McGill's AFSS intends to introduce students to East Africa specifically with a view to increasing their understanding of the goals, circumstances, challenges and opportunities of people living in the areas visited. Through an increased understanding of Canada's linkage with this area, graduates of the program should be better equipped to become active and effective contributors to sustainable development in Africa, whether by following academic or professional paths, or simply by being more informed citizens.
A community for integrated, experiential learning
The Field Study in Africa Program draws on faculty members with research and teaching experience in East Africa and/or long experience in running field trips. This group is committed to the belief that studying in the field in East Africa will be one of the best educational experiences of your lifetime. The program will give you the opportunity to
- see a range of environmental and social conditions in beautiful, interesting and diverse countries: Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania
- meet people working in community development, wildlife management, environmental conservation
- be part of active research institutions in East Africa
- work in small groups with dedicated Canadian and local teachers
- conduct your own research projects in natural science, social science or interdisciplinary areas
- visit some of the most remarkable archeological sites in the world
- experience game viewing in the some of the world's premier conservation areas
- travel from the shores of Lake Victoria to the reefs of the Indian Ocean and from the flanks of snow peaked Mt Kenya to the torrid base of the Rift Valley,
- meet locals in their homes, villages, markets, cities and offices, and do it all while traveling in comfort and security, with a Canadian physician overseeing your medical care.
The program consists of a series of safaris between established research bases. Because the research stations have strong working relationships with the surrounding communities, we can ensure that our students have safe, informed and sustained access to the East African landscape. This means that students can engage in real, field-based, research projects.
Research based: McGill's AFSS is research based. Students will be expected to learn from reading, structured lectures, daily experience and special field activities, but they will also be expected to raise questions, develop workable plans for answering those questions, and work in the field to get results. Our goal in stressing the research focus is to engage students in dynamic, challenging, interactive learning.
Mobile and comprehensive: East Africa offers an immense diversity and complexity. Our objective is to lay a foundation for a life time of learning; we therefore strive to expose students not only to a great range of geographic, ecologic, cultural, social and economic circumstances through travel around the country, but also to a great range of academic and intellectual perspectives by bringing many contributors into the classroom setting. Our goal is to give students a perspective that allows informed choices about "next steps" when they graduate from the program.
Safe and secure: All travel involves risks. McGill's AFSS links with the best security information networks in the area, uses modern, well-maintained equipment, travels with a Canadian physician, partners with institutions with long histories of providing safe and secure academic settings, and follows thorough risk-management practices. We provide a safe platform from which to enter the East African environment and help students develop a critical skill set that will help them manage risks when they later travel on their own.
A full educational experience in East Africa requires being away from urban areas where wildlife can be seen and where some of the cultural dimensions of development can be discussed. At two of the research field sites we will live the safari experience, and students can conduct research projects.