I have always known that I wanted to study the African continent. I grew up in a family with a passion for Africa and I have been fortunate enough to spend time in various African countries throughout my life. When I came to St. Lawrence I was able to combine my interest in political science with my passion for Africa.
The university has supplied me with multiple opportunities for experiential learning in East Africa. I took classes such as Introduction to African Studies and African Politics on campus to prepare myself for the Kenya Semester Program, and I was fortunate enough to be accepted for fall 2012. I also attended a three-week course in Ethiopia in summer 2012. I had a very introspective experience abroad. I learned a lot about myself and used my greater self-knowledge to enhance the rest of my time at SLU.
The Kenya program also inspired me to return to the African continent. I applied for the Tanner Fellowship as well as a Career Services Internship Grant and made enough money to return to East Africa for the summer of 2013. I spent that summer in Arusha, Tanzania working for a children’s home and researching the effectiveness of non-governmental organizations in the region. I wanted to see how these small organizations apply for funding from the Tanzanian government and from donors in the western world. My time to do research was limited as I worked five days a week at the children’s home. To carry out my research, I spoke with top administrators from ten organizations. I found that the non-governmental organizations with the highest success rates in funding are often those with the strongest social media profiles and those with partner organizations in countries such as the U.S. and the U.K.
I am hoping to return to Kenya and Tanzania following graduation to pursue my love for Africa. These countries are particularly appealing to me thanks to the wonderful experiences that I had there with the help of St. Lawrence.