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A tiny little country nested on the coast of West Africa, Senegal's dynamic history and cultural diversity has set it apart from several other developing countries in Africa. Recently declared an independent state from France in 1960, Senegal has been able to hold onto its myriad of cultural roots and reflect its ethnic variety through music, cuisine, and an ancient storytelling tradition. A member of the African Union and The Economic Community of West African States, Senegal has established itself as a growing international nation. While the benefits of completing an internship in Senegal may not be the first thing that comes to mind, the country has much to offer. With a budding economy and growing international recognition, Senegal offers some unique internship opportunities for those willing to step out of the box, and experience something completely exciting and new.
Many internships in Senegal are relatively flexible in terms of their duration. Depending on the type of internship you have, you may choose to intern in Senegal over the summer, during a semester, or for an entire year. Some internship projects tend to be more long-term, and extend past the period of one semester. The easiest way to intern in Senegal is to apply to an internship program. These programs often have pre-established relationships with local businesses and organizations, as well as other resources to ease your transition in Senegal. Be sure to do your research and ask any questions you have early on.
The cost of living in Senegal is much less than that in the U.S. With the conversion rate of 1 CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF) approximately equal to 0.00198 U.S. dollars, most travelers from abroad will not find themselves with any financial burden. With that said, living in the city center in Dakar will still be noticeably more expensive compared to other towns. International products also tend to be more costly. Here are some examples of costs in Senegal are reported with the estimated U.S. Dollar equivalent to avoid giving you a headache. For a detailed breakdown of costs in Moldova, see NUMBEO.
Most of the attention to Senegal's labor laws has been directed to the country's newer policies and programs to eliminate child labor. Issues with Senegal's work and labor conditions have inspired many human rights platforms and projects. With that said, most internships in Senegal are unpaid, especially since the country is still battling high unemployment rates.
A culturally and historically rich country on the edge of West Africa, Senegal is a unique place to pursue an international internship. For those interested in human rights work and international business development, Senegal is the perfect place to obtain some real work experience in a growing country. While it doesn't seem like the first place you would go to pursue an internship, living and working abroad in Senegal will expose you to a different way of life--one not necessarily considered glamorous, but most definitely filled with rich culture and experience.
Do you think there is something missing in our guide to interning in Senegal? Contact us and let us know! We want to make sure our information is relevant and up to date.