To many international students, Kenya is a home away from home. Thousands of students have made Kenyan universities as their choice to pursue higher education. Daystar Uni is one of the Universities that hosts a large number of international students from over 20 nationalities across the globe.
In spite of Kenya’s almost perfect weather throughout the year, hospitable citizens and diversity of education opportunities, international students get lonely especially during holidays and some weekends. Some international students who have no family or friends to visit in Kenya often stay on an almost empty campus.
It is for this reason that the Rwandese and Burunidian community in Daystar discovered creative ways of spending their weekends and holidays in and around the university.
“Most of week-ends we stay together cooking, watching movies, swimming, visiting some places in town so as to be more familiar with this country, our second home” says Raissa Kandende an international student from Burundi.
True to this statement, you will often find them together on a weekend.If not indoors, at the Lukenya getaway and Motor Cross. With time, the bond between students from this two countries has grown stronger.
International Students Association of Daystar University (ISADU), has been instrumental in helping international students at Daystar.
“We try as much as we can to organize events that will make students from different countries comfortable,” says Josue Yoga the Chairman of ISADU.
The association organizes trips, retreats, sleep outs amongst other actvirties. Such events ensure that the students bond and are well aware of their environment. The international student office has also been key. In the recent past, together with ISADU, they introduced a program known as home away from home, in a bid to link them up with local families who are more than willing to host them over short holidays. But the program is off to a slow start.
“Most students are not willing to register for this program, and so we are left with alternative choices.We try and make them as comfortable as possible,” says the ISADU Chair.
Moses Ssejeko from Uganda, agrees with Yoga.
“I wouldn’t feel comfortable at all. I would have to consult my family.”
“Being in a foreign country is not always easy. You’re scared that something may happen to you or people may take advantage of you,” explain Moses.
The second year student who spends most of his free time meeting up with pals and now acting, adds “they (other international students) probably think that they would be alienated.”
Meanwhile, as they wait for the initiative to gain acceptance, ISADU will continue to ensure that the International community is comfortable. This is done by ensuring that their food and accommodation is settled, sporting equipment and facilities and equipment are in shape as well as good internet connectivity. For the Rwandese and Burindian community in Daystar, school life is worthwhile and especially by living as one community.