March 28, 2020

Student shares study abroad experience in Kenya

If there’s anything junior Keenan Russell wants you to know about traveling abroad to Kenya, it’s that “Africa is a cool place. It’s not what people probably think it is.” 

This past August, Russell took his first trip outside of the country to Kenya. 

The university offered Russell an affordable package where he was able to live and study at the United States International University (USIU) in Kenya.

Photo submitted by Keenan Russell

He roomed with a Kenyan native and took curricular courses that allowed him to expand his knowledge of the Kenyan community, while fulfilling his course requirements for Capital. 

“I took African philosophy, peace and conflict, beginners’ Swahili, and a criminology course,” he said.

Outside of continuing his rigorous course studies, Russell was able to take part in many Kenyan cultural events, making lifelong friends along the way. 

“People were more outgoing. I remember people would come up and talk to me, but it wasn’t overwhelming,” Russell said. “I made a lot of friends, fast.”

Russell’s travels included seeing some of Kenya’s beautiful wildlife. Photo submitted by Keenan Russel.

In addition to his studies, Russell also experienced safari excursions, self-exploration, and trying new foods. 

A meal plan was not included in his travel package, so he often found himself dining at local restaurants. He ate lots of rice and beans and he tried new things such as; naan, ostrich, camel, ox testicles, and Ugandan Rolex—which is like a burrito with protein’s sauce and vegetables.

But his favorite thing he tried was mango juice. “It’s my favorite drink,” he said. “I wish I could drink it every day.” 

Russell now has friends from all over the world whom he messages daily.

The opportunity to study abroad is one that Russell has no regrets about taking. To him, the journey was one thing, but the experience was what he found to be irreplaceable. He now looks forward to travelling more and is even making plans to revisit Kenya again soon. 

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