Senegal

In the Shade of the Baobab Tree

A 4-week Summer Abroad Program

Enroll
Duration
29 Days
Description

Discover true generosity; live with a Senegalese family, learn a new craft, deconstruct the term learning service and immerse your self in a new worldview.

Dates

Jun 29 - Jul 28, 2017


Suggested Ages

15-17

Number of Participants

12


Availability

two spaces

Begins In

5 Weeks

Land Cost

$6,815


Estimated Flight Cost

$2,185

Tambacounda

Saint Louis

Dakar

Thies

Kolda

Kedougou

Program Overview

You never know what might happen in Senegal.


Enter a fortuneteller’s hut and ask a question about your future. Spin and dance under the stars with Sufi mystics in a coastal village. Discover fluent Spanish speakers on a mangrove island where many young men attempt boat journeys to Spain. What begins as a guitar performance for your host mother might transform into an all-night dance party when griots appear with drums out of thin air. This country is a collision of influences: French, Islamic, African— and increasingly, American and Chinese. Renowned for its hospitality and tolerance, Senegal makes room for it all. On the Dragons Senegal summer program, we delve into pressing modern social issues while immersing ourselves in deep culture. As we sink into the rhythm of Senegalese life, we see that this place has much to teach us about community, global issues, and our own humanity. What will Senegal teach you?

Our journey begins in the peaceful fishing neighborhood of Yoff, Dakar, where horse carts crowd out taxis and the sandy…

Enter a fortuneteller’s hut and ask a question about your future. Spin and dance under the stars with Sufi mystics in a coastal village. Discover fluent Spanish speakers on a mangrove island where many young men attempt boat journeys to Spain. What begins as a guitar performance for your host mother might transform into an all-night dance party when griots appear with drums out of thin air. This country is a collision of influences: French, Islamic, African— and increasingly, American and Chinese. Renowned for its hospitality and tolerance, Senegal makes room for it all. On the Dragons Senegal summer program, we delve into pressing modern social issues while immersing ourselves in deep culture. As we sink into the rhythm of Senegalese life, we see that this place has much to teach us about community, global issues, and our own humanity. What will Senegal teach you?

Our journey begins in the peaceful fishing neighborhood of Yoff, Dakar, where horse carts crowd out taxis and the sandy lanes often fill up for weddings, baptisms, or religious festivals. Here we learn cultural “do’s and don’ts”, practice greetings in Wolof and French, explore colorful markets, dance and drum with local teachers, and begin examining issues surrounding development. Through guest speakers and ethnographic surveys, we learn about public health, gender roles, agriculture, education, social justice, human migration, and unemployment challenges in rural Senegal. In the urban centers of Thies and Dakar, we visit non-governmental organizations and examine the complexities of international development aid. Plunging into the vibrant traditions of a country that is 95% Muslim, we examine how Islam intersects with ancient African religious customs. Through a community stay in an intentional religious community and a pilgrimage to the holy city of Touba, we learn about Sufi mysticism and the history of the Mouride Brotherhood.

Heading south, we watch the flat desert landscape, scattered with ancient baobab trees, turn into lush, green forest. We settle in the Kedougou region, where we trek through the gorgeous foothills of the Fouta mountains. In this remote and stunning nook of Senegal, we hike along foot-trails, stay in agricultural Pulaar villages, live with families in small groups, visit weekly markets, learn from traditional healers, meet environmental activists, and swim beneath secluded waterfalls.

In the hills of the southern region of Kolda we spend a week in home-stays in rural Pulaar villages, with each student living in a small thatched-hut family compound with no electricity or running water. The week is marked by working in the fields, milking cows, cooking local dishes, partaking in drumming and dance lessons, sitting in on villages meetings, and joining with villagers to complete a small-scale volunteer project.

As the sun sets on our time in Senegal, we conclude with a stay at the beach, perched on cliffs above a small fishing village. Throughout our journey, the most memorable aspect of the country is the warmth, generosity, and compassion encountered of the friends we meet along the way.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

5/5
Comparative Religion

Explore unique variations of West African Islam, Catholicism, and animism.

5/5
Development Studies

Engage with gender issues and children’s rights, immigration and unemployment, desertification and climate change, public health and education.

5/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Discover Senegal's rich artistic heritage, explore Sufi mysticism, and learn more about 'teranga,' Senegal's culture of giving.

4/5
Home Stay

Spend a week with a family in an individual rural village home-stay, and stay in additional group home-stays almost everywhere we go in Senegal.

3/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Choose from a wide range of possible topics for mentored study during our home-stays.

2/5
Language Study

Study Wolof, French, and Pulaar through frequent language classes and immersion with homestay families, trekking guides, and Senegalese friends.

2/5
Learning Service

Learn about how our Senegalese hosts serve the environment through reforestation efforts in mangrove swamps and chimpanzee habitats. Give back to communities by dispelling stereotypes and assisting your home-stay families with farm chores.

3/5
Rugged Travel

Travel overland throughout through Senegal on public transport, trek on foot through the hills of Kedougou, and stay in communities with little running water or electricity.

2/5
Trekking

Take on a moderately challenging 4-5 day hill trek from village to village and discover beautiful waterfalls in the verdant hills of the Kedougou.

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