Kenya Study Abroad Scholarships

First-Hand Experience of a Developing Country

Along the Indian Ocean on the eastern coast of Africa lies Kenya. This African nation is one of the most exciting countries due to its politics, people, and new discoveries of oil. Being a developing country, Kenya has much to offer in regards to scholastics. The political turbulence and corruption of the past few decades has led to a unique role of the government. Theirs is constantly evolving, and in 2010 they adopted a new constitution which abolished the role of the prime minister and created a bicameral legislature. In 2012 oil was discovered beneath their surface. This shows just how much potential Kenya has in the coming years.

Kenya struggles with HIV/AIDS making it a target for medical professionals and students to both help the Kenyan people and learn about modern day practices to combat disease. This land offers unique opportunities for students of any major. There are even programs designed to provide funding so students can get the chance to study in Kenya. Here are just a few examples.

Government ScholarshipsKenya flag

One of the best government sponsored programs is the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. Offered to students already receiving financial aid in the form of Federal Pell Grants, Gilman Scholarships are meant to provide funding for study abroad programs to students in underrepresented areas. These students include those with high financial need, come from diverse ethnic backgrounds, community college students, and students with disabilities. The Gilman Scholarships encourage students to study in places that are overlooked by most other study abroad programs. Areas such as Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand are discouraged; countries in Africa- including Kenya- are of great importance.

This award can be used toward tuition, room and board, books, local transportation and airfare. Over 2,300 Gilman Scholarships are given to students each year. The average amount of financial aid is $4,000, and the maximum amount is $5,000.

The David L. Boren Awards for International Study are another great way to receive funding from the government to study abroad. This program aims to send students to nations that are critical to U.S. interests and also not as represented in other programs. Their definition of critical to their interest simply means areas where scholars can study the challenges of a global society including sustainable development, global disease and hunger, population growth, and economic competitiveness. A focus of this program is language study. They encourage students to learn a language that isn’t traditionally taught in universities- such as Swahili, Korean, Czech, etc. As Swahili is the official language spoken in Kenya, it is a prime location for the Boren International Study abroad program.

Participants of this program receive up to $20,000 in financial aid! This deal is too great to pass up. In exchange for funding, students must enter into a service agreement. Upon graduation, participants will go straight to work for the federal government using the knowledge and skills acquired while studying abroad.

Private Funding

The Rotary Foundation is an outstanding organization dedicated to improving health and education and alleviating poverty all over the world. Service is a major part of the Rotarian’s mission. As such, they offer grants to students so they may serve others in a different country than their own. Their Global Grants support international activities that have sustainable and measurable outcomes. Almost any humanitarian project that supports the goals of the Rotary Foundation is acceptable. Kenya actually qualifies for almost every area they target- peace and conflict resolution, disease prevention and treatment, maternal and child health, education and literacy, and economic and community development. They are so dedicated to improving the world that students must enter programs with a minimum budget of $30,000.

Study Abroad Organizations

The School for International Training (SIT) is dedicated to advancing leadership and has locations in over 60 countries. To achieve this goal they aim to empower local people and strengthen institutions through education, exchange, and development programs. SIT offers a unique program in Kenya focusing on Urbanization, health, and human rights. While studying abroad, students will learn about the different healthcare challenges, practices, and systems. Participants will enter into an rigorous language learning and ethical studies courses, and will have the opportunity to conduct their own independent study projects. SIT understands that not every student can afford to study abroad.

SIT awards over $750,000 in scholarships and grants to students annually. Most individual scholarships award anywhere from $500-$5,000 in funding. Here are a few scholarships SIT offers:

  • SIT Fund- this scholarship is for students who display a financial need and are enrolled in any Study Abroad Program.
  • Compton Fund- students that are participating in environmental, peace studies, or sustainable development programs are eligible for this award.
  • SIT Pell Grant Match Award- this unique scholarship is presented to students who are already receiving Federal Pell Grants in any study abroad program.

College Scholarships

Michigan State University is one of the best when it comes to studying abroad. They offer two programs specifically for Kenya: Society and Ecology & Behavioral Ecology of African Mammals. The Society and Ecology program focuses on the interactions between people and their environment. There is a heavy emphasis on political and economic factors. The Behavioral Ecology of African Mammals concentrates on how African mammals are effect by ecological variables, including humans. MSU offers a variety of scholarships to help those who need additional funding in order to participate. These scholarships range from $250- $1,750.

  • Study Abroad Academic Excellence Awards- these merit-based awards are highly competitive. Students with a GPA of 3.5 or better are eligible. Students must enter an essay in order to be considered.
  • MSU Federal Credit Union Scholarships- this is the biggest source of funding for students. Students must have a GPA of at least 2.5 and fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
  • Forest Akers Scholarship- this award is for students who need financial assistance but don’t qualify for Federal Pell Grants.


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