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Explore the Options!

Browse through the programs offered in Nairobi below. Click on each program title for more detailed information.

Don't attend American University? You can still participate in one of our programs! All AU Nairobi programs are open to undergraduate students from an accredited university. The faculty and staff in Nairobi know that you will bring fresh perspectives and different types of experiences to the classes, trips, and other activities in Nairobi. They truly enjoy getting to know you and all of the students in the program, regardless of where you come from. Moreover, since everyone is studying together with AU Nairobi, you and all of the other students will together form your own unique student culture with different dynamics compared to your schools back home. Therefore, if you do not go to school at AU, don't worry. You will definitely feel welcome and a part of the group in Nairobi!

AU students visit the giraffe sanctuary in Karen, Kenya.

Program Structure

Kenya's diversity allows for abundant academic and research opportunities. The AU Nairobi Contemporary Issues in Kenya and Africa program allows students interested in international studies, history, gender, development, and other subjects to obtain an internship at a Kenyan-run organization in Nairobi while pursuing academic interests at the AU Nairobi Center and at a local university. To enrich the student experience, housing varies between urban and rural homestays, in addition to shared apartment living in a vibrant Nairobi neighborhood. AU Nairobi program excursions in various parts of Kenya deepen academic and personal understanding of all Kenya has to offer. Students on this program in the fall will share part of their experience with Public Health students, and in the spring with Environment & Human Health students. This program is worth 16 credits per semester.

Year Long Students

The Contemporary Issues in Kenya and Africa program has the capability to accommodate both semester and year-long students. For year-long students, the fall semester is usually packed with the regular class load and internship, while the spring semester is customized for each student's academic needs through independent study, multiple courses at the partner university, or in additional internship hours.

Academics

Internship

SABD-391; 3 credits

The internship is a vital part of students' growth and knowledge in such an urban African city as Nairobi. Opportunities are plenty for students to intern with organizations which allow "on the ground" experience and direct interaction with partners and managers in a variety of fields. Many alumni of the program have found their internship to be the most eye opening in terms of the direction their academic and professional goals change and expand beyond this experience.

Kiswahili

SWAH-xxx; 3 credits

Kiswahili is spoken by more than 100 million Africans in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern Congo and northern Mozambique, southern Sudan and several islands off the Indian Ocean. We offer all levels of Kiswahili for to suit your academic needs. Being able to master basic skills in Kiswahili is rewarding for several reasons -- it allows you to develop a good rapport with Kenyans you meet in your daily interactions, it separates you from tourists, and it opens you up to learning other Bantu-based languages that a third of Africans speak. It's also fun. This course is taught at the AU Nairobi Center.

Social and Political History of Kenya

HIST-314; 3 credits

This course is an introductory seminar on Kenya's history, culture, and politics, and is tailored to give students an in-depth exploration of the country's history, its diverse cultures, and provide important context of its national political institutions. It is expected that at the end of this course, students will have attained some understanding of how Kenya came to be, how it relates to the international community and what internal and external challenges the country is grappling with. The academic structure combines intensive readings, classroom discussion, and archival research in order to provide a broad yet focused overview. Books and articles assigned for the course can be found in Nairobi bookshops, in the AU Nairobi library, and in online databases. You will be allowed to turn in most assignments via email. Students will be expected to conduct original research for this class, with a focus on fieldwork or archival visits.This course is taught at the AU Nairobi Center.

Institutional Strengthening in Kenya

SISA-341; 3 credits

Kenya has a vibrant civil society made up of thousands of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups that represent community interests and provide crucial social services to many of its citizens. This course will focus on these different organizations. Students will have the opportunity to study locally-based NGOs through their structures, their approach to particular issues in development, the challenges they face, and the overall political and social context in which these organizations operate. This course is closely linked with students' internship placements. Students will be expected to gain first-hand experience through observing and participating in the work of at least one developmental organization. Through internship organizations that depend largely on financial grants, students will create a model grant proposal as a major assignment. This course is taught at the AU Nairobi Center.

Immersion in Another Culture

SABD-325; 1 credit

This course is designed to facilitate your immersion into Kenyan culture in order to maximize your study abroad experience. The class will look at aspects of Kenya's diverse and complex culture in the context of being an international student. We will explore cultural patterns, identity, ethnicity, gender and stereotypes through an anthropological lens. Guest lecturers will be invited to share their expertise on specific topics. All local and extended stay excursions for the semester are part of your grade for this course.

Choice of:

Geographies of Gender in Development

WGSS-350; 3 credits

This course will investigate a number of competing conceptions of development within the African context from a gendered perspective. The underlying political, economic, social, and gender dynamics that make "development" a continuing global problem will be explored by looking at issues such as health and reproductive rights, livelihoods and land rights, as well as human security and political participation. It will examine women's contributions to, challenges to, and revisions of the terms of key conceptual and political debates in development. The course will begin with theoretical approaches to gender and development and feminist critiques. It will then turn to specific broad themes including nationalism, post-colonial state and women, connections between development, peace and gender equality, indigenous and local knowledge practices, and women's resistance, agency, and identity. This course is taught at the AU Nairobi Center.

OR

A Class at a Partner University

3 credits

Students can choose to take one class at the United States International University (USIU) in Nairobi, in place of the Geographies of Gender in Development course offered through the AU Nairobi Center. USIU uses an American system of higher education and is the largest private secular university in East Africa. It is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and by the Government of Kenya. USIU offers Business Studies, Information Technology, International Relations, and Journalism, among other courses. Keep in mind that course offerings are dependent on the schedule of AU Nairobi courses and due to security reasons students cannot take courses beginning or ending after dusk.

"Kenya is an amazing country and you have the opportunity to see so much of it in different settings. The internship component is a really unique opportunity and through classes and experiences I learned more about what I am interested in that my other four semesters at AU."
- Student Evaluation

AU student and supervisor in the lab where student interned

Program Structure

Nairobi, Kenya is the center of medical and health studies for East Africa. For public health students who desire to study in Kenya during the fall or spring semester, this 17-credit AU Nairobi program is a perfect fit.

The AU Nairobi Public Health program provides strong academics, an "on the ground" urban internship experience, and has students create a community health survey for a rural population - all within a well-structured and dynamic setting. Our partnership with the University of Nairobi School of Public Health provides AU Nairobi public health students with a stimulating study environment, and an academic wherewithal to understand issues of public health in Kenya specifically and the developing world in general.

Most courses are front-loaded during the first part of the semester so that students can build up to full-time hours at their internships the rest of the semester. Housing varies between urban and rural homestays, in addition to shared apartment living in a vibrant Nairobi neighborhood. AU Nairobi program excursions in various parts of Kenya deepen academic and personal understanding of all Kenya has to offer.

While AU Nairobi public health students are not allowed to undertake any activities that might be considered practice in medicine, students can shadow the doctors, accompany healthcare providers on home visits, organize and digitize medical records and participate in various public health education campaigns in communities where they intern.

If a public health student has already taken a class from the list below, only in this circumstance is it possible for a student to take a course from the Contemporary Issues in Kenya and Africa program.

Academics (Fall or Spring)

Community Public Health

PUBH-330; 3 credits

This course discusses processes involved in a systematic approach to the development, implementation and evaluation of community diagnosis as part of interventions that set out to improve public health, with an emphasis on applications in community settings. Upon completion of the course, students will understand the role of community diagnosis in health planning and evaluation and describe procedures involved in conducting a community diagnosis survey. This course is taught at the University of Nairobi for the AU Nairobi Public Health program with a rural component in western Kenya.

Internship

SABD-391; 3 credits The internship is a vital part of students' growth and knowledge in such an urban African city as Nairobi. Opportunities are plenty for students to intern with organizations which allow "on the ground" experience and direct interaction with partners and managers in the public health arena. Many alumni of the Public Health program have found their Nairobi internship placements to be integral to their academic and professional development in the field.

Environmental Health

ENVS-324; 3 credits

This course will examine the physical, chemical and biological factors in the environment that impact community health and health behaviors. The concept and methods of risk assessment will be discussed, as well as how health‐supportive environments can be created and maintained. This course is taught at the University of Nairobi for the AU Nairobi Public Health program.

Fundamentals of Epidemiology

PUBH-340; 3 credits

This course covers the fundamentals of epidemiology. Epidemiology is one of the disciplines of public health that is concerned with prevention and control of diseases and other health‐related conditions in populations. At the end of the course, students shall be able to apply the basic epidemiological concepts in public health practice. Students need to have taken Basic Statistics prior to registering for this course. This course is taught at the University of Nairobi for the AU Nairobi Public Health program.

Kiswahili

SWAH-xxx; 3 credits

Kiswahili is spoken by more than 100 million Africans in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern Congo and northern Mozambique, southern Sudan and several islands off the Indian Ocean. Being able to master basic skills in Kiswahili is rewarding for several reasons -- it allows you to develop a good rapport with Kenyans you meet in your daily interactions, it separates you from tourists, and it opens you up to learning other Bantu-based languages that a third of Africans speak. It's also fun. This course is taught at the AU Nairobi Center.

Immersion in Another Culture

SABD-325; 1 credit

This course is designed to facilitate your immersion into Kenyan culture in order to maximize your study abroad experience. The class will look at aspects of Kenya's diverse and complex culture in the context of being an international student. We will explore cultural patterns, identity, ethnicity, gender and stereotypes through an anthropological lens. Guest lecturers will be invited to share their expertise on specific topics. Although this course is based at the AU Nairobi Center, all local and extended stay excursions for the semester are part of your earned grade.

Kenya History Survey

SABD-325; 1 credit

This course seeks to provide a history of Kenya through a range of topics from: Pre-colonial Kenya societies; establishment of colonialism, the settlement of Kenya by the Europeans and colonial economy; anti-colonial African nationalism; the world wars and their impacts on Kenya; the Mau Mau revolution; and Kenya in the post-colonial Cold War context. We will also examine the most pressing issues facing Kenya in the period of Neo-liberal reforms and the globalization of the twenty first century. Examining these themes will serve as our introduction to history of Kenya in hope that, this history will give the students a contextual understanding of contemporary Kenya and its peoples. This course is taught at the AU Nairobi Center.

"I would recommend this program to other students because I gained so much from being here. I have grown so much both in knowledge of my field and as a person. I can confidently say that choosing to study abroad in Kenya was the best decision that I made. I have learned so much from my time here; Kenya has changed my life for the better."
- Student Evaluation

Students at the base of large Baobab tree

Program Structure

The Environment and Human Health (EHH) program is a unique opportunity for students interested in environmental issues, public health, and international studies who want to pursue varied opportunities in Kenya's diverse landscape. EHH students will have orientation and take courses for about a month in Nairobi while living in a homestay alongside Contemporary Issues in Kenya and Africa and/or Environment & Human Health students, and then move to Amboseli for about two weeks for the conservation course described below. EHH students will join Contemporary Issues in Kenya & Africa students in western Kenya for a rural homestay experience. EHH students will then move to the Turkana Basin Institute to take an intensive course in northern Kenya for about two weeks. Environment and Human Health students will then pursue an internship or independent research project for the remaining portion of the semester in Nairobi or another Kenyan location determined by program staff that suits each student's academic needs. Students in this program will then finish the semester with the Contemporary Issues in Kenya and Africa students for a final excursion to wrap up the semester. This program is worth 15 or 16 credits.

Academics
In Nairobi

Overlook of buildings with patios and hanging laundry

Environmental Health

ENVS-324; 3 credits

This course will examine the physical, chemical and biological factors in the environment that impact community health and health behaviors. The concept and methods of risk assessment will be discussed, as well as how health‐supportive environments can be created and maintained. This course can count as a Public Health elective and is taught at the AU Nairobi Center.

Group of Kenyans with rainbow umbrella

Immersion in Another Culture, Survival Swahili, and Kenya History

SABD-325; 3 credits

This course is designed to facilitate your immersion into Kenyan Culture in order to maximize your study abroad experience. The class will look at aspects of Kenya's diverse and complex culture in the context of being an international student. We will explore cultural patterns, identity, ethnicity, gender and stereotypes through an anthropological lens. Guest lecturers will be invited to share their expertise on specific topics. Language training in "survival" Kiswahili will also be included in this course. Kiswahili is the largest and fastest growing African-based language spoken in Africa. It is the lingua franca for most of East Africa and parts of Central Africa, spoken by 100 - 150 million people in various capacities. It is also the national or official language of at least five nations; Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Union of the Comoros. Finally, this course will focus on Kenyan history. You will be able to navigate your semester more thoroughly through this context. This course is taught at the AU Nairobi Center.

In Amboseli

View of river near Lake Turkana

Environmental Conservation and Social Science

SABD-325; 3 credits

This course is conducted at the Mpala Research Center, and examines global and local dimensions in the conservation of the environment including its ecosystems and biodiversity. It looks to identify challenges and also attempts to consider best-case scenarios for successful and sustainable conservation measures. This course can count as a Public Health elective.

In Turkana

Giraffe drinking from pond at Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Environments, Ecosystems and Evolution

ENVS-311; 3 credits

This course is taken at the Turkana Basin Institute founded by Dr. Richard Leakey and Stony Brook University in northern Kenya. This course offers an introduction to the ways scientists use the fossil and archaeological records to learn about past changes in Earth's climates, environments, and animal communities, and how humanity's ancestors responded to those changes physiologically and technologically. Interdisciplinary lectures will show evidence from the Turkana Basin's paleoenvironmental, fossil and archaeological records of the dynamic interactions between the climate,environment, local food webs, and ancient human populations. This background will prepare students for training in paleoanthropological and archaeological field methods.

Program Choice

Student watching sunset at Lake Turkana

Environmental Science Independent Project

SABD-325; 3 or 4 credits

Students will spend the final weeks of the program pursuing a full-time independent research project (3 or 4 credits) or internship (3 credits), located in Nairobi or at other select sites in Kenya under the program's direction. Subjects focused on included permaculture, lake biology and ecosystems, wildlife management, and sanitation and epidemics, any of which can be examined against the social categories that have come to serve as units of analysis in the social science research. Examples of such independent research projects or internships could include but are not limited to: issues of women empowerment in the fishing industry; HIV/AIDS and and the fishing culture; Kenyan youth contributions in the environmental conservation; and how devolution of government resources impact on wildlife management.

"The program courses were some of the most academically engaging classes I have taken and actually challenged me to rethink a lot of things I thought I knew about development. study abroad in Kenya was the best decision that I made. I have learned so much from my time here; Kenya has changed my life for the better."
- Student Evaluation

A student teaching computer programs for their internship

Are you be a student who is excited to see what life in Kenya is like, but doesn't want to commit to a whole semester? Do you want some academic excitement but can't take time out of their packed schedule during the school year? Are you interested in an academic internship that has nothing to do with your major or minor? Students who wish to experience Kenya for a short period of time can attend this summer internship program in Nairobi! AU Nairobi has planned for students to live in Nairobi homestays, intern four days each week, and attend individual seminars that complement the experiential component of the program. This six week program is worth three credits.