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SIT Senegal Global Security and Religious Pluralism

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring

Location:

Dakar, Senegal

Credit:

Transfer

Program Features

Affiliated Program
Research
Internship

Eligibility:

- 2.5 GPA

- Good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:

Fall 2/24

Spring 9/27

Market in Dakar

SIT Study Abroad offers more than 60 accredited semester and summer study abroad programs in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. SIT also offers the International Honors Program, which is multi-locational.

The SIT Experience

  • Rigorous academic programs through a field-based, experiential approach
  • Undergraduate research through an Independent Study Project
  • Cultural immersion through fieldwork, language classes, and urban and rural homestays with local families
  • A small group of students in each program, supported by SIT faculty and staff, homestay families, in-country experts, and community members
  • Access to SIT's extensive local resources and networks
  • A commitment to reciprocity as the foundation of our educational philosophy

Academic Program

Explore how Senegalese society has cultivated peaceful coexistence in religiously plural settings.

In a time when terrorism is often defined by religious extremism and a “clash of civilizations,” Senegal provides a model of religious coexistence in which radicalization is unusual and Sufi Islam has an unusually close relationship to the government.

Enhance your French or learn the native Senegalese language of Wolof. Though there is no language prerequisite, courses are conducted partly in French and you will have many opportunities to develop your language skills during the program.

Key Topics of Study:

  • Religious tolerance in Senegal
  • The relationship between religion and state
  • Regional security policies, programs, and projects
  • International and regional institutions for peace

For more information, see SIT's webpage.

Program Structure

Oceanfront and city view, yellow houses

Interdisciplinary Seminars

Thematic seminars merge student experience with academic theory to examine critical issues from multiple perspectives. Students learn from SIT faculty as well as guest lecturers from local universities, research institutes, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and community and professional associations. Field-based activities and assignments complement readings, discussions, and research papers, allowing students to engage in a variety of study methods.

Intensive Language Study

Programs typically offer language study at the intermediate and advanced levels and/or beginning instruction in a less commonly taught language spoken by the local community. Language courses incorporate formal classroom instruction, discussion, and field exercises designed to enhance student engagement while improving oral and written competence. Select programs are taught entirely or partly in the target language.

Research Methods and Ethics

Students learn appropriate methodologies that prepare them to undertake fieldwork on topics connected to the program’s theme and specific cultural context. Students develop research skills and approaches including cross-cultural adaptation and skill building; project selection and refinement; contact and resource cultivation; observation and interviewing skills; gathering, organizing, and presenting findings; and maintaining a field journal. Students also examine the ethics and impact of their research on local communities and are required to follow the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy, which serves as an approval process and guide for ethical field study practices.

Independent Study Project (ISP)

Typically conducted during the last month of the semester, the ISP allows students to pursue original field-based research on a topic of their choice within the program’s thematic parameters. The academic director advises each student on developing a project plan. Students also identify an ISP advisor who works with the student on the design, implementation, and evaluation of the student’s research project. Final projects generally include a 20- to 40-page paper and presentation to peers, academic staff, and interested members of the host community.

University of Iowa students who complete an Independent Study Project (ISP) must follow University of Iowa Institutional Review Board (IRB) policies and procedures. For more information on the Iowa IRB process please visit the Undergraduate Research Abroad webpage. An additional pre-departure orientation session, hosted by the Iowa IRB, will be offered on campus to help answer questions and ensure compliance.

Cultural Activities

THE NEW ORLEANS OF SENEGAL: You’ll visit Saint-Louis, the Creole city known for its colonial architecture on the northwest coast of Senegal. Located on N’Dar Island in the Senegal River, you’ll find it one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Senegal. The Ponte de Faidherbe is the city’s most significant landmark. Designed by Gustav Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame), the bridge’s metal arches link Saint Louis to the mainland. Frequently compared to New Orleans, its urban cultural scene is particularly diverse situated at the crossroads of Africa, Europe, the Americas and Muslim World..

SUFISM IN KAOLACK: You’ll visit this sacred center of mystical Islam, founded by Cheikh Ibrahim Niasse, whose order currently reaches up to 300,000,000 followers all over the world. The heart of this order is located in Medina Baye, (a neighborhood in Kaolack) sustained by the Great Mosque of Medina Baye and the African American Islamic Institute. You will have the opportunity to meet and discuss with prominent leaders of the Niassene order about the concepts of fayda (divine flood) and tarbiya (mystical training), central to this Sufi brotherhood, as well as their history and politics.

PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE ON SHELL ISLAND: Visit the towns of Joal and Fadiouth, which are connected by a foot bridge. Joal is the birthplace of the first president of Senegal, Leopold Sedar Senghor. Is also a stronghold of religious coexistence, where indigenous practitioners interact with Christians and Muslims. Fadiouth, also known as Shell Island, has one of the few Christian-Muslim cemeteries in Senegal. Here, you’ll learn about the Sereer, the most important ethnic group in the region, which has rich indigenous traditions.

GORÉE ISLAND SLAVE TRADE: You will visit the iconic landmark of the transatlantic slave trade—a site that carries heavy historical footprints. You’ll learn about the island from a local tour guide and enter the slave house museum, which served as a stopover for some 20 million slaves from Africa being brought to the Caribbean and the U.S. You’ll explore the complexity of power during colonial times and come away with an understanding of Senegalese traders who left their mark on its history.

Program Dates

Spring Semester: Late January - Mid May

Fall Semester: Early September - Mid-December

For more information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with SIT, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa. 
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive program application instructions.
  


Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353
Email: study-abroad@uiowa.edu

Dakar

bronze statue man and woman holding up child

Dakar is brimming with life, from its exuberant markets to its bustling streets and festive cultural scene. The Senegalese capital is home to some of the best museums, nightclubs, and arts festivals in West Africa, and there is never a boring day in the city.

Safety

SIT places the highest priority on the health, safety, and security of all students. Through their 80-plus years of running international experiential education programs, they have developed sophisticated proactive and reactive risk management strategies. Their proactive risk management begins with in-country assessments of safety and continues through student orientation and emergency preparedness. Their reactive risk management strategies include 24/7 on-call availability, emergency/crisis response protocols, and comprehensive student insurance. Their structure also allows for rapid response and adjustment to changing situations.
Senegal Travel Information

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements

White building, chamber of commerce

You will experience three homestays: one in Dakar and two short homestays in rural areas. During the homestays, students are typically placed in clusters—for instance, two or three students in the same neighborhood or in the same village hamlet.

The homestays are an essential part of the program. In living with a host family, you will experience the realities of Senegalese daily life and learn about family dynamics, including family structure, gender roles, eating habits, household chores, waste disposal systems, notions of space and concepts of belonging, education of children, and celebrations and other rituals. The homestays also provide an excellent opportunity for you to immerse yourself in French and Wolof, the primary languages of Senegal.

Dakar

The program is based in Senegal’s capital and largest city, Dakar. Located on the Atlantic Coast, Dakar abounds with lively cultural activities and is home to well-known Senegalese musicians including Youssou N’Dour, Baaba Maal, Ismaël Lô, Coumba Gawlo, Daara J, Cheikh Lô, and Thione Seck. The program center is located in the neighborhood of Point E. The center is walking distance from Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (UCAD) and a hub of NGOs working on development issues ranging from refugees, to education, to HIV/AIDS. The center is also close to major research centers such as the Baobab Center and CODESRIA. You can easily access restaurants and internet cafés.

Here, you will live with a Senegalese family in Dakar for six weeks. The homestay will allow you to experience Senegalese daily life and special cultural events while living in Dakar. You will share numerous activities with your host families, such as going to the local market, tailor, neighborhood boutiques, or beach. You may also attend sporting events (soccer or wrestling matches) or concerts with your host parents or siblings. You may also be invited to naming ceremonies, marriages, and Muslim holiday celebrations such as Tabaski and Korité. You may attend religious seminars/gatherings with members of your host family.

Most host families are considered middle-class by Senegalese standards and represent different professions, including nurses, merchants / business owners, retired army officers, teachers, and tailors. Some host family homes may be within walking distance of the SIT program center while others may be 20–30 minutes away by bus. Most host families have children. If there are no children in the host family, there are usually children in neighboring families. Students often visit each other’s host families.

Rural Stays

Taxi bus in Dakar

You will have two rural homestays lasting three to four days each. The first will be in the Wolof village of Ndiane near Thies, located in the peanut basin area in the eastern part of Senegal among ethnic minorities such as the Bassari, Bedeck, Diallonke, Koniagui, Peul, and Diakhanke. The second will be in a village in the Kédougou region, in the Fouta Djallon foothills and close to the borders of Mali and Guinea. The area is home to the Mandinka ethnic group.

The two homestays reveal similarities and differences among Senegal’s different ethnic groups, the contrast between urban and rural cultures, and how tradition and modernity coexist side by side and how they find expression in emerging forms of arts and culture. You will start to discover the rich cultural heritage and vibrant traditional ceremonies and animist practices of some of these communities, and you will be involved in community activities.

Other accommodations during the program may include guest houses, educational institutions, or small hotels.

Educational Excursions

The program includes extended field visits to Saint-Louis, southeastern Senegal, and the Petite Côte as well as visits to Gorée Island, the Grand Mosque of Touba, Keur Moussa Benedictine Monastery, Bandia Game Park, and Joal-Fadiouth Island.

Morocco

You’ll learn about Morocco’s Sufi orders and compare how they have shaped relations between religion and politics in Morocco with the way Senegal’s Sufi orders have shaped religious and political relations in Senegal. You’ll also be able to experience Moroccan cultures, cuisine, achitecture, and landscapes.

Gorée Island and the Slave House

Gorée Island was a busy slave-trading center during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Here, you will visit a slave house and meet with a conservator on the slave trade period. Prior to the visit, you will attend a lecture on development and poverty at the Gorée Institute, followed by a visit to a local women’s organization. You can visit the Historical Museum, the Museum of the Woman, and the community of artists who live and work on Gorée Island.

Joal-Fadiouth Island

Joal-Fadiouth Island offers a study in religious coexistence. There, animists, Catholics, and Muslims practice their traditions in harmony and live side by side. The island, off the Petite Côte, is also known for its streets paved with seashells.

Passport

US Citizens

If you do not have a passport, it is important that you apply for one as soon as possible to ensure you receive it before the program begins. US citizens can find more information about how to apply for a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Important notice for students without a valid passport or whose passport will expire within the next 12 months:

US citizens can find more information about how to renew a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Students without a valid passport should apply for a new passport or a passport renewal as early as possible.

Students with a valid passport should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the anticipated return to the US from studying abroad. If your passport is not valid for at least 6 months after your anticipated date of return to the US, you must renew your passport before applying for the visa you will need to enter your host country.

Expedited processing service is available for US passports (although this still takes several weeks and is at an additional cost). UI Study Abroad encourages students to ask the passport agency at the time of application whether expedited service is recommended.

Non-US Citizens

Students who are not US citizens should contact Ryan Ourada (ryan-ourada@uiowa.edu) for information on how to ensure that their passport is valid for the duration of their time abroad.

Flights

Students will work with their program provider to make travel arrangements to their program site. The cost of travel is not included in the course fee. UI Study Abroad will not arrange a group flight to your study abroad destination.

Do not purchase plane tickets until you have received instructions on how to do so from your program provider.

Local Transportation

Within your host city and around the country, students will utilize public transportation such as buses and trains. Excursions and general travel require a lot of walking, so bring some comfortable shoes!

Eligibility

Students must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, and be in good academic and disciplinary standing. You must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university at the end of the semester, too. If you are not in good standing at the end of the semester, your acceptance will be revoked and you will be responsible for the associated withdrawal fees. No language experience is required, but students with a background in French will have many opportunities to use their language skills.

Costs

PDFCost Sheet 2018

This document outlines the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. It includes fees charged on students’ U-Bill as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

The cost sheet includes the Study Abroad Administrative Fee and Mandatory Iowa Regents CISI Travel Insurance. Please see the respective websites for further details. If the fee is inclusive of UI tuition, it is calculated by Current Tuition. Please contact your study abroad advisor with questions regarding this cost sheet – call 319-335-0353 to schedule an appointment.

Upfront, out-of-pocket expenses

Some costs are incurred prior to departure and will be due before financial aid/scholarship disperse. Here are the expected upfront costs for SIT:

  • Iowa application fee: $50
  • Airfare: $1,000-$1,500
  • Passport: $135

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options.

Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities, and Non-UI External Awards.

SIT automatically gives students from Big Ten institutions a $1,500 scholarship. There is no application necessary — the amount is automatically credited to your account. SIT offers additional awards that can be found on SIT's webpage.

Pell Grant Recipients will have their application fee waived by SIT, are eligible for additional SIT scholarships, and are competitive candidates for the Department of State's Gilman Scholarship. Please talk to your Study Abroad Advisor for more details.

Withdrawal policy

SIT's withdrawal policy can be found here: Withdrawal and Cancellation. After applying and being accepted students will then be asked to confirm their participation in the program. After confirmation, students are responsible for the following:

Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
After submitting the Confirmation of Participation Study Abroad Administrative fee: $400
Portion of course fee: As determined by the program contract with SIT
Less than 30 days before the program start date Study Abroad Administrative fee: $400 or 50%, whichever is greater
Portion of course fee: As determined by the program contract with SIT
On or after the program start date Study Abroad Administrative fee: 100%
Portion of course fee: As determined by the program contract with SIT

Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited. Check with your specific provider/host university for details. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

Application Deadline

Spring: September 27

Fall: February 24

How to Apply

You can find the application for this program on our website here: UI Study Abroad Application. Applicants must meet with a Study Abroad advisor before their application will be processed. You can schedule a meeting by calling 319.335.0353.

Participants must also complete the SIT application and complete all the application components by SIT's deadline. The SIT application can be found here: SIT Application.

Acceptance and Confirmation Materials

Coming soon.

Health & Safety Planning

In addition to submitting their Confirmation of Participation form, students should review the following:

Study Abroad Resources

Passports and Visas

Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information

Students are also encouraged to complete the PDFHealth Preparation Guide for International Travel form with their medical practitioner. This document is intended to help you plan for your medical needs abroad. Please DO NOT turn this form in to UI Study Abroad.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

For more information about receiving financial aid while studying abroad, please review the following:UI Financial Aid Information

You can find more information about options for funding your study abroad experience including scholarships on Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad.

In addition, take a look at SIT Scholarship website for information about scholarships offered directly through your program provider.

Visa

U.S. passport holders should follow the Visa batch process instructions provided by SIT. Make sure to submit all required documents by the submission deadline. Otherwise you will have to apply for your student visa independently.

U.S. Citizens will need a student visa if they are going abroad for a semester, or academic year. Typically, they will not need a visa for the summer sessions.

UI Study Abroad will hold advising appointments and/or information sessions to provide details on the visa application process. UI Study Abroad staff can provide some assistance on the Italian visa application process, but ultimately the individual traveler (the student) is the person who is responsible for providing correct information on the visa application and securing the visa and all other required documentation prior to travel.

Prior to starting the visa application process check in with SIT for more information; they have a preferred timeline that students need to follow.

Orientation

In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

You are required to complete the International Programs ICON course "Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation" prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals, and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions, you can email safety-abroad@uiowa.edu

Program-Specific Orientation

This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.

Pre departure Resources

SIT will provide you with a variety of pre-departure resources to prepare you for your study abroad experience. These will include a packing list, cultural information, housing instructions, etc. Ensure that you thoroughly review any information provided to you by SIT and refer back to it if you have any questions.

These materials may be periodically updated to reflect new program information prior to departure. Be sure to check your SIT Account often.