program advising and on-site orientation
  • Tuition and research fees
  • Housing at the field station and on excursions
  • Daily meals and snacks
  • Airport transfers (for arrival/departure)
  • Field excursions and cultural activities
  • Student success and wellness team on site
  • 24/7 mental health and well-being support
  • Emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance
  • Official transcript processing

View Kenya Program Costs

Financial Aid

We know cost can be one of the biggest barriers to studying abroad. At SFS, we’re committed to making our programs accessible to students which is why we award more than $650,000 in need-based financial aid each year. Our Admissions Team has worked with thousands of students and are here to answer your questions about the SFS aid process, aid available through your home school, and funding from external sources.
 
SFS Financial Aid: Need-based aid packages typically consist of a combination of scholarships, grants, and zero- and low-interest loans. SFS matches Federal Pell Grant funding for students applying to an SFS semester program.

Home School Aid: Be sure to ask your home school study abroad office or financial aid office what financial aid resources might be available to support your study abroad experience.

External Funding Opportunities: Organizations such as the Fund for Education Abroad or the Gilman International Scholarship Program award scholarships to students going abroad. These can be a great opportunity to reduce the cost of your program even more.
 
Learn More about Financial Aid


 
 
 

 

Research

Research at the SFS Center for Wildlife and Water Studies focuses on the ways in which climate change is impacting the region’s wildlife populations and natural resources. We explore how Kenya’s wildlife, ecosystems, and communities are responding to environmental threats, as we research wildlife management and community-based conservation strategies that can help build a more sustainable future. Students and faculty engage with national park staff, regional conservation experts and wildlife specialists, Maasai and other Indigenous peoples, NGOs, and landowners to gain different perspectives and contribute research data to the community.
 
Our research focuses primarily on the following themes:

  • Wildlife management & conservation
  • Climate change impacts
  • Large mammal & primate behavior
  • Wildlife ecology
  • Community-based conservation approaches
  • Human-wildlife conflict
  • Natural resource management approaches
  • Protected areas management

Environmental Issues

Our Centers are strategically located in regions facing critical environmental issues. Students and faculty study these issues and collect data to help facilitate sustainable responses. In Kenya, we’re currently investigating the following issues:

Climate Change
Biodiversity Conservation
Land Use Change
Tourism Impacts
Natural Resource & Water Management
Sustainable Livelihoods
Learn More About the Issues

Community

Kimana, Kenya

 
SFS is an active part of the Kimana community, where we have been based for over two decades.

We have built long-term, collaborative relationships in the communities around the Center, and developed our research plans based on the environmental issues they and the surrounding ecosystems face. Throughout the program, students visit local markets and neighboring boma (Maasai homestead), spend the day with a local family, participate in traditional Maasai celebrations, take part in outreach and community service in local schools and villages, and join in local sports.

At the end of each semester program, we host a Community Research Night where select students will present their research findings to the community. SFS research data is shared with the community, national parks and conservation areas, local NGOs, and the Kenyan government.
 

Read stories about our community in Kenya
Kenya-Phebe_Myers-Photo-Contest-2013-9-community-1