This 10-week Spring Term program is a fantastic opportunity for Lawrence students who have completed through French 202 (or the equivalent)! Through classes at the Baobab Center in Dakar, living with a host family, excursions, and the opportunity to work on an independent service project, students will immerse themselves in both the French language and the vibrant Afro-Francophone culture of West Central Africa.
Learning at the Baobab Center
The Baobab Center (also known as African Consultants International) is a resource center situated in Dakar, Senegal, that works with numerous American universities to provide language instruction in French, Wolof, and other native languages. At the center, Lawrence students will attend:
- Cultural orientation workshops designed to help them gain an understanding of the Senegalese lifestyle and integrate into the local society
- Classes on Senegalese culture, literature and history; French language; beginning Wolof; and Senegalese music, taught by ACI’s Senegalese faculty, visiting professors from Senegalese universities, and a Lawrence University professor who accompanies students on this program. Students can rely on faculty to address any questions or concerns throughout their stay.
Living with a Host Family
"Nene teral ganam yi. Def be bu nene sa ker mum el kerem." Translated from Wolof, that means, "Always receive a stranger like a brother. Make him feel at home in your house." The Senegalese refer to their country as the land of hospitality (known as "teranga" in Wolof), and former Lawrence participants in the Senegal program have thoroughly enjoyed the warmth and hospitality of their host families. In the program:
- Students live with a Senegalese family throughout the duration of their stay.
- Families are arranged prior to departure to Dakar
- Placements are made based on a pre-departure survey that students complete, where they have the opportunity to indicate any preferences they might have (e.g., family size, dietary preferences, etc.)
- Most students find the homestay the highlight of their experience, as it allows them unparalleled immersion into the culture and language, as well as more opportunities for meeting local people.
Working on Service Learning or Research Projects
While in Dakar, students will take part in an independent service learning or research project, which they will identify before their term abroad with the help of the Baobab Center and LU faculty.
- Student will focus on an area that interests them
- Projects can be (but are not required to be) related to student's major
- Students may choose to work on a senior experience/research project.
- Past projects have included placements in areas related to Biology, Global Studies, Government, and Environmental Studies
Experiencing Senegal through Cultural Activities
Throughout their term in Senegal, students will take part in a variety of cultural excursions, encompassing travel in and around Dakar as well as other cities throughout Senegal. These trips are included with the program’s cost and transportation and food during these outings is provided for the students. They are a great chance to get outside of the city and explore other parts of Senegal! Examples of past trips include:
- Gorée Island (the historic slave fort)
- Saint Louis (for the annual jazz festival)
- Touba (Senegalese Islamic Holy City)
- Toubab Dialaw (an artist colony)
- The Gambia
- Niodior (a small island south of Dakar)
- Bandia forest (a wildlife reservation and safari park)
|Senegal at a Glance|
|Year of Independence from France||1960|
|Languages||French (official language), Wolof, Mandingo, Serere, Parakolle|
|Government||Secular democratic republic. Senegal is one of the most politically stable countries in Africa.|
|Religions||Islam (92%), Christianity (6%), Animism (2%)|