The Dickinson in Cameroon program enables students to develop an understanding of Africa as a whole and of Cameroonian culture and society in particular. This is achieved through a number of selected courses in the humanities and social sciences, as well as through internship and fieldwork opportunities that give students a chance to become active participants in Cameroonian society. Most students live with Cameroonian host families, giving them unparalleled insight into family life in the capital city of Yaoundé.
Cameroon is a diverse nation in terms of population and geography. Its 12 million people represent between 130 and 200 ethnic groups speaking some 280 languages, and its landscape ranges from sub-Saharan in the north to thick rainforest in the south and southeast -parts of which receive more than 200 inches of rain each year. Yaoundé is located in a hilly part of the country and therefore enjoys a cooler climate than might be expected for a city only five degrees north of the equator.
The University of Yaoundé I, Université Catholique d'Afrique Centrale, and the Dickinson Center
The University of Yaoundé I is the oldest university in Cameroon and specializes in the arts and humanities. Most faculty members who contribute to the program at the Dickinson Center are also contributing faculty at Yaoundé I. Due to difficulties obtaining space in courses already offered at Yaoundé I, the Dickinson program hires faculty members to teach at the Dickinson center and invites qualified Cameroonian students to join these courses. Courses may meet at the Dickinson center or in rented classrooms not far from Dickinson's property. Program participants also have the opportunity to join clubs or sports teams on campus and to meet Yaoundé I students through their extracurricular involvement at the university.
In an effort to provide a direct enrollment opportunity for students with advanced French language skills on the program, Dickinson established a partnership with the Université Catholique d'Afrique Centrale (UCAC). Students who place into the most advanced level through the programs French language placement exam, have the opportunity to directly enroll in two courses taught at UCAC. UCAC courses that have been of particular interest to students include: Géographie humaine et économique de l'Afrique centrale, Anthropologie du genre, Démographie, Cultures des peoples d'Afrique centrale, Ethique familial, Problèmes culturels Africains, L'histoire des idées politiques , and Philosophie negro-Africain de la diaspora. Students who direct enroll at UCAC also take the Contemporary Cameroon course offered at the Dickinson Centre and usually opt to enroll in another francophone course also taught at the Center by a Yaoundé I faculty member.
The objective of the Dickinson in Cameroon program is to enable students to develop an understanding of Africa as a whole and of Cameroonian culture and society in particular. This is achieved through a number of selected courses in the humanities and social sciences, as well as through internship and fieldwork opportunities that give students a chance to become active participants in Cameroonian society. Each student is required to take four credit-bearing courses during a 20-week period, including a required core course; a non-credit bearing tutorial in French also is offered. Students who successfully complete the semester program may earn up to four Dickinson credits.
The Yaoundé practicum course, Contemporary Cameroon, is taught in English and is required of all students. It serves as an integrative experience for program participants and begins upon arrival in Yaoundé. After orientation, students continue with the Cameroonian studies course throughout the semester and submit a final project on a specialized independent study topic or internship-related experience. The core course carries one credit.
Students' French language skills are assessed upon arrival and students are divided into groups based on their language capabilities. Experiential-based courses focusing on the acquisition and use of functional French meet for an intensive period at the beginning of the semester and regularly throughout the remainder of the program. Students placed in more advanced levels of French ability work on honing their reading, oral and analytical skills in the language in preparation for French-based instruction throughout the semester.
Although elective course offerings vary from year to year, the following courses are among those typically offered: Colonization and Decolonization in Africa; African International Relations; Women, Politics and Public Policy; Issues on Environmental Management; African Oral Traditions in Literature; La Sociologie de la femme dans la société africaine; and Negritude et Mondialisation.
Students have the opportunity to engage in internships in Yaoundé or its environs. Internships are available in the areas of government, women's empowerment, entrepreneurial development, environmental management, protection of the mother and child, caring for the aged and homeless, peace and conflict prevention, and primary and secondary education.
Students are introduced to Cameroon as a whole through a series of excursions related to academics in the core course. These excursions normally include visits to the coastal city of Limbe, the Anglophone towns of Buea and Bamenda and the Islamic center of Foumban. Students also participate in program excursions to Kribi, a coastal town still heavily reliant on the fishing industry and trying to develop its tourism sector, as well as the predominantly Muslim far north, including Ngaoundéré, Maroua, Rhumsiki and the Waza game preserve.
The program is supervised by Teku Tanyi Teku. He has been involved with the Dickinson program for a number of years, acting first as an advisor to students and coordinator of academic excursions. As the resident director, his responsibilities range from home-stay coordination to general management. He is available to ensure that students are enrolled in the proper courses, excursions are planned in coordination with the academic program and students' basic needs are met. Together with an Academic Coordinator, he also oversees contributing faculty, academic integration with the Carlisle campus and the internship component of the program.
Furnished rooms at the Dickinson center are provided for students who wish to live independently. The option to live with an Anglophone or Francophone home-stay family also is available for some students. Families are carefully selected from neighborhoods near the center and offer students an unparalleled opportunity to get to know Cameroon on a personal level. Although Dickinson will make every effort to accommodate students' first housing preference, housing choices are not guaranteed.
Dates Program Fee* Application Deadline
Spring late Jan. to mid June $25,800 Sept. 15
* This is the program fee for spring 2010; the program fee for spring 2011 will correspond to on-campus tuition and fees and will be determined during spring 2010.
Program Fee Includes
• tuition and fees
• room and board
• pre-departure and on-site orientations
• academic excursions
The program fee does not include primary health insurance, airfare, passport, visa, immunizations, optional travel, personal expenses, meals and housing during vacations, books or supplies.
This program is intended for students who are ready to handle autonomy and able to adapt to some degree of difficulty. Because Cameroon has two official languages - English and French - the program does not have a language requirement; however, multiple semesters of college French are highly recommended. Students with strong capabilities in French are expected to take their elective courses in French.
Yaounde Student Budget Sheet
Past Dickinson in Cameroon Blog
U.S. Embassy in Cameroon
Global Ambassador 12-13, Emily Haas' video
For more information, contact:
Joyce Bylander, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity Initiatives
P.O. Box 1773
Carlisle, PA 17013-2896
Phone: (717) 245-1392