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 Languages and Literatures) 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 Fall 2022 in refining 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 required). The course can be taken to count as Geneseo Electives, or 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 courses eligibility for Intl 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 Francophone sub-Saharan literatures of post-colonial Africa, as well as identity and trends in African diasporic literatures.


      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 getting off tour bus  statue of African renaissance in Dakar


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.

Application deadline: December 5, 2021
Group dressed in African attire group dressed in African attire

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 

Beach view in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal Image of a dock at Goree Island

Program cost :  Program Cost Summer 2018.pdf

(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

Picture of a group in African attire

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

“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!” - Erin Mae Andres, SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2012 in Dakar, Senegal.

"Traveling to Senegal was the most rewarding experience I have ever had. From meeting new people, to learning how to play African drums, I wouldn't have traded this trip for the world." - From Darien Sears, United States Naval Academy, Summer 2012 in Dakar, Senegal.

"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." - From Jennifer Lomaki, SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2013 in Dakar, Senegal.

"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." - From Ursula Quinn, SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2015 in Dakar, Senegal.

"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." - From Maria Suarez, SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2015 in Dakar, Senegal.

"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." - From Maggie Francese, SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2016 (as student) and Summer 2018 (as assistant) in Dakar, Senegal.

"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." - From Trevis Lipnicky, SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2017 in Dakar, Senegal.

"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." - From Anaya Packirisamy, SUNY Geneseo, Summer 2019 in Dakar, Senegal.

people in a boat