Originally I had always thought that I would study abroad in a country such as the United Kingdom, Italy, or Australia; never did it even cross my mind to study in a country in Africa. Not a knock against Africa or Kenya but traditionally these places are far less frequently migrated to by American students. So when I noticed an email on utc.edu about the business/honors college trip to Kenya I was hesitant at first. In the end I was thrilled that I got over that initial apprehension as Kenya opened my mind to the world in ways that are hard to put into words. Being in such a vastly different area than the United States opens your eyes to not just the hardships of the world but the beauty of the people that still thrive in these areas.
The best part of Nairobi to me personally was the wide array of different cultures/socioeconomic classes and the incredibly close proximity that they all shared. One minute you can be driving through embassy row where massive mansions line the street and the next block over is a massive Massai Market where Kenyan people pawn their goods off to tourists. Being that Kenya is a culmination of over 40 different ethnic tribes, the locals all had their own unique dialects and traditions which made each encounter with a native Kenyan different than the next. I always assumed going into this trip that I might feel unsafe at times due to my naivety about Africa, but it couldn’t have been more of the opposite as all of the locals welcomed us with open arms and a hot cup of chai.
My biggest advice to anyone who is thinking about taking part in UTC study abroad opportunities is to wholeheartedly go for it. Don’t assume anything or plan your trips every detail out because the best part of going abroad are the twists and turns that come with being in a foreign country. Also explore a unique place, go where others often don’t give a chance. Try anything that might make you slightly uncomfortable because that is how you push yourself to grow as a person. Nairobi was an exceptional experience and I truly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about going abroad.
Wyatt Branch is majoring in Management. He participated in a faculty-led trip to Kenya through the College of Business and Honors College in May, 2018.
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