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AU Nairobi | Housing

AU Nairobi programs provide various housing components in a semester or academic year:

picture of a group of au students and kenyans standing among green bushes and trees


AU Nairobi staff provide students an intensive orientation in hotels both in and out of Nairobi during a multi-day orientation. Students will be exposed to a brief history of their Kenyan surroundings, tangible guides on survival Swahili, interactions with different kinds of Kenyans in various neighborhoods, a description of behavioral expectations, and learn how to best use security guidelines to the best effect. During orientation, host family profiles are shared with each AU Nairobi student.

picture of a male au nairobi student meeting his kenyan homestay mom with a woman checking her phone behind them

An AU Nairobi student meeting his homestay mom


One of the fastest and best ways to learn about Kenya and its people is simply living with them. AU Nairobi students are required to complete a homestay questionnaire and write a letter about themselves as part of their AU Nairobi application. Each homestay is vetted by the program to maintain the highest security and hosting standards. After orientation is complete, AU Nairobi students continue to learn about Kenya by living with a Kenyan host family at the beginning of the semester. The AU Nairobi homestay experience lasts between three and four weeks, but the relationships that are formed between AU Nairobi students and their homestay families last far beyond this period. This is the ideal opportunity for each AU Nairobi student to engage with Nairobi culture through your host family in learning Swahili and other languages, history, foods, culture and political affair. At the end of the homestay, Contemporary Issues in Kenya & Africa and Public Health students move into shared apartments.

image of a student in their living room in student apartments in nairobi

Shared Apartments

Apartments that AU Nairobi Contemporary Issues in Kenya & Africa and Public Health students live in are completely furnished and have 24 hour gated security. Their amenities surpass those found in student accommodations in Washington, DC. The grounds include a resident gym and pool, as well as on-site management and maintenance. Each apartment includes self-contained kitchens with a fridge, microwave, kettle and a large collection of dishware, cutlery, glassware, pots and pans, a pantry, en-suite bedrooms, spacious living rooms with a separate dining area, an apartment safe and a laundry room. Other services at, or around, the apartments are convenient for the students. There is a small grocery store, a bakery, a pharmacy barber’s shop, office and photocopy and internet services all in this locality. These apartments are a 15-minute walk to shopping centers, restaurants, public transportation, and the AU Nairobi Center.

picture of an au nairobi caucasian male student with his western kenya host father, mother, and three children

An AU Nairobi student with his rural homestay family in rural western Kenya.

Rural Homestays

Another component to the student experience as residents of Kenya is living with families for at least a few nights in a rural setting. AU Nairobi students travel outside of Nairobi with program staff and have individual homestays in communities with strong bonds, to see what life is like without the amenities AU Nairobi students are used to. Previous students have considered this particular experience transformative in their ongoing development in becoming adults.

Environment & Human Health Students

Environment & Human Health students will be sharing some of the same housing experiences with Contemporary Issues in Kenya & Africa students, but also have drastically different housing situations during the semester. Environment & Human Health students will be taking a course and living at the Turkana Basin Institute in northern Kenya for two weeks. Depending on where students in this program do independent research or have an internship, the housing at the end of the semester can vary from sharing an apartment in Nairobi with other students to living in a western Kenya homestay to staying at a wild life refuge or something similar. At the very end of the semester, all Environment & Human Health students meet with AU Nairobi staff and Contemporary Issues in Kenya & Africa students for an excursion to review your time in Kenya.

"I have learned so much from my time here; Kenya has changed my life for the better."

-Student Evaluation

an AU Nairobi student's room she decorated herself with quotes and photos on the wall and a made bed
AU Nairobi students decorate their housing space as they see fit

"It's a wonderful experience that opens the doors to doing actual work in the field and experiencing a different lifestyle."

-Student Evaluation