This summer, thirteen SPEA students and I will travel to Kenya for a SPEA Abroad program. For me, this involves three separate stages: the Kenya Today preparatory course, an internship with a nonprofit organization, and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) course, which is organized jointly between SPEA and Moi University in Kenya.
In the Kenya Today course, Professor Henshel provides interesting readings about Kenyan culture, politics, education, environmental issues and public health. We begin each class with a short Swahili lesson from the TA, followed by discussions about Kenyan news. We either discuss a relevant theme, such as the Millennium Development Goals, or we have conference calls with people in Kenya. The preparatory class aims to prepare us for our summer program.
When I arrive in Kenya this May, I will immediately begin work on my internship. Last semester when I approached Professor Henshel to discuss my career goals, she pointed me in the direction of Aqua Clara International. I contacted the organization and arranged an internship for the early part of summer. Professor Wakhungu has also been invaluable in helping make arrangements for the internship, and he asks several times a week if there is anything he can do to help.
After my internship, I will meet the other students in Nairobi to begin our program. We’ll spend a week meeting various non-profits, nongovernmental organizations and government agencies. We will then go to Moi University to work with Moi graduate and PhD students on health and environmental projects. The greatest benefit for me will be the opportunity to engage with environmental practitioners in Kenya. I look forward to learning best practices and opportunities for improvement that I may apply to my future work in this field.
SPEA is continuously building relationships to increase students’ opportunities to intern, study or work abroad, and that has helped me integrate my global interest into my studies. If you are interested in foreign affairs or working abroad, I am confident you will find the support you are looking for at SPEA.