Middlebury School in Cameroon: Yaoundé
90% Rating
(5 Reviews)

Middlebury School in Cameroon: Yaoundé

The Middlebury program in Yaoundé offers cultural and linguistic immersion through a rigorous curriculum and adherence to the Middlebury Language Pledge. By pledging to speak only the target language while abroad, students will have the best chance of acquiring fluency and actively engaging in the local environment. Participants have the opportunity to study the Medunga language and other courses at the Middlebury center, and take some of their courses alongside local students at the Université Catholique d'Afrique Centrale. All students are encouraged to get involved in the community through internships or interactions within the clubs and activities available.

Locations
Africa » Cameroon
Program Type
Provider
Subject Areas
Degree Level
Bachelors
Timeframe
Academic Year
Fall
Spring
Accommodation
Host Family
Inclusions
Accommodation
Activities
Classes
Some Meals
Language
French
Steps
Online Application
Writing Sample
Statement of Purpose
Letters of Recommendation
Language Requirement
GPA Requirement
Starting Price
$16,920.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Semester tuition, room, partial board and health insurance are included in the cost. Additional board, books/supplies, travel, visas and personal expenses are not included.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Academics
    82%
  • Support
    98%
  • Fun
    92%
  • Housing
    78%
  • Safety
    88%

Program Reviews (5)

Default avatar
Anna
Female
23 years old
Princeton, NJ
Middlebury College

Living in a Central African city and learning more than just a language

9/10

I chose the Middlebury School in Cameroon because I knew I wanted to study French outside of France. I wanted to immerse myself in a place to which I never would have otherwise had a connection. My four and a half months abroad in Cameroon were perhaps some of the most challenging but I wholeheartedly know now that I would have regretted a decision not to go.

Re French language study: Living with a host family meant listening to and conversing in French everyday. Navigating the streets of Yaoundé meant you were surrounded by French. This program allows for full language immersion and therefore a significant strengthening of my conversational French. Classes at the local university were very manageable. Various theoretical and fictional readings as well as numerous writing assignments (weekly journals, reading reactions, longer papers) further strengthened my French reading and writing skills.

Re host family: My host family was a very significant and central aspect of my abroad experience. My family members became my mentors and my closest friends and it was in the home that I learned most about life in Yaoundé and Cameroonian culture. I was embraced as a daughter and very cared for.

Re safety: With several support systems (host families, the program director, program professors, friends, program peers), I felt very safe living in Yaoundé. The taxi system becomes second nature very quickly, and I was able to comfortably navigate the city on my own.

The best part about studying abroad in Cameroon and about Cameroonian culture is the warmth you find in human interaction - go and see for yourself! Absorb it all!

How can this program be improved?

Most of the frustrations that came with this study abroad experience were not program-related and had to do, instead, with the nature of learning to live in Yaoundé. Living in Yaoundé means learning to adapt, adjust, and be flexible in any situation that is thrown at you. Getting to experience this is exactly what is so wonderful about this program.

Default avatar
Peter
Male
24 years old
Brunswick, NY
Middlebury College

Cameroon: The Experience of a Lifetime

9/10

I have had the incredible good fortune to travel to many different parts of the world. Out of all the study abroad programs I have ever done, the Middlebury program in Cameroon has been the most special. When I was deciding which study abroad program to do I was immediately attracted to the program in Cameroon.

The Cameroon program appealed to me because I wanted to experience something radically different from my status quo. As an American, Cameroon proved to be just that. Despite the fact Cameroon is so unlike where I am from, I quickly felt at home. I think there are two reasons for this.

Firstly, I had an excellent experience with a wonderful host family. My host family quickly welcomed me into their lives. I did not feel like a guest, but rather one of them. My close relationship with members of my host family enabled me to learn a lot about Cameroonian society in a short period of time. Any time I had a question I felt comfortable asking members of my host family about things I did not understand. Their explanations were incredibly helpful and enabled me to learn a lot about Cameroon.

Secondly, the Middlebury faculty did a fantastic job teaching my fellow students and me about Cameroonian life and how to live in Yaounde. For example, in Yaounde people move around the city in taxis. When I first arrived in Yaounde, I really thought I would never be able to navigate the chaotic system. Cars drive through the streets and potential passengers hail cabs. There is then a quick negotiation with the cabbie about destination and fare. Almost as quickly as the taxi has stopped, it starts driving again. Sometimes you get a ride if your destination and price works for the cabbie. Sometimes you have to wait for another taxi. The Middlebury director did a wonderful job showing us how to use the taxi system. I soon got the hang of it and by the end of my stay using the taxi felt completely normal.

Study abroad in Cameroon will challenge you but it is worth doing. The program was extremely broadening and I wholeheartedly recommend it. If you want to do a tremendous amount of learning in a relatively short amount of time and forge close connections with incredible people, this is the program for you!

How can this program be improved?

It is difficult to imagine how this program could be better. One of the really fun parts of the program was connecting to my fellow exchange students' host families. If there were more exchange students in Cameroon, one would be able to connect with more host families. Therefore a way to improve the program is by having more participants. You could help with that by going to Cameroon!

Default avatar
Chelsey
Female
25 years old
Kent, CT
Wellesley College

Most Unique and Immersive Study Abroad Program

10/10

Middlebury School abroad provides the most immersive, educational and adventure-filled opportunity I have found in a study abroad program. Students live with host families and commute within Yaounde with excursions to various parts of the country, with their host families, friends, or with a Middlebury professor as part of course research.

One of the strongest facets of this program is the full-immersion. All of my friends were from Cameroon or West/Central Africa (who study at the university) and the locals. Many other Americans from other study abroad programs I met in-country had only close American friends and after 6 months of being in the country, still did not understand basic cultural and linguistic concepts of Cameroonian people. I spent 10.5 months in Cameroon with the same host family who has become part of my own family simply because I was able to see them everyday, join them on family outings, activities and participate in family life on a regular basis. As a result, the subtleties of their familial culture became more apparent to me, some of which I was not able to fully recognize or understand until month 4 or 5.

After I left the country, I was still able to expand my understanding of Cameroon and Cameroonians because my relationships with my family, friends and the locals had grown very deep and endured even after my departure. Strong connection with locals is important because it enabled me to participate and even organize on-campus student marches and panels focused on environmental awareness. As an outsider coming in, not many people can do this without imposing their own views onto the community. But my Cameroonian friends welcomed me into their student clubs and social activism campaigns.

Flexibility is also among the strongest facets of the program. If you’d like to take dance classes, do an internship, or volunteer somewhere, the Middlebury director knows anyone and everyone who can set you up with whatever you want to do. The in-country director provided me with an incredible amount of support and guidance not just for classes but also with personal and professional growth and opportunity.

I was in Cameroon almost 4 years ago and I would not recommend any other program to someone who is interested in learning French, a local language, cultural immersion and/or personal and professional growth. This program has a wealth of opportunities for whatever you are interested in studying without the feeling of being an “outsider” looking in.

How can this program be improved?

The program itself is incredible. Over the past few years, I have heard from the director and various students about how the program has been improved in terms of trip excursion options and course selection. I would say any of the issues other students may have had while I was there are now figured out. I did not have any complaints while I was there. Each person figures out his/her own "rhythm" and is able to tailor the experience to fit personal taste and curiosity.

Otto
Male
23 years old
Middlebury, VT
Middlebury College

If you want to study abroad in Africa, this is the best program I know of.

9/10

Here's what you need to know about this program: It is what you make it. You can spend your days inside, counting the days until you get to go home. Or you can go out, deal with some of the stress of living in Yaounde, and have some amazing adventures. This is not like a SIT program where someone will hold your hand and ensure that you have a "great experience." If you embrace, and exploit, the freedom of the Middlebury program, you can have a better abroad experience than you would on any SIT program.

I've spent time elsewhere in Africa (The Gambia and Rwanda) and Cameroon is my favorite country in Africa. First of all, it is safe! (Unless, of course, you go to the Extreme North. But in the South of the country, things are completely normal.) Second, it is accessible. Transport around the country is actually quite good, so you can get out and travel around. Third, Cameroonians are cool people. Sure, there are some folks who want to mess with the foreigners, but I only ever encountered good-natured heckling. I never felt threatened by someone. But by and large, Cameroonians are interesting, laid back, and sweet people. And on the Middlebury program, you have lots of opportunities to get to know Cameroonians.

If you are after an experience that will enable you to really plunge into Africa, this program is the best that I know of.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

How can this program be improved?

One downside of the program is that you don't spend a lot of time in any one place. You divide your time between classes at the university, the Middlebury center, your homestay, and (if you choose to do one) your internship. This makes it hard to form a group of close friends. Nonetheless, I got to know a good number of Cameroonians and thankfully in my homestay, I had homestay siblings that were the same age, so I grew close to them. But, like the program in general, you have to put in the effort to make friends--it won't just happen automatically.

Default avatar
Winson
Male
24 years old
Middlebury, VT
Middlebury College

Cameroon > France

8/10

The typical student of French goes to France. While Paris, Bordeaux, or Nantes may seem idyllic experiences, those will pale in comparison to what you will learn in Yaoundé.

Yaoundé challenged me to develop a new sense of confidence in unfamiliar settings. Learning how to take a shared taxi to get around the city is perhaps the most symbolic example. During Orientation, I fell asleep during our trial runs with a staff member. Needless to say, I was worried about how I would get to the university. At first, it was scary standing on the street and announcing my desired destination and fare. I didn't know where I was going to go, how I would get there, and whom I would meet. But just doing it - just going out there and trying to get a taxi taught me what I was capable of. Studying abroad in Yaoundé is a lot like taking the taxi: it's hot, it takes a lot of patience to get anywhere, the ride is bumpy, but you eventually get exactly where you need to be.

Without a doubt, you will speak, learn, feel, and see so much more in Cameroon than in France.

How can this program be improved?

It is difficult to say how the program could be improved, since so much of it relies on the complexities of daily life in Cameroon.

About The Provider

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The Middlebury C.V. Starr Schools Abroad feature 38 sites in 17 countries and are characterized by a focus on integration with the host culture, both linguistically and socially. In addition to taking academically rigorous courses, students are able to participate in internships, volunteer work or

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