Catherine Mumo: A future diplomat from Strathmore University
Strathmore University, a private university located in the heart of Nairobi, offers a rich and vibrant student life while increasing connections in the professional world.
With its food court, leather chairs and reading spaces, the Student Center is the daily meeting place for students at Strathmore University. On the tables that dot the large open space on the ground floor students study, eat, listen to music or chat in small groups. The wide escalator that serves the building and the ATM machine resemble the atmosphere of the shopping malls of the capital.
Here, Catherine Mumo is like a fish in water. Greeting some, advising others, she always has a smile. This energetic 21-year-old, fluent Kenyan girl was recently elected Vice President of the Student Council. To acquire this position, she had to go to classrooms to campaign, outline her vision for the docket and participate in a public debate with the other candidates. “Before this campaign, I was afraid to express myself in public. But today, this does not pose a problem anymore!” she confides with a smile. Since being elected, she arrives one hour before classes and works in the comfortable office of the student council. “We try to make university life as dynamic as possible. We have games nights, movie nights and of course we have the clubs,” she explains.
Bring students and professionals together
The campus has 25 clubs in all. Some are related to the courses offered in the university, such as the marketing club or finance club while others are fun oriented, such as choir or dance club. Catherine, who is pursuing a double degree in marketing and international studies, is part of the Kenya Model United Nations club. Students do their best to make the experience as realistic as possible by inviting experts and ambassadors to their sessions. And it works. It is thanks to her activities within this club that Catherine was spotted by UNICEF who invited her to be one of their “ambassadors of youth”. Since June, she has therefore used her spare time to listen to the concerns of young Kenyans and bring them back to the international organization. And it is quite naturally within UNICEF that she plans to do her final year internship.
“What’s good about Strathmore is that it’s a brand. Students who come out have an advantage in the job market,” says Catherine. For those who dream of working in an embassy, the choice was quickly made. Today in third year, she has already made a study trip to Spain and France and enjoys the many interventions of professionals of diplomacy in class. Her family chose Strathmore for its connections to the Catholic Church and the values it instills. The institution requires all students to do at least 200 hours of community service during their studies. Some take the opportunity to help refugees in the Dadaab camp in the north of the country, to help NGOs in slums or to go abroad with associations.
It is therefore with pride that Catherine appreciates her university: its two chapels, its basketball court and its library which can be accessed by biometric recognition. “The learning environment is of high quality. And then we have good relationships with the teachers. If you have a problem, there is always someone to talk to,” she says. Each student is assigned a mentor upon arrival at the university. The only thing missing, in her opinion, is housing on campus, which would make life easier for international students and Kenyans from other parts of the country.
This article was written by Laure Broulard and was first published by Jeune Afrique. The article has been translated from French.