Turkana Basin Institute Origins Field School

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About

The Turkana Basin Institute is proud to offer unique full-semester and summer field school programs, focused on prehistory, through Stony Brook University. The programs address the place that humans occupy in the natural world and how we came to occupy that place. Program modules cover Ecology, Geology, Vertebrate Paleontology, Archaeology, and Human Evolution. Participants will gain hands-on experience in field survey and excavation methods, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, taphonomy and more, and will take field trips to important paleontological and archaeological sites, diverse ecological settings, and remarkable geological features throughout the Turkana Basin in northern Kenya.

Highlights
  • Ancient technology
  • Fissils
  • Cradle of humankind
  • Wildlife
  • Culture

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

100%
based on 6 reviews
  • Academics 9.3
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 6 of 6
Evan
10/10

Rebirth in the Birthplace of Humankind

It’s hard to even being to put how wonderful the TBI Origins Field School is into words, but if I were to try I’d say it was so fulfilling that I had to go back again. This opportunity is once-in-a-lifetime, to find yourself in what seems to be the middle of nowhere searching for clues to our evolution hidden away in the desert.
Whether you want to pursue paleoanthropology (or related fields) as a career or not, TBI has so much to offer you educationally, culturally, and personally. For me, my first time in Turkana set me down a path that is (hopefully) to become a career, and for that alone I am beyond grateful for this program. Additionally, I learned more about myself in my time on this field school than the last 10 years of my life.

How can this program be improved?
The only improvements to this program come with my participants, the infrastructure is fantastic and the faculty/staff is the best of the best, the only needed ingredient is students!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Isabella
10/10

The Best Ever

I loved this program. All the stereotypical great things about studying abroad applied: made lifelong friends, learned a ton, learned more than just my coursework, got to explore a completely different way of life. This program was also different in that we all were learning the same classes at all times, making bonding and learning both easier and more fun, and every class was experiential and hands-on. I did it sophomore year and it changed the course of my time at school. This program is inexpensive, beautiful, eye-opening, and life-changing. Absolutely one of the best (if not the best) decision I ever made. If I could go back to sophomore year again to pick out which study abroad program I would do, I would pick this one, again and again.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Shelby
10/10

Life-Changing!

I'll start off with this: If someone told me I could go back to the Turkana Basin Institute tomorrow, I would start packing my bags this second. As a student of Anthropology who is interested in African archaeology, this program was one of the best things I have ever done. The classes are engaging and hands on, the people you meet are fantastic, and the memories you make are unforgettable. If you are interesting in experiencing a side of Kenya that a tourist would not have the oppotunity to see, go on this program!! You do not need to be an Anthropology major, (we had a marine biologist in my group) you just need to have an interest in getting your hands dirty and learning about the history of human beings. You will learn so much about anthropology, human evolution, archaeology, and yourself. Going to Turkana for a semester made me a better student, but also taught me a lot about myself, what I am capable of, how I react to difficult situations, and how I respond to new surroundings, homesickness, and extremely high temperatures. In the end, I would seriously recommend studying abroad at the Turkana Basin Institute.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Maggie
10/10

Invaluable Experiences; Enduring Friendships

Looking back on my time at TBI, I have nothing but positive things to say about it. Even four years later I still remember it vividly, the starkly beautiful landscape, the constant opportunities to learn, and the camaraderie that only comes from spending a lot of time with an exclusive group of people. I am still close with friends I made at TBI, and also still have good relationships with my professors. The courses modules we had - ecology, geology, vertebrate paleontology, human evolution, and archaeology - were incredibly thorough, incredibly enhanced by the setting. The divide between learning and doing was removed, as we learned about geology by walking around and studying natural formations and studied human evolution by going to the sites where discoveries were still being made. Before I went to TBI I was unsure of where my interests lay, but upon returning I happily changed my major to anthropology (with a focus in archaeology) and never regretted it. My semester at TBI was one of the best of my entire college career, and I hope that the program continues to grow and provide students with the experience of a lifetime.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Maria
10/10

An unexpected adventure!

When I signed onto the Human Origins program as a sophomore in college, I had no background in anthropology (or strenuous physical activity), and I really had no idea what to expect. As soon as I got there, my fears dissipated. The structure of the program is such that each class is taught consecutively on a two-week rotation, instead of concurrently. This really aided my ability to stay on track and submerse myself in the material. At least half of the scheduled class times were in the field doing hands-on activities. The professors are incredibly patient and willing to answer any questions you have, no matter how basic. Since all students are on the same track, comradery and productive study groups form naturally. I remember more things from these courses than from any lecture hall I sat in at my home university! I am always looking back fondly on this experience, sometimes disbelieving how closely I worked with ground-breaking scientists, paleontologists, and the like. You won't find a better place to learn history as it's discovered! Though I am not on the anthropology scene at this time, the experience I had in Turkana made me realize how much I like fieldwork, and inspired me to pursue other experiential learning opportunities in Madagascar and on the ocean! 10/10 program :)

Yes, I recommend this program
Yvette
10/10

The best 3 months of my life

I was tentative about participating in this program before I applied, as this is not by any means a traditional form of study abroad program/field school, but now that I've gone and graduated from TBI I can honestly say that this is truly a unique once in a lifetime experience. I wouldn't trade my time in Turkana for any other study abroad option out there.

This school provided me with actual field experience taking place over the span of five courses taking place both within the classroom and out of it. I was able to prospect for million year old fossils at famous Kenyan sites that I would have otherwise only read about in my textbooks, I got to see wild elephants, lions, cheetahs, and giraffes at the beautiful Mpala Research Centre, I camped under the stars in the beautiful Kenyan wilderness, and I was able to form real and strong relationships with professors and researchers that could only be fostered by the intimate classroom setting that TBI classes offer.

If you are interested in anthropology (bio, arch, or soc), geology, paleontology, biology, prehistory, or even just have any interest in Kenya and everything it has to offer I strongly recommend that you apply to this program as both a resume and character builder, because I know that I came out of this experience as a newer, more confident, and overall better person. And hey, when's the next time you're ever going to Kenya?

Yes, I recommend this program

About Turkana Basin Institute Origins Field School

The Turkana Basin Institute (TBI) was established as a joint venture between renowned paleoanthropologist and conservationist Richard Leakey and Stony Brook University to expand upon groundbreaking scientific work the Leakey family and their...