Dakar, Senegal

Language + Culture

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Information for term Language + Culture

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

May 1, 2020

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: May 1, 2020
  • Dates: Aug 22 – Dec 18, 2020 (17 weeks)
  • Credit: 15 - 18 semester hours / 22.5 - 27 quarter hours
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA


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Senegal is one of the region’s most developed, democratic, and friendly nations, making seaside Dakar a prime spot to explore Senegalese culture and learn French and Wolof – a sub-Saharan language. Take a combination of language and content courses taught in English and French at CIEE Dakar across a wide-range of academic areas, including cultural studies, development, history, international relations, liberal arts, public health, sustainability and environment, and more. All courses are complemented with CIEE co-curricular activities and excursions beyond the city to enhance classroom learning and provide intercultural understanding.

Unique Experiences

  • Take courses

    in English or French in a range of intriguing subjects.

  • Accomplish a week of fieldwork

    in rural Senegal with Peace Corps volunteers or village hosts. Students call it the most influential part of their time abroad.

  • Live with a Dakar host

    and boost your language skills while you experience the principal aspects of Senegalese culture – family and social life.

  • million residents

  • lighthouses

  • minaret height on the Dakar Grand Mosque


Location & Culture

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The Republic of Senegal won independence in 1960 after more than a century of French colonial rule. Now one of the most democratic countries in West Africa, it has a population of nearly 15 million. Dakar, the political and economic capital, is a vibrant, port city, and home to the National Assembly, president’s palace, and bustling Sandaga Market. Around Dakar, you’ll find majestic cliff walks, beaches, and historic treasures. French is the official language, but Wolof is predominantly spoken. Ninety-four percent of Senegalese are Muslim.

The Culture


  • Choose a week with Peace Corps volunteers or local hosts in a rural village, to experience and document the contrasts and links between rural and urban life.
  • Venture off for a day in Toubab Dialaw, a fishing village and artist’s colony.
  • See more of the region with a weekend trip to the mangroves of the Sine-Saloum; Saint Louis, the former capital of French West Africa; and other rural areas.
  • Participate in activities with cultural pals in and around Dakar.
  • Visit historic Gorée Island – a major slave-trade center for four centuries, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – or the newly built Museum of Black Civilizations.


Internships. Get culturally unique work experience – and possibly credit - with a social entreneurship organization like ASHOKA or with a human rights organization like the Global Research and Advocacy Group.

Volunteering. Lend a hand to the important work of human rights organizations and get back as much as you give.

Research. From children’s rights to the role of religion in the democratic process, you can study the topic you care most about, and contribute important fieldwork.

Program Blogs

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Program Blogs

Daily Life

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    Homestays: Students live in Senegalese homes so they can practice French and/or Wolof daily and learn about family and social life here. Most families speak Wolof at home, though French is the country’s official language, so students learn to function in both languages. Host families welcome U.S. students as family, and expect them to eat meals and spend time with them. Students are placed, based on preferences stated in a housing questionnaire. Senegalese live simply. Amenities like washing machines and microwaves are rare, and rice and fish are staple foods. Some students live just a short walk from campus, others commute by bus or taxi. Academic-year students can stay with their host families during the break between semesters.

  • dakar, senegal, students, meal


    Homestay families provide two meals a day during the week and three on the weekends.

Dakar, Senegal

Where You'll Study

  • A

    CIEE DAKAR Dakar Amitié III neighborhood


  • B

    Getting Around

    Students walk or take taxis or public buses to get from homestays to campus.

What People are Saying

  • “I am (and many others are) convinced Serigne Ndiaye is the master of all things related to human consciousness and Gamo Tounkara has been a lifeline here when students need emotional and/or practical support.”

    Student, Fall 2017
  • “(CIEE) does a really great job in allowing students to experience the culture they are in.  Whether it is in a host family, during the orientation process, or the care received from the faculty, I really did feel cared for this year.”

    Student, Fall 2017
  • “CIEE gave me the opportunity to explore Senegal thoroughly, and I was immersed in a way that I wouldn’t be able to as a tourist.  Every member of CIEE staff I interacted with was caring, accessible, and very friendly.”

    Student, Fall 2017
  • “I wish I had parents like the Directors in Dakar, Senegal.  Gamo Tounkara is like a second mom to many of us.”

    Student, Fall 2017
  • “I was very impressed that Gamo was able to find so many interesting and engaging volunteer opportunities.  These opportunities allowed me to engage in the community and really allowed me to learn from experience.  I am very thankful for it and for all of Gamo’s work.”

    Student, Fall 2017

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Program Details

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What you need to know

The program details

This program allows students to immerse themselves in French and Wolof languages, with coursework in English and/or French on engaging topics about Africa, and Senegal in particular. Students come away understanding the complex issues facing Senegal and its multilingual society.

CIEE Dakar is located in the Amitié neighborhood, close to restaurants, shops, cultural centers, and Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), which is the largest public university in Senegal. Students have access to the West African Research Center and the IFAN library at UCAD for research activities. All courses are taught in both English and French by Senegalese professors, most of whom hold faculty appointments at UCAD.


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    Students take classes only with other CIEE participants. CIEE classes run for 12 weeks – two, 1.25-hour sessions a week for a total of 45 hours. They are generally lecture-based, but discussion is encouraged. Many classes involve student presentations. Courses and social and cultural experiences outside of class are designed to encourage connections. Field trips and guest speakers supplement education and provide practical orientation.


    Final grades are based on participation, papers, presentations, and a final paper or exam. Internship grades are based on participation and a final report. Attendance is mandatory.


    Based on the French educational system, the Senegalese method requires students to take greater initiative and responsibility in a less structured environment than in the U.S. It’s easy to misread this method as lacking in rigor. Students should expect extensive individual study and reading outside of class. Field trips and guest speakers complement education and provide practical orientation.



    Students need to have a GPA of at least 2.5.


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Course Information

Program Credit
Total credit: 15-18 U.S. semester/22.5-27 quarter credits

Course Credit

  • CIEE courses: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours
  • CIEE Internship: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 15 seminar hours, 100-120 internship placement hours
  • CIEE Directed Independent Research: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 20 faculty advising hours, 100 research hours

Language of Instruction
English and/or French


  • French language class
  • Wolof Language class
  • Three elective courses

Fall 2020 CIEE Courses

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Academic Projects

Semester Credit

Business, Economics, Management, and Marketing

Semester Credit

Communication, Journalism, and Media

Semester Credit

Health Professions and Related Programs

Semester Credit

History, Philosophy, Religion

Semester Credit

Languages and Cultural Studies

Semester Credit

Natural Resources, Conservation, and the Environment

Semester Credit

Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.


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Scholarships & Grants

CIEE offers more than $8 million in scholarships and grants annually to help students like you make your study abroad dream a reality.

Students who apply to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:

  • Ping Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • Stohl International Undergraduate Research Scholarships
  • CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant
  • MSI Grant

To be considered, submit the CIEE Scholarships & Grants application within your CIEE program application. Learn more at the Scholarships & Grants section of our website.

See more scholarship info

Dates & Fees

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Dates & Fees

You get more for every dollar when you study abroad with CIEE, because our high-quality programs include everything from excursions to insurance. There are no hidden charges, and no disappointing surprises when you arrive.


  • Tuition
  • Housing
  • Meals
  • Advising before you depart to set goals and answer questions
  • Optional on-site airport meet-and-greet
  • One-week orientation – an introduction to Senegalese culture, your academic program, and the city, plus practical information about living in your host city
  • Full-time program leadership and support in your host city
  • Cultural and/or Co-curricular Activities
  • Excursions and/or Study Tours
  • Insurance and other travel benefits, with CIEE iNext
  • 24/7 emergency on-site support


Application Due

Start Date

End Date

Fees & Housing

Fall 2020 17 weeks May 1, 2020 Aug 22, 2020 Dec 18, 2020
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Program Fees

CIEE offers the most student support of any provider in its program fee, including an airport greeting, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, pre-departure advising, and CIEE iNext travel insurance with benefits.

Participation Confirmation = $300 *

Educational Costs = $15,033 **

Housing = $2,450 ***

Insurance = $167

Total Fees = $17,950

Estimated Costs

Students are responsible and manage costs related to travel, meals, books, and personal expenses. Below are estimates for consideration.

Meals not included in program fee = $300

International Airfare = $2,000

Local Transportation = $150

Books & Supplies = $100

Personal expenses = $1,000

Other = $100 ††

Total Estimated Costs = $3,650

Financial Aid

CIEE offers the most grants and scholarships of any study abroad organization, including $8 million/year in travel grants, merit-based scholarships, institutional and MSI grants, and Gilman Go Global Grants.

See Scholarships

This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.

Students required to study on CIEE programs through a School of Record will be charged a $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.

* non-refundable

** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students

*** Includes 2 meals a day during the week / 3 on the weekend

round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure

†† cost of registration extension on-site

To help you budget, keep in mind that students are responsible for the cost of international airfare, local transportation, books and supplies, visas, and personal expenses. In addition, ask your college or university study abroad advisor if your school charges additional fees for study abroad.

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Here's what you need to do to take the next steps:
  • 1

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    Apply Now
  • 2

    Share your plans and confirm you're on track to meet all required steps to go abroad. 

  • 3

    Contact Us

    Send us an email if you still have questions or need information about applying to this program.