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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Dakar, Senegal
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: Academic Programs Abroad (APA) 
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Language of Instruction: French Click here for a definition of this term Class Status: 2-sophomore, 3-junior, 4-senior, 5-grad student
Housing Options: Homestay Click here for a definition of this term Areas of Study: African Studies, Anthropology, Art, Art History, Arts, Business, Economics, Education, Film, French, Independent Study, International Business, International Relations, International Studies, Internships, Liberal Arts, Literature, Management, Music, Political Science, Politics, Religion/Theology, Sociology, Women's Studies, Womens Studies
Program Type: Internship Abroad, study abroad Minimum GPA: 3
Click here for a definition of this term Program: Direct
Program Description:

student with host mother

Discover Dakar: Spend an immersive six weeks in the hub of West Africa--a vibrant crossroads of art, business, education, and humanitarian organizations.

At a Glance
All Majors Language of Instruction: French Term: Summer (6 weeks)
Eligibility: 3.0 GPA Sophomore standing & above B1 starting level (3-4+ semesters of college French or equivalent)

The program includes:

  • Tuition fees for two courses
  • Dedicated academic and language support
  • Culture package: 4 cultural events and activities, 2 day trips, 1 weekend excursion, weekly conversational Wolof classes, introduction to African arts: dance, djembé drumming, glass painting workshops and seminars: Music & Senegalese Identities; Senegalese Designers and Fabrics
  • Housing: Stay with a hand-selected host family with all meals and laundry included in board


  • 2 week extension: Stay in Dakar an additional two weeks and choose your track from: independent study, volunteering, or an internship

Students also receive:

  • Airport pick-up on the program start date
  • 3-day orientation with two nights hotel and meals included
  • Pre-departure support 
  • Liability insurance
  • Dedicated on-site team for support in and outside of the classroom 

Please visit for up-to-date program fees. APA awards two scholarships starting at $300 to participating students. Visit the Scholarship page for more information.


Dakar map

Dakar is the westernmost city in mainland Africa. A prominent city of the former French colonial empire for nearly three centuries, this francophone influence can be found in most aspects of life such as language, architecture, cuisine, and education.

Family, music, and storytelling are large parts of this welcoming culture. Senegal is known across Africa for mbalax, a blend of Western-style jazz, rock, and soul with traditional sabar drums. Hospitality, or teranga in the local Wolof dialect, is so important to the Senegalese that the national soccer team is known as the Lions of Teranga.

About APA

APA is a boutique program provider in Paris, France with a passion to provide a first-rate study abroad experience that unites academic excellence with the beauty and richness of French and Francophone culture. For over 30 years, students from more than 80 US colleges and universities have received a personalized, immersive education abroad in Paris, France; Montpellier, France; Dakar, Senegal; and Rabat, Morocco.

Dakar aerial view

APA will prepare you for your stay in Dakar with a three-day orientation. This will include:

  • Preparation and guidance: exploring cultural differences and preparing for homestays
  • Health and safety overview
  • Walking tours of Dakar
  • Finding your way: practice using taxis and public transportation
  • Initiation in Wolof: learn key phrases and the practical use of this local language used in daily life

Enroll in two courses from the following:

  • Contemporary Western African Art: Visual Art and Film examine two branches of art, visual art and African cinema. Lessons include site visits to museums and meetings with African artists.
  • Cross-Cultural Management: In order to be successful, multi-national corporations need to do more than sell a product in the language of the country of business. Learn how to bridge cultural differences and manage people of different backgrounds found in a business environment.
  • Intensive Wolof for Beginners: Heard throughout Senegal, the local language of Wolof is also spoken in the Gambia and Mauritania. This elementary course will focus on oral expression, oral comprehension, written expression and written comprehension.
  • Interacting in a Francophone World: Advanced French Language for Intermediate Speakers: designed for intermediate French speakers and focusing on the four pillars of language: speaking, writing, reading, and listening, this linguistic and cultural course will provide the skills and practice necessary for students to attain an advanced level of the French language.
  • Oral & Written African Literature: Ideas, Themes, and Meanings: this two-part course invites students to collectively construct the skills of reading, analyzing, interpreting and understanding oral and written African literary works. Taught by two experts in written and oral literature, lessons include meetings with Senegalese authors and poets.
  • Senegal Today: Striking a Balance Between a Traditional and Modern Society: a political science class encompassing politics, religion, education, society, women, economic development, media, and arts. Guest speakers and on-site visits directly related to topics will be organized.
  • West African Economics and Development: identify and analyze the important actors and growing sectors driving the West African region's economic hub.

All courses are taught in French and receive four credits. Local students from ISM also have the opportunity to take these classes with APA! Access the syllabi on our website.

Extend Your Stay

Continue your study abroad in Dakar and extend your stay two more weeks. The additional time allows you to pursue one of the following:

  • Internship: Receive hands-on job experience in a developing market.
  • Independent Study: choose a topic related to one of your two courses. (4 credits)
  • Volunteering: Head outside of the city and spend time on an organic farm or ecolodge

Customized Language Support

During pre-departure, each student takes a language evaluation and based on the results, is assigned to one of our French language professors. Each week throughout the program, students will meet with their French professor for 30 minutes and one hour separately with a teaching assistant to work on specific areas of oral and written expression and comprehension.

DakarTake part in essential Senegalese and West African experiences with your peers: Dakar has a vibrant culture that cannot be missed! Whether you prefer to lounge on the beach or cheer on the Lions of Teranga, the Senegalese national football team, there is something for everyone.


In addition, APA takes students on exclusive trips to visit some of the major historical and cultural sites of Senegal.

Cultural Events

Past events have included concerts, dance, theater, and film.

Day Trips

  • Goreé Island: Located a short ferry ride from the shores of Dakar, tour the island and pay tribute at the Maison des Esclaves memorial
  • Lac Rose: Also known as Lake Retba, the Pink Lake gets its name from the algae that produces a red pigment when absorbing light. Locals mine the lake for its salt, making it a key economic base for many in the area.

Weekend Excursion

Sine Saloum Delta: A UNESCO World Heritage site, discover the mangroves and observe the indigenous flora and fauna. Enjoy life outside of the city and stay in a traditional African hut.

Introduction to African Arts


  • Dance
  • Djembé drumming
  • Glass painting


  • Music & Senegalese identities
  • Senegalese designers and fabrics

An exceptional experience, living in a Senegalese homestay provides a greater understanding of cross-cultural learning and immersion. After spending the first two nights with APA at a hotel, students will be introduced to their host family.

Carefully matched, each student is paired with a host family. Students are provided with a private bedroom with linens, access to common areas including the kitchen, daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and weekly laundry. All homestays are vetted to provide the best fit.


The program is open to students with sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate level class standing and a minimum 3.0 GPA. At least a B1 language level (approximately 3-4+ semesters of college-level French or equivalent) will be necessary to follow courses taught in French.


April 15

Application Process

Just as you are excited about studying abroad, we are as eager to welcome you to Dakar! Our application process is designed so that we can learn the most about you as a person: your academics, future plans, interests and hobbies, and even your picture so we can put a face to your name.

The online application consists of submitting the following parts:

  • Background information and personal statement
  • Unofficial transcript
  • French recommendation letter
  • $35 application fee (waived for students on full financial aid or from APA institutional partners)

Your application will only be reviewed once these pieces are received. After, a member of the APA team will contact you to schedule a short, friendly telephone conversation in English and French so that we may learn more about you and why you would like to study in Dakar.

Apply online at the APA website

Please note: Your home institution may have its own study abroad application requirements and deadlines. It is your responsibility to make sure they are all completed in the proper, timely manner.


If you have any questions, we welcome you to contact the APA US office at or by phone at 203-883-8200. A team member will respond to you as soon as possible.