History Major Studies 10 Countries, Focuses on East Africa

By Purnell T. Cropper | March 2, 2010

By Sarah R. Schwartz ’10

Ten countries and four continents later, History major Andrew Kempe ’10, who has a concentration in Middle Eastern and African studies, has the research skills and confidence to work anywhere. “I’ve been able to advance my knowledge of the Middle East and Africa through a combination of study abroad, independent study, and the History and International Studies programs’ diverse course offerings,” he says. Kempe was drawn to Arcadia’s Promise of a global perspective. “I knew that the experience of attending a university with an internationally diverse group of peers would be useful to me in my studies of world history,” he says. “Somewhere along the line, I got tired of learning from books, professors, and databases and decided to do some work overseas.”

After participating in Scotland Preview and The College of Global Studies’ program in Australia, Kempe realized his passions were taking him in a specific direction.  With the assistance of Dr. Geoff Haywood, Associate Professor and Chair of the  History and International Studies Department, and Dr. Jennifer Riggan, Assistant Professor of International Studies, Kempe created two independent study courses so he could study in East Africa.

“Arcadia is full of professors who know your abilities and are passionate about helping you advance them. It’s one of the advantages of the small class size,” he says. With faculty help, Kempe studied in Indonesia, India, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, and other African countries.

While overseas, Kempe gained an understanding of business development, politics and tourism on the African continent, interacted with numerous Non-Governmental Organizations, and made contacts that will be useful in the years to come. “Whether or not I take a job in the field of African studies, the research skills I gained attempting to operate under the sometime chaotic conditions in the region give me the confidence to know I can perform almost anywhere.”

Kempe encourages students to pursue their individual passions and interests. “Set things up yourself, handle your own logistics, figure out your own security information, and do your own networking.” With the help of Arcadia’s faculty, the experience was invaluable. “I learned so much about the area that it wasn’t possible to fully comprehend by simply reading through books.”