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Sverre, hanging out with the locals.

Sverre Ofstad is currently studying abroad in Kenya.

I’ve only been in Nairobi since January 6 of this year, but already the place has made what can only be classified as an indelible impression on me. The vastly different culture, people, and environment found here have all contributed to this feeling. Kenya is a very diverse country and the contrast between the countryside and the city of Nairobi is stark: while rural Kenya offers beautiful nature, and charming small villages, Nairobi is a vibrant third-world metropolis filled with people and traffic.

There are two aspects of my life in Nairobi, the everyday student life, and the more adventurous weekend life where I often travel outside the city. The classes here are a bit different than in the U.S. They are often smaller, and they provide a more Afro-centric view on different academic subjects.

It is fascinating to see how their views differ on the subjects I’ve already learned at Stony Brook University. There are people from all over the continent of Africa at my school, and it is interesting to connect with these people and learn how diverse the continent really is.

On the weekends I travel around in Kenya. I camp in the wild, go on safaris, hike mountains, and visit different parts of the countryside. As a Sustainability Studies major at Stony Brook, it is extremely motivating seeing the beautiful nature and wildlife in Kenya, as it further inspires me to help protect the environment. Seeing animals such as lions and rhinos has truly been an amazing experience.

Besides seeing a lot of nature, I have also joined the climate change branch of an organization called “happy 4 life,” which seeks out sustainable solutions to Kenya’s environmental problems. Interacting with engaged people wanting to make a difference, and fully experiencing Kenya has already taught me a lot, and I am excited to see what is in store for me during the rest of my stay here!

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By Sverre Ofstad
Sustainability Studies Program ’15
Sustainability Studies Major

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