Senegal will change your life Past Review

By (French, Education, University of Wisconsin - Madison) - abroad from 10/09/2012 to 07/02/2005 with

Universite Gaston Berger (UGB): Saint Louis - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained: compassion, understanding, new perspectives, language, friendships, love, accomplishment, culture, coping skills, experience. Every moment was worth while.

Review Photos

Universite Gaston Berger (UGB): Saint Louis - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Universite Gaston Berger (UGB): Saint Louis - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Universite Gaston Berger (UGB): Saint Louis - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Universite Gaston Berger (UGB): Saint Louis - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Universite Gaston Berger (UGB): Saint Louis - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Centre Baobab, Dakar - Université Gaston-Berger, Saint-Louis
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

This program is truly what you make it. I worked my butt off, but I wanted to... Some of my American classmates took a lot of time off to travel, and attended class infrequently. We both had great experiences, but they were different. Classes are based on the French system, which is mostly dictation. I found it challeging, yet interesting to learn in this new way.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration is excellent! You can ask anything, approach him about anything. He will do anything to try to make your experience positive.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My dorm here was nicer than what I lived in on campus at UW - much more room! The only shocking/surprising thing was the cold water. Eventually, I got used to it, and actually enjoyed it.

* Food:

Senegal has delicious food! The food in the cafeteria is mediocre, but dirt cheap. Breakfast was always bread, spread and a hot beverage. I ate that there every day. For lunch and dinner, there were some dishes there that I really enjoyed (petits pois, suppu kanja, ceebu-jen, ceebu-yapp) but otherwise, I would prepare my own food or eat at an on campus boutique. There are daily specials at each place that are worth shopping around for.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

People were very friendly, and I was included in any and all activities that I wanted to try. I played on the volleyball team, some of my friends did dance. There were times I forgot that I was American!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Medical standards are different there, but good. Several people had minor illnesses and a few got malaria. Each time, they were treated and cured. There is not nearly the diagnostic equipment that we have in the US, so a lot of symptom treatment takes place. If things progress or get more serious, then a more analytical approach is used.

* Safety:

I felt safe at all times on campus and in town. However, I was careful. As foreigners, we stand out! Just like anywhere, people will try to take advantage of people who do not know the prices for something. Traveling is a different story. When traveling, always be very careful. I had my money belt slit as it was on my waist. My friends cell phone was stolen from her backback while she was wearing it. We were swindled out of money for a prepaid trip that we had arranged. On one trip, we spent the night on the road side. Nothing happened, but it was still a little scary.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

At one point, my bank card stopped working (US Bank's fault), but I was able to survive with the small amount of money I had and with the help of my friends for a month until my new card arrived.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? It is difficult to approximate, but probably $10-20/week. Of course, there were times to splurge, too!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

I spoke French and Wolof every day. I barely spoke English.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 200 level
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Fasting is a big part of the culture there. I took this idea and did an English fast in the spring during Lent. I did not speak English for 40 days. This may sound awkward, but the people who dated when they were there got a lot better at French and Wolof. (I did not date anyone, but joining the volleyball team really helped!)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • stepping outside of my comfort zone
  • learning about a religion
  • leaning two languages
* What could be improved?
  • communication options
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That you do not need a year's supply of toilet paper, tampons, razors and shampoo... All of those are available there.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!