SIT Cameroon: Development and Social Change

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About

Examine social, economic, and political development patterns in one of Africa’s most ethnically and geographically diverse countries.

Major topics of study include:

Development theories and best practices
Successes, challenges, and prospects for development organizations currently working in Cameroon
Nation-state issues
Social, economic, and political change within some ethnic groups
Cameroonian culture, dance, and art
Women in development

You can choose to complete an internship during the last four weeks of this program. For this internship, you will be placed with a local Cameroonian organization where you will gain real work experience related to the program’s theme and develop professional skills you can use in your career.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.4 Rating
based on 5 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 7.8
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 8.4
  • Safety 7.8
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
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Allegra
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I only wish I never had to leave

My semester in Cameroon was one that I will remember for the rest of my life. Through home-stays, trips and classes, SIT strove to immerse us in the cities that we were studying in. I had wonderful host families that welcomed me into their homes and made me feel at home. Classes were interesting and challenging but tightly linked to what we were experiencing there which made them relevant and important to my growth as a student. My fellow American and Cameroonian students became some of my closest friends and I'm still in touch with many of them. Unfortunately, my semester there was cut short due to Covid-19 and we had to leave abruptly. Leaving was so painful, it felt like I was leaving my family. I really hope that I can return one day soon to see my host siblings and parents, SIT staff who were like older siblings and parents to us, and get to spend more time there. I miss them all so dearly.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
During orientation we were dropped off without supervisors and had to find our way around the city to different landmarks before getting home. My partner and I spoke little french and it was our first time in the city. At first we were really nervous but as soon as we stopped thinking of it as scary, we had so much fun. We tried to act like those around us, relaxing and taking in our surroundings. It ended up being one of the most exciting parts of orientation.
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David
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Pretty Good!

Although my experience in the [perhaps too] bustling city of Yaoundé was, tragically, cut short due to COVID-19, I absolutely loved my time on this program. Make no mistake - as other reviews here have mentioned, this program is not for the faint of heart and can be a real challenge. But through it all, I learned about the world economy, the legacy (see: perpetuation) of colonialism, and french in a way I wouldn’t have if not for this program.

I would feel dishonest if I didn’t mention the many, many privileges I was awarded in Cameroon because of my being a white American man. As the only American guy on the program, I was never victim to street harassment in the way my fellow students were nor particularly cautious with strangers’ intentions. I say this not to dissuade you but to give you the most accurate picture you can of the place you may be calling home for a semester.

In any case, I would unequivocally recommend this program. While at times I felt a bit babied (see: 7pm curfew and living in the richest area of Yaoundé), I gained so much from the out of classroom learning and the lecturers. Don’t be afraid to make some friends and experience as much of real Cameroonian life as possible. You won’t regret it - I know I don’t.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do NOT solely surround yourself with the other Americans on the program. While they will likely be incredibly people, branch out and try to make friends with some locals. You're gonna hang with Americans the rest of your life, why do it in Cameroon too?
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Kindra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Development through a different lens

City scavenger hunt, class on the beach, courses that make you re-think your perspective... check. This program is so much more than I ever could have expected. The topics had all of the student discussions rolling over into lunch time, and the French instructors worked with us once on one to ensure we were all reaching our language goals. The instructors and the curriculum truly altered my understanding of development, and made me analyze the impact my cultural values had on my views of development. Additionally, I think the program and location draw in a very unique group of people, which makes the program that much more special. The people I was with really shaped my experience in a positive way. This program is not for the faint of heart, but it is for someone looking to step outside their comfort zone.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Go on all of the excursions, and say yes more than no. The semester will fly by, so try to soak it all in.
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Marianna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Good Challenge

When I got back from abroad everyone asked "How was it? Was Africa so much fun!" After making it clear I could not comment on Africa but could tell them about the places I had visited in Cameroon, I also corrected their notion of study abroad as "fun". Being in Cameroon was challenging, lonely, tiring, boring, far from home....and taught me so much about the legacy of colonialism that I have been benefiting from. Everyday I was witnessing something new and wrestling with it. This all sounds pretty daunting and cynical right? But I don't want to tell you I had this "amazing African adventure" or that now I can't wait to go back and work for some development organization. I left Cameroon with more unanswered questions than when I arrived. But I think this is GREAT! My host families were all unique and different, incredibly generous and welcoming, and humbly opened up their homes to me. I embraced being American for the first time while abroad, through coming to a better understanding of the culture I came from. I also saw a lot of strength and dignity in Cameroonian culture that was very different from where I come from and very different than the media portrayal we see of Sub-Saharan African countries. I would highly recommend this program to everyone. It does not try to make you a tourist but it also acknowledges that with your western-background you cannot fully assimilate into Cameroon, it's a good balance. A good challenge.

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Anna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fair warning: This program might change your life

Studying abroad in Cameroon with SIT was one of the hardest and best things I have ever done. It’s one thing to learn about African political systems, it’s another thing to sit in the living room of one of the most prominent Cameroonian politicians and learn about how his career and country have been impacted by neocolonialism while drinking his tea. It’s one thing to learn about deforestation and displacement of indigenous peoples, it’s another to stand in a quickly disappearing rainforest in the pouring rain and talk with the Bagyeli people, see the suffering loosing their land has caused. It’s one thing to grow up seeing constant images of poverty and disease associated with Africa, and a totally different thing to dance the night away in a local nightclub with Cameroonian college friends who are a lot like you (but with better fashion sense).

It’s one thing to learn by reading facts and stories flat on a page, it’s another thing to learn by living. SIT Cameroon teaches you to learn by doing, and it will probably be one of the hardest and most rewarding risks you'll ever take.

P.S. After two years, I am flying back to Cameroon this week!