Exploring Senegalese Cultural Values
Students spend half a day exploring how cultural values form the basis of behavior patterns in Senegal. Students work with local resource people to begin to identify and understand core Senegalese values and how they are manifested in social behavior. The workshop closes with an authentic Senegalese meal around a bowl shared among participants practicing local eating etiquette.
Crossing Cultures Workshop
Introduction to cross-cultural communication. Students work through exercises that reveal cultural assumptions and the natural process by which humans assign meaning to behavior. Classroom work is completed with experiential exercises, using the environment as a classroom, bringing back observations and artifacts to the group for a follow-up session focusing on cultural interpretation.
Navigating gender realities in Senegal. Students meet with Senegalese counterparts to explore and compare issues of gender and sexuality in both cultures. Students gain knowledge of gender expectations and clues to communicating more clearly with members of the opposite sex.
Focused Exploration: Building Cultural Competency
ACI accompanies the continuing learning of its students with a series of workshops and exercises to help students explore their environment and integrate experiences. The Baobab Center considers this course, which is accredited by several universities, to be at the core of the study abroad experience.
Students can be placed with host families in the neighborhoods within walking distance of the Baobab Center.
Prior to arriving in Senegal, students receive a profile questionnaire that allows the Baobab Center staff to match them with appropriate families. The host families are carefully screened by ACI and are prepared to handle the dietary and hygiene needs of western students. Though some aspects of this experience may be quite challenging, most study abroad students agree that the home stay is where most of the cultural learning takes place.
Moving into the Homestay
Before moving in with their host families, students often spend a couple of days at a furnished apartment within walking distance of the Baobab Center. They discuss their expectations and learn tips to facilitate communication and integration with the host family. This time also allows students to recover from travel and jet lag and helps build a strong group dynamic. After their first night with their host family, students reconvene to debrief, discuss initial observations and pose questions to coordinators. ACI works with students to help make the home stay a cultural learning experience, and to resolve any concerns that emerge. For many students, the home stay proves to be one of the most memorable and beneficial components of the program.
If you are considering requesting a homestay, please fill out the profile form attached. (profile form)
Students take stock of how they have changed and grown during their time abroad, what changes have happened back home, and prepare for their transition back to their home country and culture.