Everyone needs to do this: Saint-Louis, Senegal Past Review

By (Education, University of Wisconsin - Madison) for

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained knowledge, perspective, language, flexibility, sanity, health, friends, experience, understanding.

Personal Information

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.

It was difficult to understand the grading system, but I worked very hard (much harder than my other travelers) but I feel that I got more out of the experience than they did.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I really felt cared for by our contact in Senegal. He made sure everything we needed was taken care of. The American advisor also was a useful resource, although much less visible.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was incredible. They helped me in many ways. I felt like a part of the family. Living with a host family made me feel very grounded. I visited them several times after the initial home-stay. Six years later, we are still in contact. On campus, my two roommates were very kind. They really took care of me. Living on campus provided me with many opportunities to meet people and to become involved in campus events. I was fortunate to have one Senegalese roommate and one Burkinabee roommate They offered differing viewpoints about many things, but we all got along very well.

* Food:

I was very picky before traveling. I am considerably more open minded now. I had several friends who were vegetarian. They had a lot more trouble than I did.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My program planned a trip to Paaku juug (bird park). It was memorable, however, the trips I took with friends were more memorable. I traveled to Mauritania and Mali.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Petty theft is a common experience. It is essential to be aware of your possessions and surroundings. Health care was available, but I often needed to go with friends who did not speak French/Wolof as well as I did to interpret. If possible, take a native speaking friend along to help. I needed nearly $700 worth of vaccines before traveling.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

Fellow Americans, roommates, friends, professors, shop keepers, host families, etc. I used French and Wolof everyday. I rarely spoke English. Some people did, but it was very difficult to understand. French and Wolof were much more convenient.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Local Students
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Stop speaking ENGLISH.