Forming new cultural connections

Marcom / Courtesy Photo
Kenyan senators Samson Cherargei (left) and Irungu Kangata (right) at the
conference during their visit at Pierce College.

How an extended invitation lead to an exciting addition to the upcoming Kenya study tour

For the first time in Pierce College’s history, students will be studying science abroad in Kenya. This trip will provide students the opportunity to learn biology in a new environment not confined by a classroom setting.

Ashley Chambers, Kenya trip administrator, said that students will benefit from this eye-opening experience. “These trips abroad are a once and a lifetime opportunity for some students at Pierce,” Chambers said. “It’s a way for students not only to learn different subjects hands-on in a non classroom setting, but to see a different country as well.”  

The plan for the trip abroad is to start in Nairobi which is the capital of Kenya, Chambers said. From there, they will go further inland, each destination bringing students closer to the wildlife. At the end of the trip, they will be around the Maasai tribe, a group inhabiting the African Great Lakes region.

The trip itself is cheaper than most flights to Kenya, but the financial costs are still high. The entire trip will cost around $3,000 per student. 

Pierce College has a lot of single parents and students on full financial aid packages who are working their hardest over the summer, Chambers said.  “Students are working two or three jobs, seven days a week to make this trip happen and we would love to ease a lot of the financial burden for them.” 

Although $3,000 is a daunting number, the school is helping offset the cost by organizing the Kenya Shoe Drive. Pierce College’s International Department is partnering with Funds2Orgs which collects shoes and pays nonprofits to pick up on the company’s behalf. The gently worn and new shoes are then given to small business owners in different countries. 

Boxes can be found for the drive in front of the Welcome Desk, while shoes can be dropped off at the International Education office in room C509.  The deadline for the shoe drive is Oct.15. Students can help the International Department reach their goals of 300 bags. When the goal is met, the Pierce College Foundation will get the additional funds to help the students going on this Kenya trip.

On Aug. 8, Dr. Francis Githuku, head of the Northwest Kenyan Community Association invited two Kenyan senators to visit Pierce College, which sparked the Kenya-Pierce College connection. 

While Githuku intended for this meeting to bring more Kenyan students and their culture into Pierce College, Kenyan senators, Irungu Kangata and Samson Cheragei were looking for an affordable education for Kenyan students. 

As the senators toured, they brought forth the idea of adding a visit to the National Parliament to the Kenya trip. The National Parliament, like the United States senate, is a body of government that votes and approves on different laws. The Parliament is the building where the voting takes place. 

Pierce College students will now have the opportunity to visit the National Parliament, which was not originally on the Kenya study abroad itinerary.