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  • Locations: Nairobi, Kenya
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description:
HWS  Short Term Summer Faculty Led Program
Kenya: The Economics of the Between; 1 Credit
Led by: Keoka Grayson in Partnership with Crossing Thresholds

Kenya Summer


Country Description:
Lapped by the Indian Ocean, straddling the equator, and with Mount Kenya rising above a magnificent landscape of forested hills, patchwork farms and wooded savanna, Kenya is a richly rewarding place to travel. The country’s dramatic geography has resulted in a great range of natural habitats, harboring a huge variety of wildlife, while its history of migration and conquest has brought about a fascinating social panorama, which includes the Swahili city-states of the coast and the Maasai of the Rift Valley.

Course Description:
Econ 125: The Economics of the Between will first define the concept of betweenness and then explore how that concept informs economic and social behaviors. This is an experiential learning course that has two parts: a Reader's college class taught at the HWS campus and a service learning component experienced in Kibera, Nairobi.

Using scholarly work from the fields of economics, sociology, geography, anthropology, and others, we will examine the specific betweenness that occurs as a consequence of squatter life.  We will apply our interdisciplinary gaze to the Kibera settlement outside of Nairobi, arguably the third largest squatter settlement in the world. We will delve into the complexities of Kenyan history and social structure, the birth of the slum system, slum tourism and economic decision making under extreme scarcity.

Themes and Focuses of the Course:
  • To define what is social and what is economic in a non-American, non-Western context
  • Understand the social construction of norms and assumptions that inform relations and behaviors in the Kibera context
  • Question and analyze the ideas, values and norms that inform policies and arrangements and use critical judgements to examine the presence and absence of  social justice.  
  • Understand the ways by which people construct meaning of their experience and how interpretation of this meaning is dependent upon perspective and context.
  • Utilize foundational concepts of social justice, economics, education, and sociology in analyzing how space is created and utilized.
  • Students design and deliver a curriculum for a 3 day/ week course taught in the Kibera settlement, Nairobi, Kenya.                                   
Faculty Director:
Grayson Headshot
Keoka Grayson is an Economic Sociologist at HWS who teaches in the Economics and Social Justice Departments. Her work has been in Economic Education and Game Theory and her life reflects her interest in human and social choice theory. Dr. Grayson is a member of the Economics, Social Justice, and Africana Studies steering committees and is also the faculty advisor for the Model African Union Club.

Travel Dates:
 June 06-June 26 2018.

HWS Info Session:
Tuesday, Sept 19, 2017. 7:30pm, Merritt Hall 100

Application Deadline:
Tuesday, October 31, 2017 by 11:59pm (Apply online).

Itinerary Highlights:
  • Learn about the work being done with in the Kiberia settlement, Africa’s largest urban slum, through partnerships with Academic Experiences Abroad and the Power Women's Group*
  • Service learning work projects (3-4x/week). Learn about the high-impact work being done by several NGO's in the Kiberia region, which spans a variety of sectors: government and informal schools, HIV and AIDS, women and children, youth and women empowerment, waste management, biogas and recycling projects, family economic development
  • Explore traditional Masai markets
  • Delve into the complexities of Kenyan history and social structure, the birth of the slum system, slum tourism and economic decision making under extreme scarcity
  • Guided exploration of Nairobi National Park; get up close and personal with black rhinos, lions, giraffe and zebra
  • Three day/two night safari and game drive to the Samburu National Reserve a rugged and semi-desert park and game reserve located in Samburu district in the Rift Valley
*Power Women’s Group Walk is a group of HIV positive women from Kenya’s largest informal settlement (and the world’s second largest urban informal settlement-- Kibera,) who have joined together in business to provide for themselves and their families. Students at Power Women's Group in Kibera will engage with the women directly to learn about their stories and how best they can assist with their cooperative initiative. This may include assisting with bead making and other handicrafts, helping out in the daycare, consulting the women on ways to increase their business presence, helping to market their salon services and sell their crafts, etc. Students will learn about HIV/AIDS in Kenya, the effects of urbanization on poverty and how cooperatives work as a business model within this context. Check out their Facebook group here.
Housing and Meals:
The students will be lodged at Ngong Hills Hotel, a boutique hotel within walking distance of the group's service learning location.

Breakfast is included with lodging. Bag lunches during work days and some group dinners at local dining establishments (arranged by AEA) are also included in the program price. Students will be expected to budget for extra $$ for approximately 10 dinners and 5 lunches total during the 3 week program at approximately $5-7 USD per lunch and $10-12 per dinner ($150-200 total).

Group flights will be arranged by the CGE and accepted students will be notified of the cost and booking info for the flight once it’s available. All students are strongly encouraged to book this group flight offered through Advantage Travel because of travel to Kenya and visa requirements. There is an option to have this cost billed to your student account.

Passports and Visas:
All students will need a passport valid until at least 6 months after the return date of this program to participate.

Visas ARE required for U.S. citizens traveling to Kenya and cost approximately $50 USD. Please view the visa requirements here. Students are responsible for securing their own visa; however, the CGE will host a mandatory visa workshop where students can ask questions and work on completing the requirements together.

Non U.S. citizens should see Anthony Mandela in the CGE about visas as soon as you are accepted.

Kenya does not present a noteworthy health risk. Nonetheless, most travelers choose to receive Hepatitis A and typhoid immunizations prior to travel. Although yellow fever vaccinations are not required for entry into Kenya, a portion of this program does take place in a yellow fever zone as displayed on the CDC's yellow fever world map here. Please also check the CDC website to read more about the health recommendations for travel to Kenya.

The CGE recommends consulting with your physician to learn more about any health risks specific to the regions of Kenya you will be visiting and discuss optional vaccinations. You can also speak with Passport Health (585) 275-8884 and choose to receive optional vaccinations at their travel clinic in Rochester or Syracuse (at additional cost). Here are the estimated fees* for vaccinations through Passport Health:
  • Hepatitis A: $95
  • Hepatitis B: $95 (per dose – clients receive 2 doses prior to departure)
  • Typhoid: Oral $125/Injection $97
  • Yellow Fever: $205
*Prices subject to change

Kenya FlagIII. Eligibility

Course Pre-requisities:
  • All accepted students will be required to attend a Readers College in the spring prior to the program, which will meet weekly and will be worth ½ a credit. All accepted students will need to register for this course in January. Professor Grayson will lead the Reader's College course which will function as an orientation to the summer program and prepare students for the in-country course.
  • All students will be required to attend the mandatory visa prep meeting held in early February and the Passport Health campus visit in March.
Important note on Application Criteria and Course Credit for Short-term Programs.
Qualified first-years, sophomores, juniors and graduating seniors may apply. First-years, sophomores and juniors will have priority and seniors will be admitted on a space-available basis.
GPA Requirement:
Students applying for this program should have a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative GPA. In the case of first-year students, we will have to wait until your fall grades are in before we can formally admit you. Provided there are spaces available, first years with successful applications may be given a conditional offer based on achieving at least a 2.5 gpa in the fall semester.

Course cross-listings and credit:
This course will be worth one HWS general credit, plus the ½ credit for the Reader’s College. This course is cross-listed with Social Justice, Africana Studies, Education, Anthropology and Sociology, Critical Social Studies, and Urban Studies.

Advisors in related fields may allow you to count the course for major/minor credit and is also possible to use this course to fully satisfy a goal requirement, particularly Goal requirement #7—multiplicity of world cultures. Students should always discuss major/minor and goal requirements with their advisor and department chair in advance.



Program Fees:
Kenya program fees will be approximately $3,300* for the 3-week program, which will cover tuition, accommodation, some meals, international mandatory health insurance, entrance fees, day trips and excursions.

Students should budget an extra $50-100 above and beyond the program costs for a few meals on travel days not included in program cost. Students will also need to budget for round-trip airfare at approximately $1,600 $1,200, books at $50, required visa fee of $50, and a non-refundable administrative fee of $100 charged for all faculty-led short-term programs. The administrative fee will show up as a separate charge (separate from the program fee) billed to your student account.

*Costs are subject to change based on currency fluctuations, changes in costs of services provided and the number of students confirmed on the trip.

Click below to access our comprehensive budget estimator, which includes an estimate of all expenses:
Kenya Budget Estimator (REV 2.21.2018)
In an effort to assist students in financial hardship wishing to participate in a short-term program, there is a limited pool of HWS funding available. If you are accepted to this program, we will invite you to submit a funding application. Funding will be allocated on a need basis and we will contact the financial aid office to verify your need status. We will also contact the Student Affairs office and the Dean’s office to access your social/disciplinary records as part of determining your eligibility for funding. We will let you know whether you have been awarded funding before the deadline by which you are required to put down a deposit for your place on the program.

Payment Schedule and Program Timeline:

After applying and being accepted to the program, students will need to make a $500 deposit in person to Student Accounts in Demarest Hall to hold their place in this program. This amount will be credited to your student account and will be applied to your program cost.
 Application Deadline  DUE: Oct 31, 2017  11:59pm online
 Decision Date  Nov 21, 2017  aid applications available at this time
 Funding/aid Applications  DUE Nov 30 2017  
 Funding Decisions Made  Dec 7 2017  
 Deposit Deadline  DUE: Dec 15 2017  $500.00
 Program Billing Date  Jan 30 2018  Balance charged to student account
 Final Payment  DUE: Feb 30 2018  Remaining balance due*

*Please note: Students must make the initial non-refundable deposit to Student Accounts in Demarest Hall. Program fees for the remainder (lump sum) of program will be automatically billed to the student accounts separately. Installment payment plans may be worked out on a case by case basis with the business office.

Cancellation Policy:
The initial $500 deposit is non-refundable. Students will be responsible for additional expenses beyond the $500 if they withdraw from the program while it’s in progress or 90 days or less before the program begins. Specifically, students will be held accountable for any expenditures made by HWS on their behalf that the CGE is unable to recoup from any untimely withdrawal, such as housing deposits, non-refundable hotel reservations, excursion deposits, etc.

Questions? If you have questions about this program, please contact Anthony Mandela in the Center for Global Education at 315-781-3663 or


Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.