The Kenyan education system is excellent when it comes to information and knowledge. Most international high schools and some universities have opened their doors to foreign students, hoping to benchmark on and from them. You can choose to take a single semester or a whole course worth of exchange study as you wish. Whatever the case, here are some of the vital things to know and have before coming for your exchange.
Identify the School
If you are in your high school level, you have a shorter list of international schools to choose from. These include The Greensteds International School, St. Andrew’s Turi, Braeburn, Brookhouse and Rift Valley Academy among others. When it comes to Universities, the options are broader and you might have to take more time to decide. Some available universities include the University of Nairobi, African Nazarene University, Daystar University, etc. Check out the school’s website for available slots.
Once you have identified the school and applied for your program, you should try to sort out accommodation matters. There is nothing as frustrating as getting to a foreign country and not knowing where to stay. Luckily, most high schools have a strict on site student accommodation policy. However, for Universities, it is really up to you to decide whether you prefer staying on school grounds or in a private hostel. If you opt for the latter, do not make any payments before physically seeing the space you are paying for to avoid being scammed.
You have school matters handled, now you have to get legally prepared for your stay in Kenya. You will need to apply for a student’s visa before coming to Kenya. The visa may be issued in your home country or in your country’s embassy in Kenya. Usually, the school sending you for the exchange will cover the visa acquisition part. You may also need to have immunization cards proving vaccination against the Yellow Fever and evidence of receiving anti-malaria medication.
You are going to highly benefit from having an Insurance cover before coming to your exchange program in Kenya. The insurance will take care of any loss, damage and health issues that may arise during your stay here. Make sure you have a detailed insurance cover as opposed to a general one that might end up disputing some payments in the name of fine prints.
Luckily, Kenya has Swahili and English as the official languages. English is in fact the main teaching language in all Kenyan schools. Knowing Swahili however, will make your stay easier because you might encounter individuals who might not be fluent in English thanks to their lack of schooling. Older folk also prefer using Swahili or mother tongue as opposed to the English language.
Make sure you have your funds safely and adequately kept. You will find that the living standards of Kenya are much cheaper than most countries especially non-African ones. Therefore, you will not have to break the bank to study and live here. Keep your bank details secret and private and where necessary, opt for mobile banking as opposed to carrying cash around. You will find M-pesa, Kenya’s largest money transfer platform to be useful and safe always.
Lastly, you must have a plan for travelling while in Kenya. If you are a high school student this might prove challenging, considering you will be operating under the school’s rules. However, if you are here for university education, you have a more flexible schedule which you should use to your advantage. You do not have to cover all grounds, but exploring your current city and the next is always a great idea.