Patti McGill Peterson Center for International and Intercultural Studies
“If I close my eyes I can still see the bright lavender of the jacaranda trees; the rich red color of the dirt roads in the western province, the pink bougainvillea draped along whitewashed walls. I can still hear African music jangling from kiosk radios and the blast of horns from overflowing matatus.”
Lying on the Equator, Kenya has a unique and varied landscape and is home to a diverse population of over 40 million. The thin, tropical band along the Indian Ocean gives way to vast, semi-arid savannas that dominate 70 percent of the country and support several pastoralist populations. The Central and western regions are characterized by well-watered fertile agricultural zones which are densely populated. Cutting a swath through the center of the country is the Great Rift Valley, flanked by magnificent escarpments, volcanic massifs and the snowcapped peaks of Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest summits. To the west, the country is bounded by Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile River.
The cosmopolitan capital city of Nairobi, rising from the plateau of south-central Kenya, is the home base of our program. A city with over three million residents, Nairobi is East Africa's regional center for trade and is one of three cities in the world to host a regional headquarters of the United Nations. Based in this vibrant and diverse city students will gain familiarity with the urban environment while also visiting many of the rural areas, where approximately 80 percent of the country's population resides.
The programs headquarters are located in beautiful Karen, a suburb of Nairobi, where St. Lawrence owns a 5 acre gated campus. Students use the campus as a home base for the semester, but only spend about 8 weeks living here. The two faculty directors, as well as program staff, also live on campus. Students spend time during the semester traveling throughout Kenya and East Africa on various course components.
“On a personal
level, I recall the hospitality of the Kenyan people, from my village family to
a family I lived with in Nairobi, to the generosity of total strangers.”