Patrick studied in Nairobi on the Big 10: Nairobi, Kenya, Studies in International Development program in Fall 2016.
If you could give only one reason, why would you suggest other students study abroad?
Studying abroad, and traveling in general, gives you the opportunity to learn about yourself. You might decide that committing two years to the Peace Corps might not be the best idea for you, or you might learn that it actually is a perfect fit for you. Putting yourself in unfamiliar settings is how you figure out who you are, and who you want to be.
What was it about your program specifically that fit your personal goals over other programs?
The Kenya program was perfect for me because of the internship portion. Experience is everything, and I really wanted a program that would help me get a great internship experience. The best way to learn about development issues is to spend time in developing countries. That way, you get to see the issues first-hand. I got to work with an extremely innovative social enterprise in rural Kenya, and learned a lot about the poverty, environmental, and energy issues they are facing.
What experiences did you have while studying abroad that you feel you could not have had if you had stayed at Penn State?
Studying abroad in Kenya was great for networking. The development community is surprisingly small, and being in Kenya gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of people working in different areas of the field. I made connections with people working in non-profits, start-ups, and the United Nations, among others. If you are interested in international development, the connections and experiences you can make studying in developing countries are invaluable.