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East Africa Field School

Location

Naivasha, Nanyuki, Kajiado County, Machakos County, Dar es Salaam, Kenya, Tanzania

Program Description

Designed to serve majors from many different disciplines, JMU’s East Africa Field School (6 weeks, 9 credit hours) offers a unique opportunity to learn about peoples, cultures, and environments of contemporary Kenya and Tanzania through direct interaction. The program focuses on three broad themes, each supported via site visits, homestays, lectures, readings, and Kiswahili lessons:

1. Histories and Cultures of Kenya – the diversity of cultures extant in Kenya, the impact of colonialism on Kenya, governance, and the meaning of post-colonialism and nationalism in the context of Kenya.

2. Human-Environment Interactions and the Quest for Sustainability – dimensions of rural life in two districts of Kenya, impacts of major cities in Kenya, varied land uses and pressures on the land, and use and potential of renewables, with comparative considerations in all areas.

3. Education in Kenya – the history of the education system in Kenya, its challenges and achievements, and local responses to the educational system.

Students are also able to participate in internships and earn additional credit hours (4 weeks, 6 credit hours) through opportunities with our partners specializing in sustainability projects, education, health sciences, and more.

Location Description

JMU’s East Africa Field School takes place amidst the extraordinary geographic and cultural diversity of Kenya and Tanzania. East Africa is largely comprised of plateaus – among the highest in all of Africa – and those plateaus feature world-renown savannas and wildlife, including, of course, the Big Five. Kenya and Tanzania possess impressive geographic features, such as a part of the Great Rift Valley, Africa’s two tallest mountains (glacier-topped Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya), stunning coastal regions and coral reefs, additional biodiversity hotspots in the forms of salt and freshwater lakes (including Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake), arable highlands rich with volcanic soils, and much more. Hubs of industry and international activity, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam are among Africa’s largest cities and have populations of over 3 million and 4 million, respectively. Most East Africans live in smaller towns and rural areas, but remain connected in many ways to the towns and big cities.

Director

Jennifer Coffman | coffmaje@jmu.edu | ISAT

Accommodations

Lodging varies throughout our program and includes guest houses/hotels, homestays (i.e., living with host families), tented camps, and residence halls. Students will typically stay in pairs, and occasionally in larger groups.

All meals will be provided as part of the program.

Additional Items to Consider

· This program is an intensive field school. This means a lot of traveling in the six-week program, as well as some hiking and camping. On occasion, some accommodations have minimal facilities (i.e., no running water or grid-tied electricity in some homestays).

· Certain immunizations and anti-malarial medications are required; see http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/tanzania and http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/kenya.htm for details.

· Visas are required to enter the countries.

· Cell phones will be provided by the program, and students will use a “pay-as-you-go” system popular in East Africa.

A detailed packing list is provided upon acceptance into the program.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.75

Application Process

For this program, students need to complete the online application (a $25 fee required), which includes:

  • Short essay
  • Recommendation
  • Interview with director
  • Official transcript required for first-semester transfer and non-JMU students.

Online Application Coming Soon

Application Deadline

Dates


All dates are tentative and subject to change

Courses

ANTH 391 / HIST 391 / GEOG 350 / ISAT 480 / SOCI 391: East Africa Field School Core: Human-Environment Interactions and Perspectives on Development (3 credits)

GEOG 490 / ISAT 480: Political Ecology in East Africa (3 credits)

SWA 101 / SWA 102 / SWA 231 / SWA 232: Swahili - different levels depending on ability (3 credits)

SWA 490: Special Studies in Swahili (3 credits)

ANTH 391 / GEOG 491 / ISAT 480 / IDLS 490: Guided Field Study (3 credits)

ANTH 391 / GEOG 491 / IDLS 480 / SOCI 391: Study Abroad: Internship (3-6 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.

Cost