Go on an African safari this Winter Break! Learn about wildlife conservation in Kenya and experience the incredible diversity of its wildlife and landscapes.

Due to the sensitive nature of the region, this group's size will be limited, so we suggest you submit an application online sooner rather than later. Read more about Academic Director Ryan Valdez's research and how this program began in an article recently published by Mason Research. An engaging exploration of Kenya's vast and diverse ecosystems, this course will put you in close proximity to some incredible and charismatic wildlife.

Mason Study Abroad in Kenya, 2010 to 2014

Kenya Program in 2012


View KENYA: Ecology & Conservation in a larger map

Participants will have an incredible experience viewing wildlife, while learning about current challenges facing terrestrial megafauna that include the classic big five (lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and rhino). We will accomplish this by visiting multiple national parks, meeting key conservation biologists, and being introduced to a wide range of current wildlife management issues. Here is a list of some of the places we will go:

At both the applied and academic level, topics will include the conservation, biology, and behavior of species; landscapes and the conservation of protected and non-protected areas; human-wildlife conflicts; and the complexities of community-level interactions.

Academic Director

faculty director in landscape

Program developed and led by faculty director Ryan Valdez:

Ryan Valdez is a research fellow at the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park and a Ph.D. candidate at George Mason University. He is studying landscape-ecology as it applies to predator and herbivore recovery in savanna ecosystems of Kenya.  Ryan has worked with the National Zoo's science initiatives (currently the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute) for the past ten years in exhibit, education, and research capacities, as well as managing a geospatial science program for the Amazon region. Prior to the Smithsonian, Ryan spent much of his time in the field studying wolves, ocelot, and sea turtles, among other species of wildlife. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University and a Masters degree from Yale University.

Our student group will experience an educational wildlife safari (using JK Safaris) in two large, 4-wheel drive Land Cruiser vehicles with detachable roof tops. These vehicles will always travel together and offer plenty of window and roof-top viewing. During the entire duration of the course, the group will be accompanied by an in-country field coordinator. We will have a very comfortable and safe journey while exploring Kenya's wild landscapes.

2011 Kenya group in vehicle

Dates: January 3 - 18, 2014*

You should plan to leave the United States at least one day prior to the program start date to arrive in Kenya for the first day of the program. You can schedule your return to the United States from Kenya for the last day of the program or choose to travel independently. Also, US-bound flights leaving Kenya on January 18th will arrive on January 19th.

Do not purchase airfare until you are advised by your Program Officer.

Program Fee: $5,650

The Center for Global Education Program Fee includes:

  • Tuition

  • Housing

  • Transportation within Kenya in safari vehicles

  • Airport transfer in Nairobi to/from program lodging

  • In-country field coordinator

  • Most meals

  • All bush drives

  • Guest lectures

  • Pre-departure orientation

  • Emergency medical insurance, including medical evacuation and repatriation


Scholarships are available to George Mason students through the Center for Global Education as well as through outside resources.

CGE Scholarships

Open to George Mason University students who participate in CGE Winter Break and Summer Programs. CGE Scholarship amounts range from approximately $250 to $1,000 and are both merit- and need-based. Students who are awarded a Global Scholarship may volunteer to assist CGE in the promotion of study abroad upon their return.

CGE Scholarships Information Page

Financial Aid

Mason students may also use financial aid (external link to FAFSA Student Aid) to cover a program's cost. If you are not a George Mason university student check with your study abroad office or office of financial aid to learn more about how to cover the cost of your study abroad.

How to Apply

Consult the How to Apply section for detailed instructions.

  1. Start by completing the online application.

  2. Pay the $150 registration and processing fee ($200 for non-Mason).

Note that all supplemental documents are required by the application deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Contact the Program Officer for further application forms and instructions specific to your program.

*CGE reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, or any other unforeseen circumstances.