Senegal Summer Program

picture of Africa


SUNY Geneseo Program in Senegal [Video by Sofia Villalón (summer 2016)]

"This study abroad program was sponsored in 2012 by the Chancellor’s Award for Internationalization of the State University of New York."

The program 

This 4-week innovative course, FREN 312: Modernity and Western Africa, created and taught by Dr. Kodjo Adabra (Department of Global Languages and Cultures) takes place in the port city of Dakar in Senegal. Students conduct field research on approved topics that connect Senegal and their respective majors: such topics may include culture, literature, religion, history, politics, health, business, media, education, sciences, food, cinema, arts, music, etc.... The students who so desire will receive guidance and mentorship from the program director in the Fall following the summer program to refine their summer research for presentation in English at a national undergraduate conference in the US. This transformational summer course is therefore open to students from all majors (the instructor's approval is required). The course can be taken to count as Geneseo Electives, to meet the major/minor degree completion in French, and/or to meet the M/ (Other World Civilizations) General Education requirement. The course also meets the Developing World Track course eligibility for international relations majors. 

Dr. Kodjo Adabra is an Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies at SUNY Geneseo. Originally from Togo, in West Africa, he has a thorough understanding of the cultural diversity within the francophone African world. His primary research deals with sub-Saharan Francophone African literature from Post-colonial Africa, with a focus on diasporic literature, literary transnationalism, migration, identity, and exile. 

      Photo of downtown Dakar

Downtown Dakar (Senegal)

  Village of Toubacouta (Senegal)

village hut


Senegal, Africa's westernmost country, is one of the more successful post-colonial democratic transitions in Africa, and has played a significant role in the politics, arts, and culture of West Africa, and the city of Dakar blends modern amenities with the rich cultures and traditions of diverse ethnic groups. In addition to the field research and the classroom instruction, the course includes a number of group activities.

Excursions include three weekend trips (with overnight stays at hotels) to places such as the town of Toubab-Dialaw (batik sessions: tie-dying technique, drumming class, visit of L'Engouement African dance workshop, Sobo Bade beach), the town of Toubacouta (cultural night at Hotel Keur Saloum, visit of mangroves, guided tour of ecological village on Sippo island, local cookout class, traditional Senegalese wrestling match, stop in cities of Kaolack and Mbour), and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Goree Island. Weekday afternoon visits take the group to the Pink Lake, the new Museum of Black Civilizations, the Monument of African Renaissance, Bandia reserve (safari), markets, local beaches, artisanal exhibits, local sites of interest and several cultural events.

Students stay with carefully selected Senegalese host-families in Dakar for a true cultural immersive transformational experience.

Other highlights of the program: the instructors offer an additional 2-credit directed study in summer session II for those who need 6 credits to qualify for summer financial aid; the program provides 3 meals a day (breakfast/lunch/dinner); each participant receives a personal cell phone with a personal number upon our arrival in Senegal

Group's excitement arriving in Dakar

Visiting the Monument of African Renaissance


West African Research Center - WARC - (for classrooms) and host families in Dakar, Senegal. One orientation will be provided by the program Director at Geneseo in New York prior to departure, in addition to orientations onsite in Dakar, Senegal.


Prerequisite: FREN 202 or 213 (or intermediate French if transferred credits), or permission of instructor for other majors. Priority will be given to Geneseo students who are in good academic standing with no financial obligations to the college. Non-Geneseo students are welcome to apply but should be in good academic standing at their home campus.

Program days [summer 2024]: May 25 to June 25
Application deadline: December 03, 2023
Open informational meeting: - September 13, 2023, from 6:15pm-7:15pm in Welles 210
                                              - October 5, 2023, from 6:15pm-7:15pm in Welles 210

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Some financial aid may be applicable to this course. Dr Adabra will also be able to offer an additional 2-credit independent study course during the summer session to the program participants who need six summer credits to qualify for Financial Aid. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for eligibility information at or at 104 Erwin Hall Tel: (585) 245-5731

For more details about the trip, the course materials, and expectations, you may contact:

Dr. Kodjo Adabra at 


Program cost :  Summer 2022 Cost Sheet

(Visa not required for U.S. passport holders) 

For further information, please contact the Office of International Programs at or stop by their office in Erwin 217 at SUNY-Geneseo

Phone: (585) 245-5546. Fax: (585) 245-5032.
To complete an application online, please go to


Selected short reviews from participants in the summer program in Senegal...

- From Erin Mae Andres: "The Senegal Study Abroad Program was one of the best experiences that I have ever had in my life. […] Moreover, I truly became engrossed within the Senegalese culture, which helped me rekindle my appreciation for family, community, and curiosity for the world. Before I left, I would have never dreamed of ever going to Africa. After a month of learning about the culture and people, I had grown to truly appreciate the world around me. Every day in Senegal was an adventure I will never forget!" - SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2012 in Dakar, Senegal.

- From Jennifer Lomaki: "From traditional clothing, drumming and dancing to bargaining at outdoor markets to visiting places treasured for their scenic beauty or historic significance, my trip to Senegal was one of the most enriching and rewarding cultural experiences of my life. I wouldn't trade it for the world and I would go back in a heartbeat." - SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2013 in Dakar, Senegal.

- From Ursula Quinn: "Incomparable to almost any other study abroad program, the Senegal program gave me the chance to immerse myself in a culture that is in every way vibrant. And aside from academically and socioculturally, I really learned a lot about myself." - SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2015 in Dakar, Senegal.

- From Maria Suarez: "My month in Senegal was educational, transformational, and most of all fun. My host family was so loving, I truly felt like a part of the family. We still communicate on Facebook! The experiences I had there and the wealth of knowledge I gained not only about the french language but also the Senegalese culture will never leave me." - SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2015 in Dakar, Senegal.

- From Maggie Francese: "The Senegal program really opened my mind and heart to a culture that is simply beautiful. I learned so much more than just academics in the invaluable lessons learned about relationships, community, and trust during my time in Dakar. I wouldn’t change anything about my choice to study abroad in Senegal for the world." - SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2016 (as student) and Summer 2018 (as program assistant) in Dakar, Senegal.

- From Trevis Lipnicky: "During the summer of 2017 I took the opportunity to spend a month studying abroad in Dakar, Senegal. Throughout my time in Dakar I took one class (FREN 312: Modernity and Western Africa) while I simultaneously completed a research project titled "The Critical Perceptions of American Transnational Corporations in Dakar, Senegal". Throughout the entirety of my time in Senegal I was able to fully immerse myself in the Senegalese culture. As a result, my experiences abroad certainly fueled my passions for both the francophone world and the developing world. Furthermore, living in Dakar provided me with an indispensable opportunity to practice and strengthen my skills in French." - SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2017 in Dakar, Senegal.

- From Anaya Packirisamy: "When I went on this trip, I was very nostalgic for my home in India, but after going on this trip, I could feel the connections between Senegal and India and that, in turn, gave me comfort. I had a wonderful host family who exposed me to authentic Senegalese home cooked meals. I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried new things. I saw beautiful sights and immersed myself in the culture. My month in Senegal was truly special." - SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2019 in Dakar, Senegal.

- From Nora Whorton: "Going on Dr. Adabra's summer abroad program in Senegal was one of the most pivotal decisions I have made in my entire life. It truly is transformational. Going into college, I knew I wanted to study abroad, however, it's hard to do that with one of my majors in biology. This program allows and encourages students from all different disciplines to pursue a research project of their choosing. I ended up choosing to research traditional medicine which actually changed my career path and made me want to learn different viewpoints regarding health and medicine. Not only was it transformative in the education aspect, but also in the worldly aspect. Dakar is a wonderful city, culturally rich, and the people there are so kind and hospitable. People encouraged me to use and practice my French and were always willing to help. Overall, a combination of the experiences I had and the people I experienced them with made the trip what it was. Our cohort was like a family, and having that shared experience is something we will never forget. Dr. Adabra was an amazing mentor during my time there, and he still continues to be even after coming back. He wants his students to succeed, and he pushes them to be the best versions of themselves that they can be. I will always remember my time in Senegal, and I would love to go back. So, I say step outside of your comfort zone and go on this trip! I promise it will be worth it. There may be some uncomfortableness at first but embrace it because this is truly a life-changing experience!" SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2022 in Dakar, Senegal.

- From Gaetan Jean Louis: "Out of all the countries I have visited, Senegal has been the most impactful one because of the diversity of their languages, cultures, and ethnic groups. The people are known for their hospitality and I felt it by living with an amazing and welcoming host family. I chose this program because it was a great opportunity for me to go to Africa and earn credit abroad for a very affordable price, but there are way more reasons to go, such as the unforgettable experiences you’re going to get there, the cultural and academic knowledge you’ll acquire and plenty of fun with your cohort and with some locals. I’d definitely have this experience again because it was a life-changing one. If it was for me, it can, should, and will be for you as well. Apply as early as possible!"SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2022 in Dakar, Senegal. 

- From Lia Wortsman: "My time in Senegal is a period which I will always remember not only fondly, but also as absolutely pivotal to my post-graduate career. Having initially planned to pursue a different study abroad opportunity which fell through for various reasons, I was unsure of what to do with the study abroad aspect of my International Relations degree come the fall of my Junior year. But I had not forgotten about the trip which Dr. Adabra had advertised my Freshman year, and the more he talked about it, the more sure I became that that was the experience I wanted to pursue. Traveling to a new country is always a nerve-wracking experience, no matter how travel-savvy or excited to explore one is. In this sense, I could not have asked for a better community with which to make this trip, and I knew as soon as I woke on our first morning in Dakar that I had made the right decision. Dakar is an incredible place to be for undergraduate research—not only in French language studies, but also in fashion, linguistics, politics, biology, education and many other areas. My time there introduced me to an entirely different form of on-the-ground field research, and encouraged many of us to further pursue our research upon returning to Geneseo. I could not have asked for better mentors than Dr. Adabra and Dr. Nwabara, and I made friends among our cohort that I remain in touch with even after having graduated from Geneseo. I was welcomed into my host family with open arms, and allowed to experience the loud, loving and larger than life family that I had always wanted but never had. More than a year later, I miss my time there dearly, as well as the people who made me feel so welcome, and encouraged my curiosity above all else. The single month we spent there improved my French-speaking skills far more than any number of years in an American classroom could have, and are what gave me the courage to pursue my graduate studies in a French-speaking city. In sum, if you’re even slightly considering this trip, my advice is: Go for it! You won’t regret it. And if you do end up in Dakar sometime in June, ask Dr. Adabra to take you to his secret gelato place. I promise he’ll be happy to oblige :)SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2022 in Dakar, Senegal.