Handbook Supplement


2018/2019 Handbook Supplement for non-East African

and Foreign Students


Calendar of Events


MIAS runs Semester programs in January – April and September – December for non East Africans and Foreigners who come for a sabbatical of A MINIMUM three months. Cf. Student handbook for full details.


September 7, 2018

Orientation workshop for all students new to the  program 9:00 am-12:00 pm
September 9 – 14, 2018First week of classes
October 1 – 5, 2018Outline of paper due in the office, PTR and Field Research Workshop
October 22 – 26, 2018Rough draft of paper due in the office, PTR and Field Research Workshop
November 26 – 30, 2018Final week of classes, Examination week
November 30, 2018Final draft of paper due in the office, final PTR, faculty meeting and closing banquet


January 18, 2019Orientation for all students new to the program 9:00am-12:00pm
January 21 – 25, 2019First week of classes
February 18 – 22, 2019Outline of paper due in the office, PTR and Field Research Workshop
March 10 – 17, 2019Rough draft of paper due in the office, PTR and Field Research Workshop
April 8 – 12, 2019Final week of classes, Examination week
April 12, 2019Final draft of paper due in the office, final PTR, faculty meeting and closing banquet


May 15, 2018Orientation workshop for all first session students at Tangaza University College, 9:00 am.
May 16, 2018Beginning of first session of program at Tangaza University College, 8:30am
June 6, 2018Last class-day of first session of program
June 6 – 14, 2018One week break between sessions


June 14, 2019

Orientation workshop for all second session students new to  the MIAS program at Tangaza University College, 9:00 am
June 15, 2019Beginning of second session of program at Tangaza University College, 8:30 am

July 3, 2019

Last class-day of second session of program and closing Banquet


September 13, 2019Orientation workshop for all students new to the  program 9:00 am-12:00 pm
September 16 – 20, 2019First week of classes
October 7 – 11, 2019Outline of paper due in the office, PTR and Field Research Workshop
October 28 – Nov. 1, 2019Rough draft of paper due in the office, PTR and Field Research Workshop
December 2 – 6, 2019Final week of classes, Examination week
December 6, 2019Final draft of paper due in the office, final PTR, faculty meeting and closing banquet



This handbook supplement is designed to help Africa based students from outside East Africa and Foreign Students from overseas prepare for their stay in East Africa and  participation in the 2018/2019 Immersion and Semester programs of the Maryknoll Institute of African Studies of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota/USA and Tangaza University College. It is assumed that the student has already carefully read the 2018/2019 student handbook which has full details. Upon arrival in Nairobi, it can also serve as a manual for some aspects of life there, so participants are asked to bring the handbook with them. There will be plenty of time for more in-depth orientation to the land and its people during the time of the program. The information in the following pages can help ensure that all be ready for the extraordinary “safari” upon which they are about to embark (cf. Appendix A: Maps of Africa).

As you begin your preparation for departure, it is worthwhile to state clearly the purpose and nature of the program so there is no misunderstanding once you arrive. The primary goal of the MIAS program is to teach systematically contemporary cultures and religion of Kenya in such a way that students appropriate and can articulate an African perspective on these realities. (Cf. 2017/2018 student handbook for a fuller explanation).


Section I


All U.S. students are eligible for missionary-discounted (Raptim subsidy) airline tickets sold through MTS Travel Bureau 222 W. Willow, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, ph. 312-690-7320 (Outside of Illinois 1-800-323-9402). Call for the most current prices. Be sure to check to see what restrictions there are on the fares. Some fares allow stopovers in Europe at no extra cost others do not permit stopovers. Some fares permit stopovers with a surcharge of US$50.00 to US$100.00. Be sure you clarify this matter with the travel agent before purchasing your ticket if you plan to spend time in Europe.

Another missionary discount travel agent is SIAMA Inc. They operate out of The Netherlands. They can be reached by mail at:

Siama World Mission Travel bv. 38
2311 ST Leiden
The Netherlands
Ph: 31-71-5163545 (Africa/S. America 31-71-5163535)
Toll free FAX from U.S. 1-800-283-5133.
E-mail: Siama@Siama.Antenna.NL

The program director has used SIAMA several times and has found it reliable. If you FAX, be sure to include your address and phone number.

For those who wish to shop around, special roundtrip fares to Nairobi are advertised in the U.S. and Europe in all large-city Sunday newspapers by various travel agencies (cf. Airfares: Appendix C).

Start early on your plane reservations. As June draws near many of the flights into Nairobi are sold out several months in advance. Also, embassies may want a return ticket number before issuing visas.

It is recommended that students who wish to tour Kenya and Tanzania contact the following traveling agencies:

1. For air travel call JET TRAVEL: Tel: (254-20) 310-360/310-365

2. For safaris in Kenya and Tanzania: call SAFARI SEEKERS and ask for Mr. Zul Hasham, Email: info@safari-seekerskenya.com; Ph. (+254) 0771 580 935; (+254) 0736 524 257.


PASSPORT: Students are responsible for procuring (or renewing) their passport. This is, of course, an absolutely essential document to be carried  at all times when traveling. Information concerning application for passports can be obtained at local post offices (U.S), or through a local passport agency. Make at least six (6) copies of your passport photo. Bring the extra ones with you.

VISA: Tourist visas for Kenya and Tanzania are mandatory. All students traveling into the country must purchase a visa online for US$50 before arriving at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. A Tanzania visa can be purchased at the Tanzania embassy in Nairobi or at the point of entry. It costs $100.00 for U.S. citizens. The visa is valid for 90 days and can be extended without cost. Also, Tanzania visa forms can be obtained through the travel bureau where you are buying your ticket or by direct contact with their embassies. All passport forms should be sent by registered mail to the embassies or processed through a travel bureau, e.g., MTS in the US offers a visa service at a minimal charge.

Upon arrival, the most convenient way to get to your place of residence is to take a TAXI. MIAS has an arrangement with NEW JAMBO TAXIS at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Telephone No: 020 822-011 or 020 822-114. As you pass thorough the doors after leaving customs, the New Jambo Taxis booth is on the left about half way down the corridor. It’s sign is clearly visible. Their rates, as of March 2015, are US$ 25.00 or  Kshs. 2500 to many areas within Nairobi. Identify yourself as a MIAS student showing them your acceptance letter.

If you are arriving late at night, be sure you notify the place where you are to stay so that they are prepared to receive you.

If you need someone to meet your flight, MIAS can arrange with it New Jambo Taxis. They wait outside of customs carrying a sign with your name on it. Be sure you contact the MIAS Director by phone or E-mail giving flight details if you wish to be met.

Day trips will be recommended and organized according to the interests of the students at the end of each session of the programs. The costs of these trips will be split equally among the participants. A one-day trip of a hundred miles in a hired van costs US$40.00 per person. Possibilities include: Nairobi National Game Park, Lake Naivasha National Park, Aberdare Ranges National Park, Mount Kenya, Lake Magadi and Lake Nakuru National Park.

Some of the most spectacular scenery and game parks in the world are just south of the Kenya’s border with Tanzania. At the end of one’s participation in the MIAS program, one might wish to make a special five day trip to visit Lake Manyara, Terangiri Game Parks, Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, and the Serengeti Game Park. Travel arrangements will be the responsibility of those interested. However, MIAS recommends a reliable low-cost company called “safari seekers” for all Kenyan and Tanzanian trips as listed above.

On numerous occasions students have found that they have not allowed sufficient time after the program to do all the things they planned to do before leaving East Africa. They rush back home because of prior commitments. This is unfortunate after coming so far and given the expense of the airfare. It is important that one leaves sufficient time at the end of the program to relax and travel a bit. It is suggested that if there are conflicts between the MIAS calendar and your school’s or employment calendar, that you make arrangements with your dean of students or employer before coming to allow for extra time.

It is recommended that you get an international driver’s license. It is recognized in Kenya and allows you to drive rental and private vehicles. In the U.S it is available through most American Automobile Association offices for US$5.00 and a passport photo. It is given immediately.



If you are on medication, you should plan on bringing enough supply along with you to last the length of the program. Also, be sure to bring your prescriptions signed by a physician, in case you need to refill it during your stay. There are well stocked pharmacies in Nairobi.

Kenya is in a malarial area. It is necessary that you take a prophylactic medicine several weeks prior to leaving the U.S., during the time spent in Kenya, and for several weeks after returning to the U.S. The proper medicine is obtained only by prescription. The drug “larium” (metakelfin/mefloquine) is a very toxic drug and a substantial percentage of people have had mild to serious psychological reactions to it. It should only be taken under doctor’s advice as a last resort. The common drug being prescribed is malarone.

Also, if you are not a resident of East Africa, a doctor’s recommendation assuring that you are in sufficient good health to follow the program is required as part of the application process.

Two letters of recommendation relating to your flexibility in adjusting to new situations, ability to handle stress and participate in a foreign culture are required. One of these recommendations is to be from your employer, supervisor or superior.

Tanzania requires a yellow fever inoculation. Kenya does not.  Typhoid and Para-typhoid shots are recommended.

This would be a good time to update your tetanus immunization. If you have not had a tetanus immunization or booster in the past ten years, it is recommended that you do so before the trip. If you are concerned about a particular ailment or allergy, please consult your physician before departure.

All major cities and major universities have clinics that specialize in inoculations and health precautions for world travelers. Look in the phone book for the one nearest to you. It is suggested that you make an appointment during the latter part of April so that you will have time to get all the proper shots. In addition, you will be started on a malarial prophylactic.

Each student is responsible for their medical insurance. This is available, e.g., in the US through an International Student I.D. card which costs students US$10.00 through the Council on International Education Exchange (C.I.E.E.). For details call: 1-888-268-6245 or email: insurance@ciee.org . Ask your dean of students about this International Student I.D. card as some schools offer an application service to their students.

The purchase of this card automatically provides some modest coverage for the duration of the card’s validity. Should you wish more coverage, you should consult an insurance agent, e.g. in the US, The Travelers Insurance Company, One Tower Square, Hartford CN 06183-5040 which has special coverage for international travelers, or obtain an optional travel insurance policy through a travel agent. In cases of necessity, the Institute will underwrite medical bills in Kenya that will be reimbursed by the student’s insurance upon returning to the U.S.


Section II



Besides Tuition, there are the following expenses that are paid personally. It is projected that in 2017/2018 these expenses will be approximately US$1050.00 per course.

BOOKS:       Ksh.10,000 (US$100) per course.

TRANSPORTATION: for field research to and from Tangaza: Approx. Ksh. 10,000 (US$100) per course.

BOARD AND ROOM (If not resident in Nairobi): US$ 20-30.00 depending on where one stays and the Kshs exchange rate per US$ at the time of the program. If staying in a guesthouse, to be on the safe side the cost of board and room should be calculated at US$30.00 per day.

POCKET MONEY: Approximately US$100.00 per course (Non-residents of Nairobi).

TRANSPORTATION: To and from Nairobi depends on the point of departure.





Payable to Maryknoll Institute of African Studies in Kenya Shillings. Other currencies pay in cash or send by wire transfer (write for addresses).

One Course: Four Credits (Three Weeks)

Tuition: US$1080.00 or equivalent in Kshs. at time of payment

Two Courses: Eight Credits (Six Weeks)

Tuition: US$2160.00 or equivalent in Kshs. at time of payment

TOTAL ESTIMATED COST PER COURSE FOR 2018/2019: US$2130.00 (excluding transport to Nairobi)

Since the situation of each student is unique, it is necessary to calculate the cost of the Living Expenses, then add on Tuition, Books, Program transportation, and Pocket Moneyto find the total cost per course for a particular student. For example, in 2015, the total expenses for a student from the US who lived at the Tangaza University College Hostel, for two courses was US$4200.00 (not including the cost of transportation to and from the US).




Payable to Maryknoll Institute of African Studies in Kenya Shillings. Other currencies pay in cash or send by wire transfer (write for addresses).

One Course: Four Credits (Three Weeks)

Tuition:  Kshs. 37,500 or equivalent in US$ at time of payment

Two Courses: Eight Credits (Six Weeks)

Tuition: Kshs. 75,000 or equivalent in US$ at time of payment

 TOTAL ESTIMATED COST PER COURSE FOR 2018/2019: US$1590.00. (excluding transport to Nairobi)

Since the situation of each local student is unique, it is necessary to calculate the cost of the Living Expenses, then add on TuitionBooksProgram transportation, and Pocket Money to find the total cost per course for a particular student. For example, in 2015, the total expenses for a student resident in Africa, who lived at Tangaza University College Hostel, for two courses was US$3180.00 (not including the cost of transportation to and from Nairobi).

ATTN! The Kenya shilling (and prices) has fluctuated widely the past two and a half years. In August 2015 it stood at Kshs 100/US$. As the program draws near, you will be notified of the Kenya shilling exchange rate with the U.S. dollar so you can revise your budget, if needed.

Kenya currency is based on the decimal system. The unit of currency is the shilling, divided into 100 cents.

The law of Kenya, as of October 1994, allows a person to bring up to US$5000.00 of foreign currency into the country whether cash or travelers cheques without declaring it. As you need shillings, exchange your foreign currency at the local Forex Bureaus. Visitors are advised to check currency rates regularly. As  of August 2015 one U.S. dollar was worth one hundred Kenya shillings. Visitors are strongly advised to avoid street dealers and to transact all currency dealings through official dealers. It is a serious offence to deface or knowingly damage Kenyan currency.

Pay all fares and gratuities in Kenyan shillings. It is suggested for security reasons that you bring some cash with you. Note, personal cheques are virtually impossible to cash. However, cash advances through credit cards is available in the larger hotels, businesses, travel agencies and restaurants. Major credit cards, especially Visa, MasterCard and American Express can be used for the purchase of goods and services.

Never pack cash or credit cards in your luggage or leave them in your room. Petty thievery is a universal phenomenon. Many of the students in past years carried their passport and cash in a small money pouch that hangs from the neck and is concealed inside a shirt or blouse. It is recommended that you purchase one for the trip.
In the U.S. they are available in luggage stores.

Everyone will have different needs when it comes to how much money should be brought along for the trip. The following information will help you plan but it cannot provide airtight regulation.

During your stay in Kenya, unless other arrangements are made, all your meals will be provided at your residence. There is usually a flat fee covering both board and room payable whether you are present or not for meals.

If you dine out or are away from the residence on a private excursion, the expense will be yours. A meal in a good Nairobi restaurant costs US$10.00-20.00. Meals in small local restaurants cost US$5.00-10.00.

The cost of living in Nairobi is expensive. Clothing, film, restaurant meals, books, stationery, toiletries, etc. are as high in price or higher than they are e.g., in the United States. As suggested, it is good to have purchased most of your basic needs before traveling to Africa.

Items that you are likely to buy during your trip would be the following: wood carvings, locally manufactured cloth, batiks, jewelry, paintings, musical instruments and handicrafts — all available in the markets. Always haggle over the price. You can often cut the original price in half.

You will tend to take more pictures of the spectacular sights of Africa than you would ordinarily be tempted to do in your backyard. So, if you are a camera buff, bring an extra memory card. Processing of prints and slides in Nairobi is possible and quite reasonable. However, you may prefer to process your film in your home country.

Name brands are expensive and local brands are sometimes of poor quality. You should plan on bringing all the clothes you intend to wear (cf. check list in Addendum I).

You will want to wander around on your own and so you should budget some money for travel. There is public bus service all over Kenya and the fares are reasonable.

In addition to these ordinary expenses, it is prudent to budget some amount for unforeseen emergencies, e.g. broken eye glasses, medical emergencies, lost clothing or equipment, etc.

The Institute is responsible only for the tuition received for the courses which must be paid in advance to Michael C. Kirwen A/C MIAS. The tuition is non-refundable except in the cases of medical hardship or family emergencies where application can be made for a refund. The program is not responsible for: a) passport and visa fees; b) travel, visits, or excursions; c) insurance, whether travel, life, accident, or health, d) board and room, e) airfares, f) for any medical expenses incurred by any member of the program, and g) for any additional costs incurred by participants who cannot complete the program, for whatever reason.


Section III


Direct dial phone service between Kenya and the United States is excellent and inexpensive. A ten minute call to the U.S. costs about U.S. 50 cents. Also, collect calls from Kenya are not possible. Furthermore, the AT&T, Sprint or MIC calling card cannot be used to dial a U.S. operator direct.

Please note that mail service between Kenya and the United States or Europe is rather slow. Air Mail takes from six to ten days (occasionally even longer); be sure to alert your relatives and friends of this delay.

The food in Kenya is very good and nourishing. The type of food is comparable to what you are already used to — pork, beef, lamb, chicken and fish. Also there are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in season. Bread is excellent. Vegetarians foods are served in most restaurants.

One aspect of living in Africa that people do not often think of in advance is the necessary adjustment to a foreign culture. This does not usually become apparent until the novelty of the first few days overseas has worn off. At that point, some of the frustrations of not knowing an African language and having to deal with the inconveniences or deprivations of another culture than your own begin to loom large. Some people will feel a bit lonely or enervated. Tempers might grow short. All of these are normal and transitory experiences of people adjusting to life in a different culture. To be aware of the cause of such feelings and to know that you are not alone in having them can go a long way toward dissipating them in yourself and being more understanding of others. Through some group discussion we hope to facilitate everyone’s adjustment. By the end of the program, the experience of having lived in another culture usually turns out to be one of the richest treasures people take away from the program.


Section IV


For 2016, the first Immersion session begins on May 14th, 2019 at 9:00 am with an orientation for all students to the first session and continues to June 5th,2019 the second session runs from June 11th ,  2018 to July 3rd, 2019. 

Students new to Africa are requested to arrive three days before the beginning of a session so that they are adjusted to the climate and altitude, and are over their jet lag before classes begin.

The process of field research is facilitated by Kenyan university graduates who have been hired to lead the students into various dimensions of African society. The meetings and trips with the field assistants are organized in such a way that the students experience new realities of the Kenyan society in the Nairobi area at least three times a week. For example, trips are made to the local markets, University of Nairobi, housing estates, various Christian churches and ministries, diviners and traditional healers, etc. During these trips, besides participant observation, students discuss with informants and others the ideas and issues being presented in the classroom.

Class days are Wednesday through Friday for the three week immersion program. The lectures are at Tangaza University College from 8:30 am-12:15 pm. This is followed by a prayer service from 12:15 pm to 12:30 pm. At 12:30 pm lunch is served in the cafeteria. Afternoons have workshops scheduled on field research skills and technique, field research projects and pastoral reflection. The rest of the week (Saturday – Tuesday) is for field research with one’s personal field assistant, reading and writing (each week three days of field research sessions are planned in advance with the supervision of the lecturers) and for library research, private study, writing of a fifteen page research/integration paper. Transportation to and from the school is the responsibility of the students.

The following is the list of courses that have been prepared by various lecturers for the 2017/2018 Immersion programs. Sufficient student pre-registration determines whether a particular course is taught. This is why one is asked to select three courses by way of priority. A separate booklet (COURSE CATALOGUE) is available with the course outlines and descriptions.



______ African Cultures: An Overview*

______ African Traditional Religion Interprets the Bible

______ African Feminist/Womanist Theology: A Source for African Christian Theology

______ Contemporary Political and Economic Realities in Kenya

______ Sociology of Development/Underdevelopment in African Religion

______ Introduction to East African Art

______ Towards the Inculturation of Religious Community Life in Africa

______ African Christian Theology: Historical and Systematic Development

______ Spirituality, Personhood and Psychotherapy in an African Context

______ Gospel and Culture: The African Experience


______ African Cultures: An Overview*

______ African Traditional Religion: Major Beliefs, Practices and Contemporary Forms

______ African Marriage and Family: Challenge and Change

______ Introduction to East African Literature: Focus on Religious Conflicts

______ Justice and Peace in East Africa

______ Church in Contemporary Africa: its political, social and economic situation

______ Introduction to Islam in Eastern Africa

______ Ideology and Practice of Health Ministry in Contemporary Africa: Traditional and Western

______ Sage Philosophy: The Root of African Philosophy and Religion

______ Moral Teaching and Practices of African Traditional Religion

______ Mission in Africa Today: Methods, Concepts, Practices & Challenges

* The course, African Cultures: An Overview, is repeated in each session as it is a required course for those in the Master programs, and a popular course for students new to Africa.


Section V


The courses are taught in three week periods with thirteen hours of instruction per week. Four postgraduate credits are granted for the successful completion of each course.

There are two sessions in the MIAS Immersion programs. Each session offers six to ten courses, some of which are foundational and some advanced.

If a student successfully completes two courses during the 2017/2018 Immersion sessions, he/she receives eight semester-credits which are registered and awarded by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota/USA.


For all foreign and Non-East African students

August 15, 2018 for the September 7 – November 30, 2018 Semester program

December 15, 2018 for the January 18 – April 12, 2019 Semester program

May 1, 2019 for the May 14 – June 5, 2019 Immersion program

June 1, 2019 for the June 11 – July 3, 2019 Immersion program

August 15, 2019 for the September 13 – December 6, 2019 Semester program

ADDENDUM I: Checklist

ADDENDUM II: A Taste of the Language