Kenya was probably the most incredible place I will ever go. It is hard to sum up how much this trip meant to me and the impact it made. I got to go on Safari for three days and see some of nature’s most incredible wildlife. Lions, elephants, cheetahs, all just feet away from me outside the car. I got to spend time with so many incredible locals and share in their culture, food, and daily lives. The Kenyan people are the most welcoming and kind people I have ever met. They treat their guests like family and drink more tea than I ever thought anyone could drink. Seriously. Nothing can be done in Kenya before everyone has had their tea, and once that is done you’ll need to take another tea break an hour or so later. This is all for reason.
Kenyans value time with guests, friends, and family over anything else. People often joked about running on “Kenyan Time”. If you had a meeting set for 3:00, but meet a new friend at 2:45, it is perfectly acceptable for you to show up hours late to your meeting because you were spending time building a personal relationship. This is what I will remember most about the people of Kenya. Everyone we met just seemed so excited to meet new people and get to know them on a personal level. “Small talk” as we know it is a completely foreign concept to them, every conversation should be meaningful and impactful.
One part I also enjoyed about the experience is that it was a UTC led class with UTC faculty and students. This gave me a great opportunity to get to know many professors and classmates I never would have known otherwise. I always wanted to visit an African country but was nervous about doing so on my own. The trip made me realize how wrong that perception was, and I cannot wait until I can return. Also, if you qualify for the Pell Grant be sure to apply for the Gilman Scholarship, they made this trip possible for me. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity I was given to travel to Kenya.
Austin Holdsworth is majoring in Entrepreneurship and Marketing with a minor in History. He participated in a faculty-led trip to Kenya through the College of Business and Honors College in May, 2018.
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