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Spring Semester in East Africa!


In the meantime, check out these other CELL programs:

Central America

Experience the culture of Kenya and Tanzania while studying the issues of sustainability! Witness some of the world’s most breathtaking wildlife preserves and learn about proven approaches to effective wildlife management. Spend time living among and learning from the Maasai community. Go beyond abroad in East Africa!

Children in Africa

Program Overview

We begin our program with a five day orientation program at Heifer International’s Overlook Farm in the rural town of Rutland, Massachusetts. We will discover Heifer International’s work in Massachusetts and around the world to end hunger and poverty, participate in a variety of team-building activities, have an orientation to East African culture, history, language, as well as an overview of the semester program.

Following our orientation, we will fly from Boston to Nairobi, Kenya where we will spend several days getting acquainted with our host country, including meeting with politicians and policy makers and visiting museums.

We will also visit and learn from Ashoka Fellows, an internationally recognized organization building a critical mass of social entrepreneurs who are creating a vibrant, prosperous African continent. Ashoka Fellows in Africa are empowering people to create their own economic and civic opportunities, addressing the pandemic of HIV/AIDS and other devastating health concerns, implementing transformative education systems, protecting their environments and natural resources, and introducing effective methods of conflict resolution. With the help of Ashoka’s global initiatives, Ashoka Africa is uniquely placed to identify and spread the best ideas for social, economic, and political change.

Next, we will travel to Ole Morombi’s Eco-lodge where we will learn about community conservation and the intersection of livestock with wildlife, native medicinal plants, be introduced to CELL’s course work,be  introduced to the language and culture of the region, take nature walks, etc.

Then, we will travel to Amboseli National Park and surrounding communities. We will meet with the Maasai Community Partnership Project (MCPP) where we will learn about the collaboration between CELL, Prescott College in Arizona, and the Maasai Environmental Resource Coalition (MERC), a grassroots umbrella organization of Maasai human rights and conservation efforts. We will be learning, living, and participating in service-learning projects with the Maasai Community Partnership for eight (8) weeks.

If time permits, we will travel to Rusinga Island for a week where we learn about the work being done at the Badilisha Eco-village promoting permaculture farm design techniques and ethics. This small, fledgling eco-village is establishing itself as a model farm, or epicenter, for both sustainable agriculture and holistic community development.

During the final week of the semester, we finalize and present our community research projects, post-program leadership action plans, our visions of sustainability, debrief our take-aways and set goals for the future.

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Program Details

Length: 12 weeks
Credits: 15 credits through Lesley University or Northland College (Northland students only) learn more
Cost: $14,900 USD, plus airfare from your hometown
Application Deadline: Rolling applications, so apply early to guarantee your spot!
Program Dates -vary slightly from year-to-year, but generally our Spring semester runs from the 3rd week in January to the 3rd week in April; our Maymester program runs for 3 weeks from mid-May to the first week in June, and our Fall program runs from the 1st week in September through the end of November. Contact us for specific dates of the program you are interested in attending.

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Program Logistics

Housing: Students are housed in clean hostel-type facilities or home stays for most of the semester program. Although the accommodations are rustic, they are clean and provide an opportunity to form bonding relationships with other students and with your host family.
Food: – Simple and culturally appropriate food.
Internet and Communication: Internet access may be limited when travelling to remote communities.
Electronics: – We suggest leaving most electronics at home.

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Sample Program Itinerary

Actual program itinerary may vary.

A note on personal travel: because of the condensed (read: action-packed) nature of our program, there is no time for you to personally explore the region on your own. If you would like to further explore the region, we suggest planning some additional time before or after your CELL experience. Please contact us if you have any questions.

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Sights and Sounds

  • Visit with politicians and cultural leaders
  • Visit two of the premier wildlife parks in Africa: Amboseli and the Maasai Mara
  • Live and study with the beautiful Maasai people and communities
  • Experience the sights and sounds of African wildlife up close and personal
  • Experience the feeling of one life, your life, being the change you wish to see in the world.

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Program Courses

Culture, Language and History of Kenya and Tanzania (LINTD 2003)

(Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill LAN,HIS, SOC, IST requirements – 3 credits)

This course provides students with an overview of: 1) the society, history, and culture of Kenya and Tanzania; 2) the complex challenges of conservation and development facing the people of this region; and 3) the language of the region. Students gain an understanding of the sociocultural context of their host country, discuss differences, and compare these differences to their own country. The course includes opportunities to live with host families; travel to various cultural and natural history sites; and engage in discussions, lectures, reflective writing, and sustainable-practices service work.

Sustainability: Secrets of Simplicity (LINTD 3699)

(Interdisciplinary coursed designed to fulfill Interdisciplinary, Sociology, or Ecology requirements – 3 credits)

This survey course examines the field of sustainability and explores creative ways to build sustainable communities. We look at innovative strategies and programs currently being implemented in the U.S. and in Central America to proactively address issues threatening global sustainability. The focus of this class is to examine the choices we make and to look at how to incorporate sustainable practices into our lives. Students also explore the principles of voluntary simplicity and the relationship of these principles to sustainability. In addition to thought-provoking readings and lively class discussions, students also explore, through experiential and service-learning, an understanding of and appreciation for the work of several internationally recognized community development/sustainability organizations, including: Heifer International, Ashoka, Badilisha Eco-village, and others.

Service Learning: Sustainability Through Community (LINTD 3707)

(Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill Interdisciplinary, Sociology, or Service-Learning course requirements – 3 credits)

This course challenges students to apply what they are learning in their academic course work (e.g. about human and ecological issues facing Kenya and Tanzania to real-life sustainable solutions being adopted by their host communities. Students work hand-in-hand with community partners to create appropriate and innovative solutions to environmental, economic, cultural, and social challenges facing communities in this region of the world.

Specific service-learning projects will be driven by the needs of the local community and include the participation of students, members of the community who are involved in the projects, host country partnering organizations, and the instructors. Through structured reflection exercises and journaling, students will constantly evaluate their progress, examining how theory relates to their real world experience in the community. Students also develop individual environmental action plans that will enable them to engage creative, environmental solutions on their campuses or in their communities back home. Students design an individual stewardship action plan in cooperation with their instructor.

Crossroads Interdisciplinary Thinking for the 21st Century (LINTD 4003)

(Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill English, Philosophy, Sociology, or Interdisciplinary requirements – 3 credits)

This course grounds students in a new and interdisciplinary way of thinking. Combining elements of critical and creative thinking, this course helps students to develop skills in questioning, imagining possibilities, exploring opportunities, analyzing alternatives, synthesizing ideas, and evaluating thought. Through a variety of course activities, students identify essential interdisciplinary qualities. Students develop the capacity and skill to be able to examine thought from different points of view (e.g. cultural, political, social, economic, scientific, artistic, gender-based, multi-age-based, spiritual, philosophical, historical, empathetic, and integrated perspectives).

Sustainable Societies in Africa (LINTD 4707)

(Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill Interdisciplinary requirements – 3 credits)

This interdisciplinary course provides students with an understanding of how ecological systems work, how the structure and function of these systems is altered by human activity, and how we can minimize our impact on these systems. The course is designed to help students understand the relationships between the principles of ecology and human environmental decision making. Students develop an understanding of biologic and biomimicry (i.e., human innovations inspired by nature), as well as sustainability, and have opportunities to visit a number of community-based, ecologically sustainable projects.

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