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Breaking cultural and linguistic barriers: Why I chose to study abroad in Africa

As seen in USA TODAY College:

Breaking cultural and linguistic barriers: Why I chose to study abroad in Africa

By McKenzie Powell, Ohio University

[dropcap]B[/dropcap]lank stares and confused expressions are reactions I have grown accustomed to any time I respond to the question, “Where are you studying abroad this summer?”

These gawks usually accompany the question, “Senegal? Where is that – South America?” On the inside, my eyes roll deeply into the back of my head.

My agitation aside, these responses also serve to further assure me that I have made the right decision in selecting a study abroad location in Senegal, a beautiful country located on the coast of Western Africa.

I chose to study abroad in Dakar, Senegal not only to educate myself about Senegalese culture, but also with the hopes of returning to the United States and informing others about a country and a continent that still remain seemingly unfamiliar.

According to the Institute of International Education’s 2014 Open Doors Report, only 5% of students from the U.S. chose Africa as their study abroad destination from 2012 to 2013.

Despite the low number of study abroad students in Africa each year, the importance of learning about developing countries within this continent, such as Senegal, is proving to be increasingly necessary as the world becomes more and more globalized and connected.

While Africa is an enormous continent that could easily fit the U.S., China, India, and a chunk of European countries within its borders, the options for study abroad programs in Africa are quite limited. Most of these programs are in South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, Botswana and Senegal.

During the process of selecting a program, it was easiest for me to first examine the courses that would be offered during my chosen term, as well as the language of instruction for each of these classes.

Because I am an African studies and journalism major, with a minor in French and anthropology, Senegal was automatically a perfect fit, as it is a Francophone-speaking country.

To read the full article click here.

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2 thoughts on “Breaking cultural and linguistic barriers: Why I chose to study abroad in Africa

  1. Debra Grilly says:

    Loved, loved, loved this article!!! Articulate, intelligent and inviting! I sincerely hope that other college students, who plan to study abroad, will give serious consideration to taking up this “challenge”.

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