Senegal has long been a crossroads where African, Islamic and European civilizations have met, clashed and blended. Today, Senegal is still seen as a bridge between Africa and the West, and also where Senegalese people remain deeply attached to traditional values and cultures. This program is based in Dakar, Senegal’s cosmopolitan capital. Heated by the African sun while surrounded on three sides by cool Atlantic waters, Dakar has a climate often described as “eternal spring”. It is known as a city of contrasts. Businessmen and tourists, European clothes and traditional dress, colonial style villas and modern skyscrapers, supermarkets and small shops, posh residential areas and shantytowns all coexist.
The Program-MSID: International Development in Senegal
The program’s combination of classes, field trips, field experiences/internships, and research link experience with theory and provide a critical analysis of development efforts and their effectiveness, sustainability, cultural appropriateness and equity. Students participating in the program develop a profound, firsthand understanding of the complex economic and social issues at work in Senegal.
The courses and internships build on a common knowledge base built by pre-departure readings and assignments. Once in Dakar, students study as a group for 2 months and then participate in a 4-week field placement. Students on the yearlong option build the field experience to an internship. The Academic Year curriculum includes a 4-credit International Development internship complemented by a research project (often the basis of a senior project or major/minor requirement).
The program is open to Allegheny juniors and seniors with a minimum GPA of 2.75. Course work related to development and/or Senegal or West Africa, or volunteer or social services experience is preferred. 2 years of college level French is strongly recommended.
Allegheny students must first be approved to study off-campus before applying to their chosen program. Application deadlines are February 20 for fall programs and September 20 for spring programs. Applications will be reviewed immediately following the appropriate semester deadline. For more information about the off campus study application process, please visit: http://sites.allegheny.edu/offcampus/application/
MSID participants live with host families throughout the program. The homestay is an important venue for practicing French and for gaining insights into Senegalese culture. Meals consist of fish and rice at least once every day, with few fruits and vegetables.
Classroom and office facilities are located in a one-story complex called the West African Research Center (WARC), located a few miles from downtown. Most students study either at WARC or at other nearby libraries. A number of computers are also available at the program facilities.
Students pay Allegheny tuition, the off-campus fee ($300), room (Allegheny double room charge) and Allegheny mini meal plan. This covers program tuition, fees, room, most meals, international travel insurance and field trips (where applicable). Not included are visas, passport, some meals, airfare, pre-departure immunizations and personal expenses. Allegheny financial aid, except work/study, is applied to program costs. Allegheny College will arrange payment of the $400 program deposit required by MSID (applied to total cost), but students are responsible for the $50 application fee.