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Narok, Nairobi, Kenya

Program Description

Join us in exploring the magic of East Africa in this unique interdisciplinary program. This study abroad opportunity gives you a chance to gain cross cultural skills, make global friendships, meet personal and academic growth goals, and experience life in a much more focused, simplified, relational way. While you will be challenged to step out of your comfort zone, you will also be rewarded with a greater understanding of global unity, disparity, relationship, humanity, charity, generosity, and culture. The special setting in a rural part of Kenya, 3 hours from Nairobi, allows you to taste Maasai culture in a way that will have you convinced you just walked into a Nat Geo documentary! All this in a way that keeps your safety and health as the number one priority.

This experience will be of interest to those exploring all levels of education, health sciences, social justice, social entrepreneurship, NGOs, art/art education, occupational therapy, engineering, conservation, drama, environmental issues, and many more. The quality experiences will be focused on Nasaruni Academy, an academic campus of 137 Maasai girls (ages 4 - 15) where we will be staying in the Madison camp adjacent to the school, surrounded by herds of cattle and sheep and goats. You will be invited to sample village life up close and personal, see greater poverty and greater joy than you can imagine, and even experience a safari in the world renowned Maasai Mara game reserve.

You will have opportunities to build relationships with the students and teachers, observe and conduct lessons, help prepare classroom materials, play sports, teach health & hygiene, examine the creation of an NGO, work on solving water or other environmental issues. You will be interacting in the local community, shopping, taking cultural excursions, and just soaking up the richness of the culture. There are no friendlier people on the planet! While your involvement will make a tangible difference to these girls and the staff, you will likely be the ones who are most impacted by the experience. This trip could change your life!

Location Description

Kenya is considered one of the most diverse countries of Africa! It is home to the Great Rift Valley and the Maasai Mara national park, both of which we will explore and enjoy.

Cultural excursions will include visits to villages where the families of Nasaruni students live, in earthen dwellings, with very basic necessities and few comforts. Prepare to be shocked by the genuine joy they exhibit and their lavish hospitality they extend to us.

The flora and fauna of East Africa will delight you as we experience a safari trip, a volcano rim walk, and an animal orphanage.

Narok is also home to Maasai Mara University where we will engage with local students and participate in some lectures. 

Staying in Madison Camp--Kenya allows the participants to live in close proximity with the girls at Nasaruni Academy, and be immersed in the semi-rural cultural surroundings of the Maasai community. The setting is just outside of the more semi-urban environment of Narok, within about a 12-15 minute drive.

Public transportation to Narok is readily available and costs only 50 cents, though students would need to walk to the main road about 1 km. This is a very safe community where neighbors all know each other and welcome the Americans with open hospitality and genuine care and curiosity.


Michelle Cude | | MSME


Accommodations for the participants will be generally in Madison Camp--Kenya. This is a tented safari-type camp, with permanent tents with beds with mattresses and bedding, toilets nearby, and a full kitchen facility and meeting/work area. Laundry will be done in the outside area within the camp in the true Maasai fashion. Tents vary in size, with some housing 8 students, and others 2 students. Madison Camp--Kenya was built to house westerners in enough comfort and style but also stay true to the cultural context of East Africa. It is located adjacent to the Nasaruni Academy where students will interact with the girls at the Academy and their teachers.

Three meals will be provided daily as a part of the program, in addition to Masala chai (tea time) most days. They will be served on site, prepared by a local chef who is hired for the duration of the program. The menu will respect cultural/dietary needs of Americans, while also giving students a taste of traditional local food. On travel days, there may be some meals which students may be personally responsible for. Students will also buy their own additional snacks as they like.

Additional Items to Consider

Please follow the CDC regarding immunizations needed for Kenya at the time. 

Also, visit the department of state link for travelers to Kenya.

Visa is required (cost $50) and available for purchase online. Further complete information about requirements will be given to participants.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

All academic years including graduate students

Open to all majors

Adventurous spirit, flexibility, good-natured, social justice-oriented, open to build relationships with people of varied ages and backgrounds, ready to marvel at the amazing gifts of Africa...

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short Essay
  • Interview with Program Director
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students.

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


EDUC 310: Teaching in a Diverse Society (3 credits)

EDUC 490: Special Topics in Education: Exploring Poverty and Culture within a Cross-Cultural Educational Field Experience (3 credits)

EDUC 501: Special Topics in Education: Exploring Poverty and Culture within a Cross-Cultural Educational Field (3 credits)

EXED 501: Special Topics in Education: Exploring Current Issues through Cross-Cultural Field Experience (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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