Study Abroad in Senegal this January!

Applications for the Gender, Health, and Development in Senegal Study Abroad Program are now open! The third UMKC Study Abroad program to Senegal will take place in January 2020. The application deadline is October 29, 2020. Applications are now being accepted (to apply, please visit

Pre-Departure Sessions: December 6, 2019, 4 – 7 p.m. & December 7, 2019, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Senegal Trip: January 2 – 19, 2020

Post-trip Session: February 7, 2020, 4 – 7 p.m.

Applications Due: October 29, 2019 – apply online at

UMKC Faculty Leaders:

Dr. Brenda Bethman |

Dr. Amanda Grimes |

Coursework: Gender, Health, and Development in Senegal: 3 Credits

WGS 408  |  FRN-LNG 380 |  HIST 408  |  HLSC 408  |  BLKS 405

Earn 3 UMKC credits (undergraduate or graduate) through this intensive course led by UMKC faculty (2.75 or better GPA required).

Fulfills the following requirements:

  • HLSC 460 global health requirement for Health Sciences majors
  • minor electives for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Black Studies minors
  • breadth requirement for Foreign Languages & Literatures majors
  • major elective for FLL majors with the International Studies emphasis
  • major elective for History majors
  • Biology 397 for biology majors
  • humanities distribution requirement for all CAS majors

Program Overview

This program/course examines women’s economic empowerment, health education initiatives, and social entrepreneurship in West Africa and Senegal in particular. In the main city of Dakar we will visit indigenous and global nonprofits to study their policies and processes. The culture, both urban and rural, will be experienced in order to provide a unique perspective on the Senegalese and their culture.

The program will be split between Dakar and the area around Toubacouta in the Fatick Region. Toubacouta is located in a mangrove delta and known for abundant fish, birds, and wildlife. This program allows you to live, volunteer, and experience two distinct parts of Senegal.

In Dakar you will meet Senegalese leaders and community activists working to improve life in Senegal. After a day of introductions and a city tour, you will stay with a host family, who will help you learn about Senegalese culture. After a couple of days of lectures, you will receive your volunteer placement — you will most likely be able to choose from 3 or 4 volunteer placements. Placements will focus on areas such as: health, education, music, entrepreneurship, business management, social service, local governance, and/or human rights.

In addition to volunteering in Dakar, there will be cultural visits built into the schedule. Visits include Gorée Island, which is a small Island off the Cape Verde Peninsula, known for its role in the slave trade. We will also visit mosques, museums, and the lively markets.

After six days volunteering and exploring Dakar, we will travel south to the Fatick Region and Toubacouta. Here you will stay in an ecotourist hotel while we work on volunteer projects in the village. Saloum Delta National Park was formed when two great rivers met the Atlantic ocean. We will visit the park and explore the beaches, mangroves, sand dunes, and wildlife. At the end of that week, we will to Dakar for a final wrap up.

Dakar was the capital of all of French West Africa from 1902 to independence in 1960, and Senegal has traditionally had a special relationship with France. Senegal was also the home of major Francophone African writers Leopold Senghor and Ousmane Sembène, also known as the father of African film; there are interesting Francophone women writers from the country as well, including Marie NDiaye, the first black woman to win France’s most prestigious literary award, the Prix Goncourt.

Housing & Meals

You will live with a Senegalese family while in Dakar. You will be welcomed into the home of a Senegalese host family, who will provide breakfast and dinner most days. You will spend the first night and the last night in a hotel in Dakar. Some group meals at restaurants in Senegal will be organized and included in the program fee. While in Toubacouta, you will stay in an ecotourist hotel. Most meals are included. There will be 2-3 students in each homestay and sharing rooms at hotels.


Several excursions are included in the program. The city tour introduces you to Dakar’s museums, mosques, markets, and beaches. In addition to volunteering in Dakar, we will also travel to Gorée Island. This small Island off the Cape Verde Peninsula is known for its role in the slave trade, colonial heritage, and museums.

The second part of the volunteer experience is around Toubacouta in the Fatick Region. The bulk of the time here will be spent getting to know the people of this region and working on volunteer projects. We will explore the Saloum Delta National Park as a group. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for mangrove forests, islands, sand dunes, and wildlife.