Students of the pioneer class of the Bachelor of Arts had the opportunity to experience the rich cultural life in three European cities: Paris, Pamplona and Madrid. Here, the group comprising of students from the three Bachelor of Arts degree courses BAC (Bachelor of Arts in Communication) BDP (Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies & Philosophy) and BIS (Bachelor of Arts in International Studies) was immersed in vibrant activities to our hearts delight.
Our journey commenced at the city of lights, Paris, where we visited the infamous Musee du Louvre which houses the iconic Monalisa. We took a tour through the city appreciating the historical sites that date back to the Napoleonic period. The experience brought us before the fine architecture of the Notre Dame where we were able to whisper a silent prayer in the pews. From the heights of Montmartre beamed the city view, with the Eiffel Tower beckoning in the distance. The tower happened to be a stone throw away from our residence thus enabling us to visit it at will. We stopped by our home away from home, the Kenyan Embassy, where we were received by the Kenyan ambassador to France H. E. Ambassador Salma Ahmed with whom we shared insights into the future of diplomacy. The visit to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris helped us to appreciate the different functions of the UN body, which include preservation of historical sites.
The encounter boasted a host of meaningful interactions with fellow students at The Paris Institute of Political Studies, fondly referred to as Sciences Po, where many French presidents studied, along with other notable leaders the world over. Characteristically, we found ourselves pleasantly astounded by the vast array of sites and bites to choose from. Regardless, we were able to taste the fine cuisine that the French are world over known for, as well as having some familiar dishes courtesy of the Kenyan Embassy in France.
In Pamplona we were welcomed by members of University of Navarra, and had a pleasant time, sharing insights into campus life as well as engaging lecturers in discussions.
The trek to downtown Pamplona culminated in a special dinner where our taste buds were teased with a fine array of traditional ‘pinchos’, typical of Navarra, and drinks. A bus ride away, Madrid greeted us with some light showers, but we did not let this dampen our mood (pun intended). Here, we were able to visit the Royal Palace where we saw a vast array of fine tapestries, chandeliers and clocks attributed to the generations of Spanish monarchs.
Whilst at Madrid, we visited EL MUNDO, one of the top media stations and La COPE where we had the privilege of being invited for the live commentary of the UEFA Champions League Final. The city took on a life of its own after the victory of Real Madrid and we joined in the celebrations. We were also engaged in a round-table discussion with the students from Escuela Diplomatica where the opportunities and challenges facing the diplomatic career were discussed. Here, we were well represented by Miss Husna Kipsoi (BIS) and Mr Brian Kasiu (BAC). The trip culminated with a tour of Museo Nacional del Prado where we interacted with the fine artwork of Velazquez, Goya and Reubens, among others.
All in all, in many ways, each student had a personal testimony of what this trip meant to them. To sample a few, “It met my expectations. I feel like I can come back to Paris over and over again. It was beyond what I imagined. It was a bit tiring, but worth it. I found the people really friendly. Each place that I asked for directions I was given, and I really liked that”, Lorraine BDP. “The trip was great. It exposed us to different societies where we saw how detailed their systems were to achieve their successes. I appreciated life with others in the residences and being conscious of other people’s well-being. On interaction with other students I realized that our experiences may be different but we all aim for the same goal,” Munyui BIS. “This trip has been amazing, not only did we feast our eyes on the beauty and culture of Europe but also on the academic opportunities that lay ahead of us. I am humbled and grateful that I got to be a part of such an experience. I applaud all who took part in making this a success,” Christine BAC.
We would like to mention in a special way the members of faculty who not only facilitated the trip but also provided care and guidance whenever it was needed. To Professor Christine Gichure, our School dean, Mrs Caroline Maingi, Ms Sara Mehrgut, Mr Stephen Gituku and all those who worked behind the scenes to make this possible, we say Asanteni Sana!
Written by Diana Owuor (BIS)