Senegal, a West African nation of approximately 11 million, is bordered by the Atlantic ocean, Mauritania and Mali, The Gambia and several other small countries. A French colony from 1659 to 1960, Senegal is now an independent nation. It features a unique blend of cultures, languages and ethnic groups. Islam is the predominant religion and mosques form a strong core of the cultural and spiritual life of its people. Saint-Louis, which was the capital of the former French colony, became the leading French settlement on Africa's west coast during the 1700s. Beautiful French colonial architecture dating back to the 18th century serves as a reminder of the city's history. Today it is a small but thriving regional center located near the Mauritanian border. It simultaneously has the feel of an old French colony and a small, contemporary African city with street markets and schools, museums and restaurants. Saint-Louis, or N'Dar as it is known in Wolof, provides easy access to beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast as well as the lush green mangrove creeks and forests of Casamance.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges' program in Senegal is hosted by the Université de Gaston-Berger (UGB), established in 1990 to prepare Senegal's youth for leadership positions in politics, economic development, and technological innovation. The university is home to approximately 3,000 Senegalese and West African students. Admission to the university is extremely competitive and faculty, students and staff alike take great pride in their association with the institution. The university provides technical support to grass-roots agricultural and economic development projects in the surrounding community; interested students may volunteer with some of these programs. In addition to offering a rich academic program, UGB provides students a number of clubs and student associations for leisure activities. A full-service university, UGB amenities include an excellent health and counseling service, (modest) athletic facilities, and computer labs with internet access. UGB is located about 10 minutes from the center of Saint-Louis. Public transportation runs between the campus and city.
Students will receive four credits for the following courses: basic Wolof language instruction; an independent study course, either research or community service-based; and two classes selected in consultation with the students' HWS advisor from UGB's regular course offerings. Please note: with the exception of any courses offered by the Department of English Language and Literature, all UGB courses are taught in French.
The program is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors in good academic and social standing who are mature, independent and adaptable with a minimum GPA of 2.5. In addition, applicants must have the equivalent of four semesters of college-level French although more French is preferred. Admitted students are required to take a Senegalese orientation course at HWS in the fall semester preceding the program.
Students reside in UGB residence halls. These accommodations are small but provide necessary amenities such as beds and desks, cupboards, etc. in double-rooms, shared with Senegalese roommates. "Senegalese" toilets and showers are shared in the dormitories. Meals will be taken at one of the two campus dining halls.
A series of excursions are offered as part of this program. Among the locations visited during previous semesters are the wildlife park of Doudj; Gorée Island, an important island in the slave trade; Dakar, the capital city; and the Muslim holy city of Touba. Additional excursions may be arranged depending upon opportunities that arise during the term.
Students are charged standard HWS tuition and room fees, and a $550 administrative fee. Note that no board charge is included. Students should bring their board fee to Senegal to cover meal expenses in the dining halls. While food expenses will vary by individual tastes, we estimate that about $1000 will be sufficient. Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, visa and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation, independent travel and immunizations). We estimate airfare at $1800 from the East Coast, books at $200, visa at $65 and immunizations at $300. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $750 - $1,000 above and beyond meal expenses. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation. The Senegal semester runs from approximately January 3 to June 3 so students should plan accordingly.
NOTE: The information contained in this brochure is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.