18:22 PM

Scholarships, space available for UHCL summer study trip to Kenya



In our age of information, anything people would like to see or learn about in the world is at their fingertips. Because online resources are so readily available, it might not seem necessary to leave home to travel. But there is nothing that can substitute for an in-person study abroad experience when it comes to achieving personal growth, acquiring new skills, and gaining a global perspective.

One of University of Houston-Clear Lake's missions is to give students the opportunity to learn beyond the walls of the classroom. UH-Clear Lake's Office of Global Learning and Strategy offers students many study-abroad options, including a June 11-23 trip to Nairobi, Kenya. Students will visit museums, tour Nakuru National Park, which features a lake that is home to the largest population of flamingos in the world, and visit key archaeological sites.

In May 2019, UHCL and the United States International University in Nairobi established a memorandum of understanding to collaborate through student and faculty exchange programs. The collaboration between the two universities was established through the efforts of UHCL's Associate Professor of Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Studies Dawit Woldu, and Professor of Sociology Mike McMullen, who is also accompanying students on the Kenya trip.

To date, two sets of Kenyan students from USIU have attended classes at UHCL during the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semester. Due to delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the upcoming study abroad trip is the first time UHCL students will travel to Kenya.

"We don't want to just sit and talk about things, we want to have the real experiences of going to other countries and learn about the landscape, the culture, social structures and people- all the things we talk about in the classroom, because nothing is as exciting and as important as a firsthand experience," Woldu said. "We want everyone to know about it, because we have spaces for more students to come on this trip with us."

Professor of Healthcare Administration Femi Ayadi said she was joining Woldu and McMullen's students with her own students from the Healthcare Administration program.

"I'm teaching a course called International Healthcare Management Experience-Kenya, and I believe students can get an invaluable perspective on healthcare management in other countries," Ayadi said. "In the mornings, Dr. Woldu and Dr. McMullen's groups will go to their own classes and follow their own schedule, and during that time, my students will be visiting hospitals," she said. "Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the country, and the Texas Medical Center is the biggest in the world. We are internationalizing; our students are gaining the insights that will be put to good use especially in a city like Houston."

Ayadi said she believed hospital administrators from around the world could learn from each other through these visits.

"The goal is for our students to see public, private and children's hospitals in Nairobi and Mombasa, so they can understand how people in other parts of the world manage hospitals," she said. "We will also be scheduling meetings with healthcare administrators there so our students can attend meetings in which things like finance and marketing are discussed and compare with the way things are done here."

She said she was working to schedule a visit for the entire group to the World Health Organization's Nairobi office to learn about Kenya's COVID-19 response.

Woldu said Kenya is a multicultural country with a fascinating history and culture. "Kenyans are always willing to show their culture and multi-racial environment," he said. "We will be meeting wildlife service managers and discussing the park management, the care of the animals, funding, and preservation of natural resources."

Scholarships and space are still available for this trip. Students in any degree plan are welcome to join. Space is available for non-UHCL students or UHCL alumni. For more information, contact Dr. Dawit Woldu at woldu@uhcl.edu or Dr. Femi Ayadi at ayadim@uhcl.edu.