Imagine if you will, Kenya in East Africa. The mind conjures varied images — from exotic safaris and wild animals, to prevalent poverty and struggles with disease, to tribal life and presidential politics.
Imagination is a powerful thing, but so is experience. That's probably why Samuel Johnson once said, "The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are."
At Nazareth College, professors aim to combine the life of the mind with real-world experiences. Sometimes this means internships; other times this means trips to Africa. With Otieno Kisiara, associate professor of anthropology, it tends to be the latter. The students in his Anthropology 342 course examine globalization and culture in contemporary Africa—first on paper, then in person.
Kisiara's students read about how globalization impacts the people of Kenya in different social areas, such as education, health, agricultural and industrial production, tourism, and family life. A semester of studying the "Kenyan Experience" then becomes a three-week sojourn to experience Kenya for one's self.
Included in the itinerary are visits to schools (public and Catholic elementary schools, universities, and orphanages), health centers (urban hospitals and rural clinics), agricultural sites (for tea, coffee, sugar cane), and nature reserves.
If experience is the best teacher, then the trip to Kenya was an enlightening instructor. As Casie Sikora '11 explains, "Traveling brings global awareness, but it has little to do with iconic landscapes. There is much more to Kenya than what is marketed by the tourism industry."
Indeed, the Kenyan experience became more about the human experience and condition. Dana Coleby '12 adds, "I know this trip was about studying globalization, but what stuck out the most to me were the children."
The hallmark of a Nazareth education is imagination and intellect tempered with and enhanced by experience. Summarizing her own Kenyan experience, Alexandra Carbonaro '09 shares the truism, "One time seen is better than one hundred times heard about."