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CIEE Development Studies in Dakar, Senegal
Dakar, Senegal
Program Terms: Fall,
Homepage: Click to visit
Program Sponsor: CIEE 
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2018 02/25/2018 03/15/2018 TBA TBA
Fact Sheet:
Areas of Study: Anthropology, Economics, Environmental Science, Political Science, Sociology Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.75
Academic Level: Junior Language of Instruction: French
Housing Options: Host Family
Program Description:

Could there be a better way to explore the complexities surrounding environmental, development, and globalization issues, than by engaging with and confronting them yourself? In Senegal, you’ll join in a hands-on learning model to examine Senegalese society, from education to politics and the impact of Islam.

Through language learning, homestays, and coursework that drives a variety of field work and community engagement, studying abroad in Senegal provides you with unparalleled insight into issues of development and globalization in West Africa.

Study abroad in Senegal and you will:
  • Learn firsthand about the development challenges facing Senegal through both coursework and participation in urban and rural community engagement projects
  • Spend two weeks living, studying, and volunteering in a rural or semi-urban area of Senegal, deepening your understanding of development issues in different areas of the country
  • Live with a local host family to gain new perspectives on Senegalese traditions
The CIEE Difference


  • Examine social, economic, and environmental issues, as well as public health challenges, facing both Senegal and the continent as a whole
  • Explore the concept of democratic governance by looking at political systems and regimes; human rights; representative democracy; and the fight against corruption in Africa
  • Partake in an on-going urban practicum (internship) and a two-week rural/semi-urban community engagement project
  • Spend a day exploring The Slave House and Women’s Museum on historic Gorée Island or visit Toubab Dialaw, a fishing village and artist’s colony
  • See the holy city of Touba and other important religious centers around the country
  • Weekend study abroad tours include the UNESCO world heritage sites of the Sine-Saloum region mangroves, Saint Louis, the former capital of French West Africa, and other areas of Senegal, where you’ll experience rural life

mmerse yourself in and give back to your host community:
  • You’ll learn about critical aspects of Senegalese society culture the most effective way possible, by living with a Senegalese host family
  • Take advantage of an established network of community partnerships with local NGOs, and institutions to carry out a series of projects ranging from teaching English to young children and working on training programs young women, to helping officials with urban healthcare projects
Recommended Credit

All courses on the program include 45 contact hours for a recommended credit of 3 semester / 4.5 quarter hours per course. Total recommended credit for the program is 18 semester / 25.5 quarter hours.

Program Requirements

Study abroad students are required to enroll in the Advanced French for Development Studies course, Wolof Language, and the Development Studies Practicum. In addition, students enroll in three elective courses, one of which may be the Seminar on Living and Learning (taught in French).

About Dakar

The Republic of Senegal, which achieved independence in 1960 after more than a century of French colonial rule, is arguably one of the most democratic countries in West Africa. Senegal has a population of nearly twelve million, with two and a half million living in Dakar, the political and economic capital and one of West Africa’s most vibrant cities. Although French is the country’s official language and Wolof the predominant language, other languages are spoken by the country’s multiethnic population, which is more than 90 percent Muslim.

Where You’ll Study

The CIEE Study Center is located in the Amitié III neighborhood near restaurants, shops, cultural centers, and the largest public university in Senegal. Some study abroad students walk from their homestay to the Study Center, while others take public transportation. CIEE students study exclusively with other CIEE participants in a building that shares facilities including a library, computer lab, café, and student lounge with L’Insitut Supérieur de Droit de Dakar. ISDD, a branch of the Université de Perpignan Via Domitia in France. ISDD , offers degrees in Political Science and Law and has a mostly Senegalese student body.

Housing & Meals

Housing and meals are included in the program fee. All students live in a Senegalese home in a furnished room. Living with a Senegalese family enables students to have daily contact with French and/or Wolof languages and learn about family and social life in Senegal, which are crucial aspects of the culture. While French is the official language of the country, Wolof is most commonly spoken in the homes of CIEE host families, and CIEE study abroad students will realize the challenges of living in a multiethnic and multilingual society, as they learn to function in both languages.

Host families tend to view U.S. students as adopted children and expect them to eat meals and spend time with their family and friends. Homestay placements are determined on the basis of a preliminary questionnaire and confirmed on site in consultation with the Housing Coordinator. It is important to keep in mind that the Senegalese live simply, and such amenities as washing machines and microwaves are not commonly available. Meals tend to be considerably less varied than in the U.S.; rice and fish are considered staple foods in Senegal. A meal stipend is given to students so that they may supplement and vary their diet.

Although some students are within a 5- to 20-minute walk from campus, others should expect to commute by bus or taxi on a daily basis. A transportation stipend is given to students living in the neighborhoods that are not within walking distance of campus.

Academic Program

The CIEE Dakar Development Studies study abroad program is based at the CIEE Dakar Study Center, and all courses are taught by local Senegalese faculty, most of whom have faculty appointments at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD). Students who meet the language pre-requisite may combine a semester on the CIEE Dakar Language and Culture program with a semester on this program for a full academic year in Senegal.

All study abroad students enroll in the Advanced French-Development Studies course. This course is taught intensively during the first two weeks of the program and then meets on a more limited schedule throughout the rest of the semester. In addition, students are required to take Wolof Language and the Development Studies Practicum. In addition to the required courses, all students choose three elective courses, one of which may be the CIEE Seminar on Living and Learning. With the exception of the Wolof language course, all courses are taught in French.

Academic Culture

All courses are for CIEE study abroad students only. Students will notice striking differences between their home educational system and the Senegalese model, which is based on the French system. While students in the U.S. are accustomed to a very structured system, the Senegalese method generally requires students to take greater initiative and responsibility in a less structured environment. Some American students could misperceive a course as having a light workload or few assignments, but students are expected to engage in a great deal of individual study and extensive reading outside of the classroom.

In addition to lectures and discussions, many classes involve student presentations, which may take up a greater part of the course schedule than students are accustomed to in the U.S.

Courses are designed to offer opportunities for students to draw a parallel between the theoretical information they receive in the classroom and the social and cultural experiences they have outside of class. Field trips and guest speakers are organized to supplement students’ education and provide a practical orientation to their learning.

The Development Studies Practicum combines traditional classroom sessions with both urban and rural practical experiences. As part of this course, all study abroad students will spend approximately two weeks living in various parts of rural and semi-urban Senegal with Peace Corps and other NGO volunteers.