In the West African country of Senegal, community is a way of life. Time is fluid. And terranga (Wolof for hospitality) underlies every interaction. Take a step back from the deadlines and individualism of the West and become part of a community. Learn to see the world—and yourself—in a whole new way.
Located at the westernmost point of the continent, Senegal contains a rich mix of oceanfront, grasslands, and rainforest coverage. With towering baobab trees, rolling plains, thriving cities, and turquoise waters – Senegal knows how to make an impression.
The Wolof people make up almost half of Senegal’s population, but you’ll also see the influence of many other ethnic groups. Decades of French rule have also left a cultural mark. French, Wolof, and other languages intertwine. You’ll enjoy both baguettes and couscous with stew from a communal bowl.
Whether helping your neighbors harvest, sewing yeres, teaching English, or making peanut-butter, you’ll soon learn to embrace a more fluid understanding of time. Replace your checklists with relationships. Replace “I” with “We”. Because sometimes there is nothing more important than good conversation and drinking attaya tea with your Senegalese family and friends.
Senegalese cuisine is made to be shared.
Prepare to enjoy these Fellow favorites!
Learn French, the official language of Senegal, through immersion, tutoring, and Rosetta Stone. You will also have the opportunity to learn Wolof, Pulaar, or Sereer, depending on your homestay. Get a head start with these common phrases!
Listen to the sounds of Senegal
With an audio blog from Fellow Alice Brower and some popular Senegalese music
Learn about and contribute to environmental conservation efforts in Senegal. You could be working on projects like the conservation of native species or the protection Senegal’s wetlands.
Work with local organizations making a difference in their communities. You might assist at a local radio station or help local organizations on campaigns ranging from AIDS awareness to microcredit and women’s empowerment.
Become a teaching assistant at the pre-school, elementary, middle, or high school level. Help teachers in develop lesson plans, teach English, and engage their students.
Get valuable first hand experience in international public health. You could be providing support at a local community health center and/or helping social workers with health education and vaccination campaigns.
“There is a saying that here in Senegal, if you’re in the house, you’re family. There’s always enough room at the bowl for you. This collective sense of belonging is… quite beautiful.”
“As I searched the market for ingredients and drinks with Juma and Aissatou, I realized how at home I felt when I was the one who knew where to find the fattest chickens.”
“I sit on this woven mat beneath the vast twinkling stars, watching my sisters giggle over my photo album and listening to my yaay (mother) humming as she sits beneath the mango tree.”