The Dakar Institute of African Studies (DIAS)

Why choose The Dakar Institute of African Studies (DIAS)?

The Dakar Institute of African Studies is an accredited center of learning and research in Senegal that provides summer study abroad programs for students in the U.S. and around the world. The summer program is led by U.S. based professors with teaching and research experience on both continents. We offer an academic program and an internship program in English and in French with accompanying language courses.

We believe it is crucial for students to understand African cultural heritage and to place it in conversation with other worldviews. To accomplish this goal, the program aims to encourage a deeper understanding of African realities by creating a bridge between Senegalese and American students through education, peer to peer exchange, and cultural excursions. This full immersion will provide study abroad students with a deeper understanding of Senegalese tradition, as well as introduce a worldview based on the African cultural heritage.


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Yes, I recommend this program

DIAS: A Comprehensive Study Abroad Experience

Being Senegalese, I thought the DIAS program would not teach me anything new about Senegal. However, I was proven wrong. I believe DIAS is the best study abroad program in Senegal because of many factors. I will choose three reasons.

Firstly, DIAS does not have a "one size fits all" model like many other study abroad programs. In other words, the program does not recycle goals and procedures from previous years. Instead, DIAS centers its students and makes sure their time in Senegal is useful in furthering their academic and personal interests. Being a heritage learner, I was accommodated accordingly with more classroom hours and an advanced wolof instructor.

Second, DIAS' African Studies courses are unlike any I could find in my home university. The professors were all Africanists with doctorates in their field. I learned about Africa, from Africans and with African texts and sources. I always left class stunned at how far my professors had pushed me intellectually.

Third, DIAS provides a comprehensive study abroad experience in Senegal. DIAS makes sure its students do not engage with Senegal in a superficial way. The program places students in internships all around Dakar, places students in local families for home stays and the students take courses with local Senegalese students from the University of Chiekh Anta Diop. From the beginning, students are not Americans in Senegal but residents within Senegal.

I would do the program all over again in a heartbeat. I am very pleased with my experience and would highly recommend the program to any student, regardless of their academic background.

What would you improve about this program?
I just wished it was longer.
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Yes, I recommend this program

DIAS: Internship and Study

Words can't describe the experience that DIAS provided me during my time in Senegal last summer. I landed in Dakar with high hopes, big dreams, and completely unsure of what to expect. The students, professors, friends and families of the Dakar Institute of African Studies somehow managed to blow my incredibly high expectations out of the water. I have never been so welcomed into a community before coming to Dakar, especially considering I didn't know a word of French or Wolof.

I chose the internship route for DIAS in the travel/tourism industry. Not only did DIAS place me in the biggest and fastest growing travel agency in all of Senegal, but Dr. Gueye went with me to show me how to navigate the streets of downtown Dakar, taught me how to hail and negotiate prices with a cab, and introduced me to the director of the company herself. This "above and beyond" attitude isn't limited to just one professor either. Every single professor at DIAS will go to extraordinary lengths to make this the best learning, cultural and social experience of your life.

Within six weeks, in addition to our internships and classes, DIAS brought us to incredible places such as St. Louis, Joal, Lac Rose, the African Renaissance Monument (with a special trip to the top!), a textile museum, the President's palace, and so many more. Many students also took trips to the beach, shopped downtown in the markets, found pickup games of soccer to join, and bought fabric to have clothes tailored for them.

DIAS provided us with an opportunity that you won't find anywhere else. I couldn't recommend this program any higher, it was only six short weeks but Dakar and my DIAS family will always have a place in my heart and I look forward to my next visit.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would change is the length of time, I wanted to stay longer!
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Yes, I recommend this program

An Outstanding Academic and Cultural Experience

If you are interested in an experience where your perception of the world is challenged then this program is perfect. The academic environment provided by DIAS promotes an immersion approach to both French and Wolof languages as well as other interesting courses. Most specifically these other courses allow for the opportunity to learn in a classroom in which you can engage in conversation with other Senegalese students, providing a unique entry into African Studies, and other related disciplines. In regards to the housing situation, the host families that DIAS provides are amazing. Personally, I am still in contact with my host family as they were and are people that are very welcoming and hospitable. Being in a new country that is so different from our Western way of life, having a host family that is understanding and helpful makes the world of a difference. If you are interested in travelling this program is also a fit. DIAS does a great job in balancing the class schedule and the experiential learning that is done through the field trips. The field trips to other places in Senegal allow you to become closer to not only the other American students in your program but to also establish true friendships with the Senegalese peers. Altogether, this program was very formative for me and I apply a lesson I learned via this program in my everyday life.


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