Linking local students with overseas universities
When Kenya students want to study abroad, many of them engage in internet searches to find information on the college they want to join and where they can stay.
Others visit embassies of countries where the institutions are located to inquire about the information
For those who are lucky, foreign universities seeking prospective students hold education fairs in Nairobi and invite the public to attend.
During the events, students meet representatives of the colleges who answer their queries about the courses they want to study, financial implications and where they can stay while studying.
Certainly, for many people, this is the best way to get information about studying abroad. But such opportunities do not come every day and for everyone.
Many students therefore, especially those who are outside Nairobi , do not get a chance to attend such fairs.
And when students get the information they want, apply and receive admission letters.
They often find themselves in a quandary since they have to figure out how they will stay in the countries.
Having realized these challenges, a young man is using the internet to offer up-to-date information on various colleges to students who want to go to the United States to study.
He is also linking them with people they can live with in the country when they want to start their studies.
David Njoroge has developed a website, which he has also turned into an organization, which he uses to connect students with Kenyans who can stay with them abroad.
The organization is called Link Study Abroad Consultants Kenya.
“Students who want to travel to the United States for study go to the website where they register for free and fill a form providing their details,” he says.
Once they have registered, they will get a confirmation message and then asked for further details, which they will also fill on the internet.
“It is a process. We do this so that we only deal with serious people. Otherwise, you may work on details of a student yet he has no intentions of leaving Kenya or he does not have an admission letter,” he says.
It is only after they answer the second form and Njoroge contacts them, ascertains whether they have admission letters that he starts searching for prospective people who can host them.
“Most of them who register on the website have letters of admission. However, others want help so that they can make decisions on where to go to study,” he says.
Njoroge says in the search for those to stay with, he links up with his contacts in various states in the United States , asking them if they can accommodate students. “It is a process that takes time. You have to inquire from several people before you find someone who is willing to take a student,” he says.
Those he contacts, however, are not only Kenyans living abroad. Some are American families, who are willing to host people. The stay, however, is temporary.
He agrees with his contacts on the period someone is going to stay there as they settle down before they can move out and be independent.
One of the things he considers when looking for people students can stay with is the location of the university and the amount of money a person or families will charge.
Interestingly, he says some people do not charge any fee, but allow the student to stay with them for a certain period. “Most of those who do this are students or people who were also helped when they went there. To them, it is a way of returning gratitude to fellow immigrants, who they also advise to help others,” he says.
Most students from Kenya , he says, while looking for hosts in the United States prefer to stay with families.
“They believe it is secure to stay with a family than to live with an individual. This is because a family setting is more favorable. This is what I advise them,” he says.
Njoroge, who did his undergraduate studies in information technology and social sciences, says he came up with the idea after experiencing problems when he landed in the United States .
“It was difficult for me to find a better place to stay in the United States . I stayed at a hostel but it was very expensive.
“My friends who were staying with families were better off. It is then that he developed the website,” says Njoroge who charges successful students depending on the service.
However, he does not only target students who want to study in America , he also handles those who want to study in other countries, Africa included.
Beatrice Mugusha, a Rwandese student in Kenya says, through the website, Njoroge helped him to find a family she stayed with while studying.
The student who is doing her attachment at a firm in Kenya says the stay helped her complete her first studies on time.
Mugusha, though still a student, is now independent.
Since he started about three years ago, Njoroge says the agency has helped over 500 students.