Is international relations marketable in Kenya?

International relations excites a good number of students in Kenya and a career in international relations sounds very attractive but is international relations marketable in Kenya really?

Below is what you should know about the course when it comes to job opportunities…

Is international relations marketable in Kenya?

From my research, there are not many jobs for holders of international relations course in Kenya..

In fact, you can yourself do a Google search for “International relations jobs in Kenya” and see the number of jobs that pop up…you will see there are not many opportunities out there.

Why?

Well, I feel that it’s because of the nature of the course- remember international relations as a career is all about building better relationships between nations and large international organizations.

And definitely, there are not many such international organizations in Kenya.

Also, while Kenya is popular internationally because of its strategic position in Africa (politically and economically), the country is yet to reach a point where it can employ every graduate of international relations (most consuls and embassies have a few employees only).

So in a nutshell, International Relations course is not the most marketable in Kenya and you should weigh out your options carefully before going ahead to take the course.

Of course, there are chances you will get a job at some point but it’s very clear that you might ‘tarmac’ for long  before securing meaningful employment.

Let’s now look at other details about international relations as a course and as a career just in case you decide to pursue the course:

What is international relations course all about?

As mentioned previously, International relations is simply the study of the economy, politics, history and laws of foreign countries(practices and understanding)

You are expected to use the knowledge you get to examine global issues such as poverty, foreign policies, globalization, human rights, ethics, security, and environment.

What do holders of international relations do on a day-to-day basis?

Here now are some of the responsibilities you will be performing:

  1. Spearhead international expansions by opening new branches where assigned.
  2. Initiating international communications, marketing, and fund-raising programmes.
  3. Directing International Office branches when it comes to planning of projects, their implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and more.
  4. Act as the primary point-of-contact for international affairs.
  5. Maintaining proper relationship with international partners and initiating new relationships with governments/other partners
  6. Organizing and evaluating international activities including conferences, seminars, etc.

Requirements to do international relations courses in Kenya

Degree in International Relations

KCSE Mean Grade: C+

Additional requirements:

English or Kiswahili – C +

Diploma in international relations and diplomacy in Kenya

KCSE Mean Grade: C-(C Minus) or above

Additional requirements:

English / Kiswahili: D-

Mathematics / Geography/History/ Business Studies/ Computer Studies/Agriculture/CRE- D-

Quick Note: You can enroll for a Diploma in International relations at Zetech University. Here are the details. The other institutions you can check out if you want to take a Diploma are Strathmore University and Riara University

Where can I study international relations in Kenya?

Below are some of the universities offering international relations in Kenya (degree):

University name Programme’s Name
Catholic University Bachelor Of Arts – International Relations
Daystar University Bachelor Of Arts -International Relations
JOOUST(Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University) Bachelor Of Arts(International Relations& Diplomacy) With It
Kenya Methodist University Bachelor Of Arts -International Relations
Mt Kenya University Bachelor Of Arts -International Relations
Maseno University Bachelor Of Arts(International Relations& Diplomacy) With It
Pioneer International University Bachelor Of Arts(International Relations&  Diplomacy)
Rongo University Bachelor Of Arts – International Relations
Riara University Bachelor Of Arts – International Relations& Diplomacy
Technical University of Kenya Bachelor Of Arts -International Relations& Diplomacy)
University Of Nairobi Bachelor Of Arts – International Studies
Zetech University Bachelor Of Arts – International Relations& Diplomacy

To apply for a degree, you can apply through KUCCPS (which means you will study under government sponsorship) or by visiting the institution directly (if you are self-sponsored).

Keep in mind that you can make yourself more marketable by studying subjects/short courses that go hand-in-hand with international relations degree including foreign languages, political science, and international business.

Skills and interests you should have if you want to build a successful career in international relations

  • Excellent communication skills (orally and written)
  • Outstanding interpersonal as well as presentation skills
  • Ability to work comfortably with people from different cultures
  • Good computer skills.
  • Strong organizational / management skills
  • Ability to multitask and prioritize
  • Curiosity to learn new things and take on fresh challenges
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Be flexible and adaptable (to fit in a multi-cultural environment)

Career prospects for graduates of international relations courses in Kenya

Here are some of the typical jobs that a degree in international relations may open for you:

  • International Relations Assistant
  • Lecturer -international relations
  • Government Relations Specialist
  • International PR professional
  • International marketing specialist
  • Diplomat
  • Political Affairs Officer
  • Political scientist
  • International policy analyst
  • Corporate consultancy
  • Intelligence Specialists

 

Where can you find work?

  • NGO or non-for-profit organizations that have operations internationally
  • Foreign affairs ministry
  • Political parties
  • Intergovernmental organisations such as IGAD

Is international relations marketable in Kenya? (Recap)

Well, International Relations course is not the most marketable in Kenya and you should weigh out your options carefully before going ahead to take the course.

Of course, there are chances you will get a job at some point but it’s very clear that you might ‘tarmac’ for long  before securing meaningful employment.

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CPA John Gitahi is a former college lecturer and has been involved in education all his life. He's passionate about helping young people make great career choices. He studied Commerce and ICT at the University and runs several successful online entreprises. He is also an avid traveller.

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