Kenya Fabrics

Minnesota Studies in International Developement - Kenya

  • Fall Semester: early September - mid-December
  • Spring Semester: mid-January - late April

Credits: 16, graded A-F, grades count in Carlson School GPA

The Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID) program is offered in cooperation with the Learning Abroad Center


Kenya’s geographic and cultural diversity make it a microcosm of the African continent. It includes hot coastal plains, vast plateaus, Africa’s largest lake and highest mountain and hundreds of miles of the great Rift Valley. Home to more than 45 tribes, significant European and South Asian minorities and a population of 28 million speaking dozens of languages, Kenya shares with its neighbors the challenges of forging a multi-ethnic, post-colonial nation. Most Kenyans are farmers or herders, yet the capital of Nairobi is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in East Africa and the base for many international and Kenyan organizations promoting development and social change.


Learning from experience is the core of Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID). The program puts you in direct contact with the social and economic realities of actual communities and of people working within them to address complex problems. Through classes, field trips, internships and research, MSID strives to establish a continual dialogue linking experience with theory and critical analysis.


To be eligible for this education abroad program, you must be:

  • A junior or senior (at the time of the program)
  • In good academic standing with a minimum of 2.5 GPA


The semester program consists of four classes and students engage in an internship or research project. All classes are with program participants and are taught by local faculty. Students have the opportunity to discuss the complex nature of development as realized in your MSID country. This program is for you if you are interested in completing an internship in small business development, entrepreneurship, or alternative economies in Kenya. 

The four courses are:

  • International Development: Critical Perspectives in Theory and Practice
  • MSID Country Analysis
  • Beginning or Intermediate Swahili
  • Community Engagement in the Global South

Information on academic year curriculum and more detailed semester academic information can be found on the Learning Abroad Center’s website:


A wide range of placement possibilities are available through the MSID program. MSID provides background in:

  • development theory
  • cross-cultural communication
  • area studies
  • organizational analysis and language

MSID facilitates a placement in direct contact with the people of the host society, both those who are managing social change through development efforts, and those for whom these efforts are designed. Ideally, the internship placement and living experience help you better understand the complexity of social change and development in the global context.

MSID internships and research projects have the following common elements:

  • Are related to development
  • Are grassroots immersing you directly and personally in the social realities of the poorer strata of the population
  • Demand meaningful, challenging work while serving agency goals
  • Are guided by objectives agreed to by the supervisor, academic coordinator, and you
  • Involve a minimum of 25 hours per week of work
  • Participants earn 4 credits

Learn more about the internships on the Learning Abroad Center’s website:


All courses are taught in English. In addition, all students are required to take a beginner or intermediate course in Swahili. 


Homestays are an integral component of the MSID learning experience. You will live and share most meals with at least one family, and possibly with two different families, one during the classroom phase in Nairobi and a second in a different part of the country during the remainder of the program.

Budget Estimate

The most up to date budget estimates can be found on the Learning Abroad Center website:

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Most financial aid may be applied to the cost of study abroad. In addition, all Carlson School students participating on Learning Abroad Center programs may apply for merit and need-based scholarships through CGI.

Carlson students accepted into an MSID program will be invited to apply for the Jeanne Voigt Foundation Scholarship for Study Abroad in Emerging Economies. The scholarship funds support the incremental costs of the study abroad experience, including but not limited to travel and living expenses. Scholarship recipients will be invited to meet the benefactor after they return from their experience abroad. Contact Jennie Meinz at if you have questions about this scholarship.

Additional scholarships may be available through the Learning Abroad Center. You can learn more at:

Application & Admission

You will need to apply online through the Learning Abroad Center for this program.  You can find application information and instructions on their website at:

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Contact Information

Carlson Global Institute
Carlson School of Management 2-210
Phone: 612-625-9361
Fax: 612-624-8248

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