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Welcome to Senegal

Senegal is a beautiful and independent nation, that, like many West African countries, was once a French colony. Although these cultural imprints can still be seen throughout its cities and most popular sites -- such as St. Louis, a UNESCO Heritage site -- Senegal is rich in its own culture and worth seeing.

South of the Senegal River that winds through West Africa lies the coastal, tropical Republic of Senegal, a developing nation in economic transition. On one hand, most of Senegal is home to many rural fishing and farming villages. On the other hand, the modern capital of Dakar, a peninsular harbor, is popular with travelers and foreign students studying at the University of Dakar. Senegal has a rich history and culture. Off the coast of Dakar is the infamous Gorée island, now a museum and memorial to the Atlantic slave trade. The island-fort changed hands many times until France took possession of it in 1677, later expanding their claims to the mainland, to the detriment of the slave-trading kingdoms. French remains the official language of Senegal. 

Not bountiful in resources, the country exports fish and phosphates. The country has made large strides since, including a small information technology-driven boom following the achievement of full Internet connectivity in 1996.Senegal boasts a politically stable democracy and all the beauty of a coastal country in the tropics, so it attracts a great number of tourists, who are a major factor in its economy. Tourism reaches a peak from November to February, when Senegal is cooler and dryer. Senegal is also renowned for its musicians (including the Senegalese/American hip-hop artist, Akon). 

Climate

Senegal is a tropical country. Rainfall levels are highest in the south, while the north, which includes Dakar and Saint-Louis are comparatively drier , with about 24 inches (60cm) of rain per year. As one might expect, coastal temperatures are more moderate than in the interior. 

Religion 

The dominant religion is Islam, which is followed by 95% of the population. 

Transportation 

Dakar has an international airport that serves many airlines, with regular flights from New York, Paris, and many parts of Africa. Car rentals are relatively expensive. Mini-bus and coastal ferry are also common modes of transportation, and Dakar is the main port of entry. 

Education 

Senegal is a developing, politically stable West African country, well suited for those studying French or interested in studying an economy in transition.The country has two public universities: Gaston Berger University (originally the University of Saint-Louis), and Cheikh Anta Diop University, also known as the University of Dakar. The latter is the older and quite well-known internationally; it attracts many study abroad students from overseas and neighboring countries.There is also the Dakar campus of Suffolk University, which is based in Boston, Massachusetts. Its study abroad program is more suited for students without a working knowledge of French. 

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Funding & Scholarship Opportunities

There are many scholarships to fund your study abroad experience. Here is a list of Diversity Abroad scholarships available for study in this country:

Diversity Abroad Overseas Ambassador Scholarship
Diversity Network Summer Scholarship
Diversity Abroad & CISI Planning Scholarship

For more scholarships, visit Scholarships for Study Abroad in Senegal

Staying Healthy & Safe in Senegal

Despite a 2004 peace deal, sporadic clashes between separatist rebels and government forces still occur in the southwestern region of Casamance, where banditry occurs .Visit the CDC’s Senegal page for updated information on health conditions in Senegal.

For Alumni

If you have studied abroad in Japan, consider creating a profile and sharing your experience. What you have to say could help inspire another student considering studying abroad. You can also submit an article to be considered for publication on our website.

Contact us at content@diversitabroad.org for more information!

Create A Diversity Abroad Profile

Also, here are some links to potential opportunities for students who have studied abroad and graduates interested in work opportunities in Sengal.

Teach Abroad in Senegal
Intern Abroad in Senegal
Volunteer Abroad in Senegal

Diversity Guide to Senegal

  • Senegal is a predominantly Muslim country, as more than 90% of its population identifies as Muslim. While religious freedom is exercised, students outside of the Islamic faith may need to consult with university staff or trusted locals to find places of worship.

  • Diversity

    Wolof 43.3%, Pular 23.8%, Serer 14.7%, Jola 3.7%, Mandinka 3%, Soninke 1.1%, European and Lebanese 1%, other 9.4%

Have Tips about Study or Travel to Senegal?

Only second to Ghana, Senegal is the second most popular country in West Africa that students from the U.S. choose to study abroad. Like its neighbor, one of Senegal's most popular destinations is Goree Island, historically significant due to its role during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. 

Are you ready for Senegal? Here are few essential resources to help make your trip a success:

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