Elsbeth Kane

Jambo! I’m a senior in Columbia College majoring in Environmental Biology through E3B. I’m also a pre-veterinary student on a pre-medical track. I spent the spring semester of my junior year in Kenya studying tropical agriculture, sustainable development, natural history, and ecohydrology. In three months, I completed sixteen Columbia University credits towards my degree while having the unparalleled opportunity of learning and living in one of the most ecologically diverse regions of Africa—and, arguably, one of the most beautiful nations in the world. We traveled up to the drylands region of Karamoja, Uganda and down to the more humid, agriculturally viable regions of Kenya just east of Lake Victoria. In both areas, we were challenged to think critically about the merits of various sustainable development strategies as they pertained to specific agro-economic zones. We then settled in at Mpala, in Nanyuki, where our research center and living quarters were situated right within 5,000 acres of preserved lands. It wasn’t uncommon to run into a troop of vervet monkeys or a pair of dik dik right outside of our dorm. We’d often pass by towers of giraffe and herds of elephants on the drive into town! My favorite memory of the semester -- climbing over 16,000 feet to Point Lenana at the Mt. Kenya National Park. The view was breathtaking, and our porters gave us hot Kenyan tea at the top! Studying abroad in Kenya was the perfect opportunity to gain practical experience with fieldwork, project-based group work, science writing, and public speaking—and where better to do it than in a country with such a diversity of landscapes, wildlife, and cultures. Please, don’t hesitate to reach out to chat about the program. For now, kwaheri! E-mail Elsbeth at: elk2137@columbia.edu.