ARCC Gap: East Africa - Uganda, Kenya & Tanzania

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About

ARCC Gap East Africa explores the majesty, cultures and challenges of three East African nations: Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. We take advantage of our unparalleled access and gain a unique education in this fascinating expanse of Africa.

Seeing the eager smiling faces in a Masaai primary school while teaching English in an overcrowded classroom with limited school supplies, we feel the scarcity of education. Sitting down to interview farmers from a community teaching farm, which strives to bring personal and financial independence, we see a solution. Building and installing a solar panel with local Maasai, we feel the power of service. Witnessing a family of elephants trek through the savanna of the Masai Mara at sunrise, we experience one of life’s unforgettable moments.

Never again will you look at education in quite the same way.

Highlights
  • Work at a Rhino Sanctuary and Witness the Efforts in Place to Protect Africa’s Sacred Animals
  • Whitewater Raft the Exhilarating Nile River
  • Construct and Install Solar Power Systems into Rural Tanzanian Homes
  • Shadow Nurses in a Maasai Health Clinic to Compare Traditional and Contemporary Medicine
  • Study Education by Living with Students at East Africa’s First Free All-Female Secondary School

Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 20 reviews
  • Housing 9.4
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 10
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 16 - 20 of 20
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Francesca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

How Changing Lives Changed Mine

One of the MANY reasons I came on ARCC Gap Africa's trip was due to a life-changing week at an all-girls boarding school in Kenya: Daraja Academy. There, we shadowed girls (grades 9-12) through their daily lives, classes, and clubs. More impressive than their passion for learning and becoming activists of change, were their personal stories of how they got to Daraja. Daraja is free for all students, thus, the criteria is very harsh -- the admissions office finds girls who are in dire need of a free high school education, already a hard thing to obtain in Kenya, as well as within East Africa as a whole. These girls come from harsh backgrounds full of discrimination, inequality, and harsh traditions that are upheld by their tribes such as early marriage, early childbirth, and worst of all, FGM. I was lucky enough to make life-long friends who inspire me even months after this trip to make a change. While at Daraja, the ARCC Group had the privileged of teaching a free-range workshop. I choose "women's empowerment and risk taking" (Lessons I learned from one of my heroes, Rachel Simmons). We spoke on taking risks, the obstacles we must overcome as women, and how, together, we have more that unites us then divides us, proving how much change upcoming generations will create. Daraja was incredible, to say the least.
In general, the 3 months have flown by. Each project we have done excited me beyond belief and also challenged me to the levels nothing else ever could. I came on this trip to do something larger then myself, to tackle the tough realities of inequality, as well as broaden my perspective of the world; especially East Africa. The well-rounded itinerary that ARCC provides kept me engaged, focused, excited, and passionate. I have made life-long friends and have been inspired to continue my passion for social justice and my fight for equality across the board.
Aside from highlighting tough issues that consume the daily lives of East Africans across the board, this trip has also opened my eyes to issues back home in the U.S that need to be addressed, demonstrating that no matter what topic you want to concentrate on, ARCC shows you it all and more. You will leave this trip having found parts of yourself you never knew of, a well-rounded and diverse vision of the world you will both love and hate based on the simultaneous harsh realities of inequality yet the heart-warming hope you see within the eyes of the people, and, finally, the ultimate desire to stand up and make a change. In two words: life changing.

What would you improve about this program?
The truth is that this was the perfect program for me and met all the needs I wanted it to during my gap year. I know I made the right choice for myself and have learned more then I thought I could. Advice: bring dry shampoo.
Default avatar
Cory
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

ARCC Africa Gap

There are so many things I would LOVE to say about my Africa experience that ARCC has provided for me, but for my readers sake I will try and be brief. This experience is for anyone who is looking for adventure. Don't get me wrong this trip will flip your entire universe upside down, but it will make you so much more of a well rounded person. This trip gave me the perfect balance of exhilarating action (ex. white water rafting, safari, and scuba), and the experience of seeing how the rest of the world gets by (ex. installing solar panels, teaching in a local primary school, etc.). I will forever cherish my Africa gap semester, and I couldn't thank ARCC enough for making the whole thing possible.

What would you improve about this program?
I honestly loved every minute of my program, and there wouldn't be much that I would choose to change about it! All I would say is that if you come on this trip there are long travel days, which give you a lot of time to think... but having a positive attitude, an open mind, and an amazing group will make all the difference!
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Annie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful Experience

ARCC Africa gap has been one of the best and most transformative experiences of my life. I was initially nervous to spend part of my gap year with an organized program, but I am now so happy that I did. ARCC has lined up some amazing service projects that cover a variety of topics, such as education and literacy, public health, and environmental conservation. My group (made up of 5 incredible students and 2 supportive, interesting, and well-rounded leaders) has worked at a rhino sanctuary, taught at the first free all-female secondary school in Kenya, installed solar panels in local Masai houses, and done a variety of other service projects. ARCC balances these intensive service projects with fun, adventure activities like rafting the Nile River, a safari in the Masai Mara, and scuba diving in Zanzibar. I never once felt unsafe in my surroundings. It is rare to get this sort of access to East Africa and I'm so happy that I was able to have this experience. I cannot imagine a better gap year experience.

What would you improve about this program?
Very full with service projects and group bonding time, some structured reflection time would have been nice.
Default avatar
Liz
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing Trip!

Traveling to Eastern Africa through ARCC radically changed my life. Spending three months traveling to an unfamiliar place not only changed the way I see day to day life, but also completely changed my passion for my future. I left the States with no idea what career I wanted to study and pursue, and came back determined and passionate about the environment. Over the three months, our leaders had us(students) choose a topic of interest from five or so topics (art, environment, business, music, teaching etc.) and research different specifics within our field of "study" as we traveled the countries. This included interviewing locals, taking samples and getting to know more about the cultures we were immersed in. Although going on safaris, working on sustainable farms, living on one of the world's only rhino sanctuaries, teaching in schools, learning Swahili, building houses, living within Maasai villages, getting certified in scuba-diving, and working at an elephant and giraffe sanctuary were some of my favorite parts of the trip, I really valued the relaxed "capstone project" that ARCC had us do. Before going on my trip I did not have a clue what I wanted to study and after choosing environmental factors for my "capstone project" I realized that I wanted to study global environmental sustainability and came back with a whole project put together by local interviews, samples, and experience which I am currently able to apply to some of my college classes. I would suggest an ARCC GapYear trip to any and everyone who is looking for a semester full of adventure, unique experiences, and friends of a lifetime!

What would you improve about this program?
I would love if ARCC had year a long trip!
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Michael
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Africa Gap 2013

I had an amazing tim on the Africa gap trip. Some of the highlights were: Rafting on the nile, working in the slums of Kibera, and scuba diving in Zanzibar. For the first segment of the trip, we were on a farm in rural Uganda. During our stay there we planted over 300 Banana trees and helped out with day to day tasks such as feeding the pigs and planting vegetables in the gardens. One of the difficulties of the trip was how physically demanding some of our activities were, such as digging trenches for water flow at the ziwa rhino sanctuary or Building a lion-proof fence around a village in Kenya.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have liked to spend less time in Daraja and a couple more days in Kibera. Although I really enjoyed our time at the school, there were lots of times when we did not have anything to do while we were there.

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ARCC has been offering programs for young adults since 1983. ARCC Gap Semesters are an opportunity to live and learn in some of the greatest classrooms on earth. Our semester programs take students on a journey of discovery of local peoples, places,...