NOTE: SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, like COVID-19, SIT may have to modify programs. Visit the SIT website for more details.
Understand some of Kenya’s most pressing contemporary and societal challenges, including rapid urbanization, access to healthcare, and human rights.
Cutting-edge public health initiatives are being implemented in Kisumu, a Kenyan port city on Lake Victoria and home to the largest U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention facility outside North America. The CDC’s relationship with the Kenya Medical Research Institute, which spans four decades, offers students unparalleled access to distinguished medical professionals, scholars, and scientists. Attend classes on a campus with high-speed internet and surrounded by gardens. Learn research protocol and how to gather and analyze data from experts developing improved delivery of treatments and vaccines for infectious diseases and translating findings into policy recommendations. You’ll also study Kiswahili, the lingua franca of East Africa, and gain a range of perspectives from two homestay families, one in urban Kisumu and one in the rural hills and lakes region of Siaya County. As part of the program, you will also travel to Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi, a center for relief, health, and human rights organizations, and to Rwanda, where you will survey its significantly lower rates of HIV and malaria.
Major Topics of Study
- Housing policies and practices in Kenya and their implication for health and human rights
- Kenyan healthcare systems and healthcare challenges, including demographics, public health education, differential access to healthcare,
- Health issues in Kenya, including HIV/AIDS, health issues of orphaned and vulnerable children, women’s healthcare needs, and mental healthcare
- Links between access to and reliance on Kenyan healthcare services and the conceptions of human rights of individuals and communities
- Successful coalition-building efforts, civil society organizations, the private sector, and others pursuing community-based approaches to myriad contemporary issues
Please visit the SIT Study Abroad website for details on the program courses (including syllabi), educational excursions, and housing.
There is no "typical day" on an SIT program. Activities may take place on any day of the week and at any time of day to be in accordance with according to local norms and to take advantage of once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunities. Thus, the schedule and structure of the program are likely very different from what students are used to on their home campuses. The semester progresses in phases:
- The program begins with a thorough orientation.
- During the first two and a half months of the program, students are engaged in foundational coursework, including:
- thematic seminars, including education excursions,
- language instruction focused on improving practical communication skills, and
- a field research methods and ethics course that prepares students to conduct independent research.
- For the last month of the program, students conduct an Independent Study Project (ISP) or internship on an approved topic of their choosing.
- Finally, students present their project, participate in program evaluations, and prepare to return home.
- SIT Study Abroad offers a field-based, experiential approach to learning.
- Each program has a small group of students (typically 10–35).
- On an SIT program, students gain high levels of access to many different stakeholders and experts relevant to the issues the program is examining.
- While some learning will be conducted at the SIT program center, extensive learning is done outside the classroom — in host communities, field stations, NGO headquarters, ecological sites, health clinics, and art studios.
- Many students go on to use their Independent Study Projects as a basis for senior theses on their home campuses. Others use their undergraduate research and overall study abroad experience to successfully apply for fellowships such as Fulbrights and Watsons.
Be sure to discuss how study abroad costs are handled at your school with your study abroad advisor.
SIT tuition and room and board fees include the following:
- All educational costs, including educational excursions
- All accommodations and meals for the full program duration
- Transportation to and from the airport, and on all educational excursions
- Health and accident insurance
- SIT awards nearly $1.3 million in scholarships and grants annually.
- All scholarships and grants are need-based.
- Awards generally range from $500 to $5,000.
- The SIT Pell Grant Match provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding when it is applied to an SIT Study Abroad semester program.
- Contact the financial aid and/or study abroad office(s) at your college or university to learn if your school’s scholarships and grants and federal and state aid programs can be applied to an SIT Study Abroad program.
Contact SIT Study Abroad
Please Note: Regions within Kenya and Rwanda are considered by the U.S. Department of State to be "High Risk", and/or have an advisory of "Reconsider Travel" or "Do Not Travel". Consult UVA's Travel Alerts, Notices, & Warnings page and the Department of State Travel Advisory for Kenya and Rwanda to see if, based on your travel for University-related purposes, you must submit a petition for an exemption to the UVA Policy on Student International Travel as part of your Education Abroad application.