State Department Travel Warning and St. Lawrence Policies for Studying Safely in Kenya

St. Lawrence Policies for Student Safety in Kenya

The US State Department of State has issued a travel warning for Kenya.  St. Lawrence’s program in Kenya adheres to the recommendations of this warning and is reviewed regularly by the University’s Student Safe Travel Committee (SSTC).

All students on the Kenya Semester Program are required to follow the guidelines below.  Failure to comply with any of these expectations may result in dismissal from the program.  Our security procedures have been developed through our program history of more than forty years in Kenya, along with best practices of peer institutions and national off-campus study organizations.

Students accepted to the Kenya Semester Program will:

  • Read the Country Specific Information for Kenya and follow the advice and safety recommendations included in these resources.
  • Be enrolled in international health and travel insurance coverage for entirety of the program.
  • Carry a cell phone (provided by the program) with them at all times.  It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that his or her phone is charged and contains current contact information for on-site staff to be reached in case of emergency.
  • Receive prior approval from the program directors for any and all travel outside of the program itinerary, including local travel.  Students must inform the program directors of when, where, and with whom they are traveling and how they can be contacted throughout the duration of travel, and receive the directors’ approval prior to departure.
  • Receive and acknowledge the safe travel advice provided by on-campus faculty and staff prior to departure and on-site program staff after arrival in Kenya and throughout the program.
  • Remain in close contact with on-site program staff at all times during the program.
  • Enroll in the U.S. State Department safe travel advisory (STEP) program prior to arrival in Kenya and check email regularly for updates.
  • Follow all U.S. Department of State and embassy warning and security messages as well as St. Lawrence on-site staff and local government instructions, including but not limited to those indicating that Americans should avoid areas of a city, country or region for any reason.
  • Adhere to all on-site policies of the Kenya Semester Program.
  • Avoid travel to the northeastern Kenyan counties of Mandera, Wajir and Garissa (including the cities of El Wak, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera and Liboi), the coastal counties of Tana River and Lamu, the area of Kilifi county north of Malindi, and the Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh.
  • In Mombasa, the U.S. Embassy recommends U.S. citizens visit Old Town only during daylight hours, and avoid using the Likoni ferry due to safety concerns.
  • Avoid large crowds and areas in which demonstrations are occurring.
  • Avoid public areas frequented by tourists such as clubs, hotels, resorts, upscale shopping centers, and restaurants.
  • Remain alert in residential areas, at schools, and at outdoor recreational events.
  • Avoid crowded bus stops, train stations, and other transit points.
  • Use only taxis from program approved companies.  When riding in any vehicle, lock doors and keep windows up.
  • Maintain awareness of your surroundings and security of your person and belongings at all times.
  • Adhere to local cultural expectations and social norms regarding behavior and dress.
  • Travel in groups whenever possible and in particular do not walk or travel alone after dark.
  • Not drive any motor vehicles.
  • Lock all doors and windows in lodgings and homestay sites.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash or wear expensive jewelry
  • Avoid unattended baggage in airports, bus and train stations, and other public places.
  • Be aware of and comply with St. Lawrence University policies regarding education abroad.
  • Immediately report any security concern or incident to on-site program staff.

Students, parents and international educators can email CIIS ( or call 315-229-5991 if they have questions or concerns about safety on the Kenya program. For more on the Kenya Program, risk management procedures, students should consult the current Kenya Program Student Handbook, received with students’ acceptance materials or available upon request from CIIS.