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School for Field Studies in Kenya and Tanzania

A United States Department of State Travel Warning is currently in effect for Kenya. State Department Travel Warnings may be viewed at the United States Department of State website. Students are advised to read the Travel Warning for Kenya carefully and to also read the Country Information Sheet for Kenya. The State Department issues Country Information Sheets for every country of the world with information on such matters as the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, any areas of instability, and the location of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country.

Program Site: The School for Field Studies (SFS) has two field camps in East Africa. In Kenya the Kilimanjaro Bush Camp lies in the remote foothills of Mt. Kilimajaro near the town of Kimana. In Tanzania the Moyo Hill Camp is very close to Lake Manyara National Park and not far from the city of Arusha.  In 2015 the program will be held exclusively in Tanzania.

Eligibility: Minimum 3.0 GPA, 18 years of age, and at least one semester of college-level biology or ecology (with a lab component).

Description: Southern Kenya supports an array of animal species with large grazing herds of zebra, giraffe, gazelle, buffalo and topi. The acacia woodlands are alive with birdlife, and the rivers are home to hippos and crocodiles. In the Amboseli area large herds of elephants move across broad dusty plains to a series of wetland swamps. Near Tanzania’s Lake Manyara the Maasai Steppes are home to wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, tree-climbing lions and impressively tusked elephants. The Maasai communities in the region, who depend on farming, grazing and tourism, attempt to maintain a traditional way of life. In this region the search for ecologically appropriate solutions to the conflict between food production and wildlife habitat is urgent.

Academics: Students examine the many dimensions of regional ecological issues, specifically those involving human-wildlife interaction, through a case study approach, field work, and a directed research project. Students learn field research skills and live in close proximity to wildlife and local Maasai communities. In addition to learning some about East African tribal culture, students explore human-wildlife conflicts from the perspective of local ranchers, communities, and park rangers and have the chance to visit areas and meet residents inaccessible to most tourists. Required courses include Techniques of Wildlife Management, Wildlife Ecology, Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values, and Introduction to Swahili Language and East African Tribal Communities. The Directed Research course involves over 150 hours of coursework including instruction in research design and the completion of a field research project addressing a component of the semester's research objective.

Course Load and Credit: Students take five courses and earn a maximum of 16 USC units. USC credit is not available for the two-credit course Introduction to Swahili Language and East African Tribal Communities.

Activities and Other Program Features: Students live in field camps but have many opportunities to interact with local communities including:
-Presentations of research findings to community stakeholders.
-Visits to local markets and a neighboring boma (Maasai homestead) for traditional Maasai celebrations, a lecture on culture and artifacts, and to conduct interviews for research work.
-Community service work in local schools, hospitals, orphanages, and with a local women's group.

Accommodations: At both camps, students sleep in thatched-roof bandas, with a main building, or chumba, which houses a dining room, kitchen, classroom, and library. Additional facilities include a duka (shop), bathrooms, and showers.

Dates: Fall or Spring. Fall semester runs from mid-September to mid-December. Spring semester runs from late January/early February to early May.

Estimated Semester Cost:
Additional Expenses*............$9,982

Cost Updated: 5/28/15
Text Updated: 1/12/15

*Additional expenses include estimated costs for airfare, room and board, books and supplies, health insurance, and personal expenses (which can vary greatly from student to student). USC financial aid, scholarships, and tuition remission may be applied to program costs. Please visit the Office of Overseas Studies for more detailed cost information.

School for Field Studies (SFS) - Kenya/Tanzania Semester
SFS Kenya/Tanzania Course Syllabi