While the draw to study abroad in France was considerable strong, I chose to study abroad my junior spring in Dakar, Senegal through the CIEE Language and Culture Program because of my interests in international development, public health, and francophone cultures. Living in Dakar was a powerful experience, challenging me to adjust to an entirely new and complex culture, handle two foreign languages at once (French and Wolof), navigate a chaotic city, and learn how to interact with lots of different people. Dakar’s unique blend of African, Islamic, and Western cultures created a vibrant music scene, bustling marketplaces, and a cosmopolitan population world famous for their friendliness and hospitality.
Through my program, I took classes on Senegalese culture and society, Public Health, Advanced French, and Wolof. I also had the opportunity to volunteer at a clinic, where I helped nurses that treated underserved populations, and at an elementary school, where I helped teach young girls French and leadership skills. In addition to my courses, I stayed with an amazing and supportive host family, I traveled the country, stayed with a Peace Corp volunteer in a rural village, and overall had an amazing experience that gave me a more global perspective on questions of development and global health, and showed me how I could practically apply my French skills in my future career.
Above - On a field trip for my Public Health Class in the Fatick region of Senegal. We conducted a child malnutrition study where we weighed and measured the height of infants in a village.
Below - Suzie Rawden, Talhia Nunez, and Sienna Kurland by the Fontaine Stravinsky by the Centre Pompidou in Paris
Me on Île de N'Gor off the shore of Dakar
Me with my host family in Dakar