More Alike Than Different
“One of the biggest things I learned traveling to Kenya is just how similar people are.”

This insight hit health education major Janet Kamiri, ’10, while she was on a four-week field study trip to Kenya. She realized, “children are children everywhere.”

“We talk a lot about addressing and understanding differences,” she says. “But the thing I learned was how differences often overshadow the similarities among people and how important it is to recognize that people are people worldwide.”

Kamiri traveled to Kenya, the African country that straddles the equator on the continent’s eastern coast, with a group of Ball State students to study child psychology and development and the impact of culture on learning.

The Ball State students spent a day preparing for immersion into Kenya’s diverse society while the remainder of their trip was in the field, traveling from school to school. They saw the country’s entire range of education.

“We saw their youngest students—3-year-olds in nursery school—to high school students,” says Kamiri. “We learned about education from their perspective.” They also explored the differences between Kenyan and American universities.

The Ball State group was comprised of a mix of majors and interests—from education to exercise science to speech-language pathology—all bringing different perspectives to what they discovered as they sought a deeper understanding of the relationship between culture and learning.

Perhaps the most distinct perspective in the group belonged to Kamiri, who is half Kenyan. For her, the journey also held personal meaning. Although she’s traveled all of her life, she found this trip, and traveling as an adult, different.

“I really understood the significance of the experience I was having,” she says.