Senegal Study Abroad Scholarships
Study Global Development, Democratization
Senegal is a West African nation with a coastline on the Atlantic, a tropical belt in the south, and a transitional Sahelian region just below the Sahara Desert, which lies to its north. French is still the official language of Senegal, but six other African languages are also spoken. Senegal’s capital, Dakar, is home to a number of good universities and research organizations that attract students from all over the world.
Senegal is a stable republic holding democratic elections, which contributes to its economic growth, and its primary industries are fishing, agriculture and tourism.
The West African Research Association (WARA), partly funded by the State Department’s Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau, has headquarters at both the University of Boston and in Dakar, at the West African Research Center (WARC). WARA was established to promote collaborative study between researchers in the U. S. and West Africa.
One example of its work is the Peace Initiative in West Africa, an ongoing series of conferences aimed at resolving regional conflicts. As you can see, you will find fluency in the French language essential to studying in Senegal. WARA provides two types of study-abroad fellowships to graduate students:
- WARA Pre-Doctoral Fellowships will fund a summer of research in Senegal for candidates to write a proposal for their Ph.D. studies or to work on research for another graduate-level degree program. In addition to speaking French, you will find it very helpful to know an African language used in the region where you wish to study.The fellowship includes travel expenses and a stipend not to exceed $3,500. You must apply online through the WARA website.
- WARA Post-Doctoral Fellowships are also intended for a summer of study, during which you may complete or expand earlier work, start new research, or investigate a particular point for the purpose of improving one’s teaching. The financial arrangements are the same as for the pre-doctoral fellowships.
The Fulbright Program, also funded by the State Department, sponsors highly regarded and competitive scholarships for study in foreign countries. Fulbright hosts a full range of opportunities (U.S. Student, Scholar, and Specialist Programs) for Americans who wish to study in Senegal.
Applicants must be fluent in French and should also know one of the African languages of Senegal. The grant period is nine months.
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program was designed to give students with limited finances the funding necessary to experience overseas study. This goal of diversifying the group of students America sends abroad also includes students in community colleges, those studying sciences and engineering, disabled students, and students from less traditional ethnic backgrounds.
Scholarships for study abroad range up to $5,000, and if you are studying a language classified as Critical Need, you may also receive a $3,000 supplement.
The David L. Boren Scholarships (up to $20,000 for undergraduates) and Fellowships (up to $30,000 for graduate students) are sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP). They provide generous training incentives to encourage the next generation of national security personnel.
The NSEP Service Requirement mandates a term of government employment in exchange for the educational funding. Senegal is one of the countries Boren classifies as emphasized, meaning your application for money to study there will get preference in selection.
Study Abroad Organizations
The School for International Training (SIT)’s Study Abroad program includes a course of study in Senegal. “Senegal: National Identity and the Arts,” for students interested in art and music, explores the indigenous creative culture of Senegal and its relationship to Senegal’s development as a nation. The leader of the Senegalese independence movement was a poet, and the inhabitants have a great respect for art and artists.
SIT gives out about $750,000 in scholarships for study abroad each year, and posts a list of them here. They vary in value from $500 to $5,000 and when you apply for one you are automatically considered for the others to which you are suited. Some available SIT scholarships that apply to study in Senegal are:
- The SIT Fund, for SIT participants with financial need;
- The Compton Fund, for courses related to environmental and sustainable development work or peace studies;
- HBCU Scholarships, given to those attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs);
- The Sally Bragg Baker Scholarship, awarded to female students who focus on international collaboration and achieving world peace.
For students who prefer to direct their own programs of foreign study, the Thomas J. Watson Fellowships provide a full year of funding (at least $25,000) to graduating seniors for that purpose. You must be nominated from one of the schools on this list to be eligible.
The study experience you design should be new material for you rather than revisiting old ground, and it should be feasible given the allotted time and money, meaning you should avoid grandiose, overly ambitious proposals. Any country that is the subject of a State Department travel warning or a Treasury embargo will not be a place you can visit on a Watson fellowship.
NOTE: If your country of choice is under an official travel warning, that may affect any applications you submit. Please check application requirements carefully.