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Overseas and Off-Campus Programs

Senegal: Dakar

Semester: Spring
Offered: Annually
Estimated Dates: Mid-January to mid-April
Program Focus: Regional Area Study, Language Intensive
Prerequisites: For non-majors, two years of college French (through 202 or equivalent). For minors, two and a half years of college French (through 301 or equivalent). For majors, three years of college French (through 321 or equivalent). GPA of 3.0 required in French coursework.
Campus Contact: Isabelle DeMarte
Associate Professor of French

Program Design

Please note: Overseas & Off-Campus Programs is in the process of proposing a new language intensive program in Francophone West Africa. Once the new program is approved, it will take the place of this program.

The Senegal program focuses on the historical, cultural, and socio-economic institutions of sub-Saharan Francophone Africa. Study takes place in Senegal’s largest city, Dakar. Courses are taught by University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (UCAD) faculty at the CIEE Senegal Study Center. Coursework engages in topics concerning Africa in general and Senegal in particular, so that students understand the issues facing Senegal and its multilingual society. The program includes research trips to rural villages with Peace Corps volunteers to experience and document the contrasts and links between rural and urban life. Other excursions to rural areas include a visit to Toubab Dialaw, a fishing village and artist’s colony, a weekend trip to the mangroves of the Sine-Saloum, and a trip to Saint Louis, the former capital of French West Africa.

Upon arrival, CIEE staff will organize various orientation sessions and activities to help students adjust to life in Dakar. The orientation covers health and safety information, intercultural communication and Senegalese culture, logistical information, and practical information about living in Dakar.

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, students will find majestic cliff walks, beaches, and historic treasures.

Onsite Staff: The Resident Director of CIEE Study Center in Dakar is Serigne Ndiaye. Serigne has been resident director of the CIEE Study Center in Dakar since 2002. Born and raised in Senegal, Serigne completed his undergraduate and graduate studies in English and American literature and civilization at Université Cheikh Anta Diop, and earned his doctorate in comparative literature at Emory University. His primary research and teaching areas include Francophone African and Caribbean literature and culture and post-colonial theory. Serigne has taught at both Emory University and the State University of New York-Albany and speaks four languages: English, French, Serer, and Wolof.

NOTE: Students with a severe peanut allergy should contact the Overseas Office before applying.


Requirements Fulfilled: This program fulfills the French Studies overseas study requirement; the World Languages overseas study requirement with French as the primary language; and applies up to 12 credits toward the French Studies minor. This program also fulfills the two-course international studies requirement, provided that the student earns at least 12 credits.

Credits: Credit varies based on courses completed, but students may earn up to 19 credits. Overloads are not permitted.


French language instruction is intended to improve all areas of language learning and help students understand and interact with French speakers in Senegal and other Francophone countries. Communicative activities are based on real-life situations and authentic texts. Participants are placed in an appropriate language class based on a proficiency examination given at the beginning of the program. All levels include a phonetics component to improve pronunciation. With the exception of the Wolof language course, all courses are taught in French. Courses are taught by Senegalese professors, most of whom also hold faculty appointments at Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD).

During their semester in Dakar, students take a French language course, a Wolof language course, and elective courses in French.

CIEE Elective Courses: Spring course offerings are subject to change. The French-taught elective courses are primarily reserved for students who test either into Advanced French I or Advanced French II. However, students who place into Intermediate French II may take one content course in French.

NOTE: Some of the courses offered on the program are also offered in English. However, courses taken in English will not be applied toward the French Studies major, the French Studies minor, or the World Languages major with French as the primary language. In addition, the overseas study requirement will not be met for either major, and the student may be required to enroll in an additional overseas program unless the WLL Department determines an exception should be made.

Student Life

Housing: Students live in Senegalese homes so they can practice French and/or Wolof daily, and learn about family and social life in Senegal. 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 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.

Volunteering: During their time in Senegal, students have the option to participate in volunteer activities. CIEE connects students with volunteer opportunities in and around Dakar to help them engage with the local community.


2020-2021 Fee Breakdown*

Total Fee (includes Tuition, Program Fee, and Health & Wellness Fee): $34,921

Tuition: $27,416

Program Fee: $7,468

Health & Wellness Fee: $37**

Included in the program fee are room/housing, board/meals, and administrative fees. Not included are airfare, passport and visa expenses, primary insurance coverage, photographs, books, immunizations, and incidentals. 

*Fees are updated every February for the following academic year.

**The Health & Wellness Fee supports the operations of Wellness Services staff in delivering pre-program orientation services, as well as in providing health-related consultation regarding participant health needs. All students in the College of Arts and Sciences pay a mandatory fee of $37 per semester.

Stipend: Students will receive a stipend to cover the cost of meals and transportation costs not covered by the program fee.

Estimated Airfare (Round Trip PDX to DKR): $1,500 - $3,000

Estimated Health Insurance Fee: $1,350.50

All students participating in overseas programs are automatically enrolled in iNext, a supplemental travel insurance program. The fee for iNext is covered in the program cost. However, students are also required to have comprehensive health insurance during their time abroad. All students participating in overseas programs, both abroad and domestic, are automatically enrolled in the College’s student health insurance program. Similar to a regular semester on-campus, students participating in overseas programs may waive enrollment in the student health insurance program if they have other comprehensive health insurance (e.g., through a parent, guardian or employer) that 1) provides coverage for them in the geographic region in which they will be studying and 2) includes mental health benefits. Click here for more information regarding health insurance & overseas programs.

Program Preparation

Application Process: This program has a dual application process. Student must first submit a Lewis & Clark Application. Once admitted by Lewis & Clark, the students will receive instructions for submitting their secondary application to CIEE and will receive a separate notification letter of admittance.  Please keep a digital copy of your essays and other application materials as you will need to submit these similar materials to CIEE. Please note that this secondary application process can be as late as the semester preceding your scheduled participation.

For more information about the application process, click here.

Travel: Students usually fly into the Dakar airport (DKR), where they are met by CIEE staff and transported to their homestays.

Visa: Students with a U.S. passport will not be required to apply for a visa in order to participate in this program. More information will be provided upon admission to the program.

Country-Specific Health Information: Click here to view specific health information for people traveling to Senegal.

State Department Country Information: Click here to visit the State Department’s Senegal page.

Senegal, Dakar