The Baobab Center organizes initial orientation sorties as well as tours to destinations within Senegal for study and for pleasure including various sites in and around the capital city as well as the interior of the country. These activities are systematially linked to lecture/disccussion topics and feedback session to maximize learning.
Examples of Orientation Sorties, Thematic Site Visits, In-Country Tours
- Neighborhood and Downtown Sorties provide experiential discovery and orientation in the neighborhoods surrounding ACI's Baobab Center, and the vibrant urban center of downtown Dakar, followed by debriefing sessions. This allows students to become more autonomous within their first days in country.
Site visits provide the real-life context to class discussions. The Baobab Center manages all the logistics of transportation, hotels, meals, excursions and entertainment, and provides an experienced staff member as a guide and manager. While the Center can organize visits to most locations in Senegal, the most popular offerings have included:
- The island of Gorée, a UNESCO World Heritage site, a 20 minute ferry ride of the coast of Dakar. The visit usually includes preparatory classes on the history of the island and the slave trade as well as feedback following the visit.
- The Wild Life preserve of Bandia: wild animals in their natural habitat about two hours outside of Dakar
- Acrobaobab : a fitness parcours set up in a magnificent Baobab forest across from the Bandia wild life reserve
- The Sine Saloum area: Students learn about the mangrove ecosystem and ancient archeological sites. They visit local organizations working to protect the environment and to build capacity in local community organizations. (blog on trip to Sokone)
- Saint Louis: Students learn about this historical former capital city and current political and social issues. Groups may visit with both small enterprises and major industries as well as spend time with students and faculty at the Université Gaston Berger. They also can spend time learning about issues related to irrigated agriculture and visit rural areas around Saint Louis that use water from the Manantali dam to grow crops.
- Toubab Dialao: Toubab Dialao is a haven for Senegalese artists, located on the beach near the town of Yene. Students learn about Senegalese arts such as batik, dance and drumming.
- Individual visits to rural areas. Students can deepen their inter-cultural experience by visiting a rural village for a period of time decided by the students. The Baobab Center identifies hosts and provides instructions and backup for transportation and logistics. The Center consults with students to identify sites that best fit their needs and interests.