by Tony Moore
A new abroad program hosted by Dickinson and SIT (School for International Training) provides students with a unique opportunity to explore critical issues in local communities in Cameroon, West Africa and the Global South. This partnership combines the expertise of both institutions and aims to foster fair-trade learning, ethical community engagement and long-term commitment to study-abroad opportunities in Africa.
Dickinson has offered a Cameroon program since 1994, although it was briefly suspended over the last few years. SIT has been a leader in immersive, field-based study-abroad programs for more than 30 years and has hosted almost 900 students in Cameroon. The collaboration reflects the institutions' shared values of sustainability, reciprocity, diversity, equity, inclusion and access.
“Bringing together the expertise of Dickinson and SIT staff in Cameroon expands our network of educators, program partners and local experts,” says Samantha Brandauer '95, associate provost and executive director of Dickinson’s Center for Global Study & Engagement. "This gives students more opportunities in Cameroon, expands our course offerings and further enhances programming that centers the student experience in Cameroon.”
Students will be based in the capital city of Yaoundé, where they will explore the culture, politics and economy of Cameroon while examining development issues. This approach encourages a deeper understanding of critical issues affecting communities and people in Cameroon and the wider African context, centering local knowledge and expertise.
The SIT-Dickinson program in Cameroon is a 16-credit, full-semester program offered in both fall and spring terms. Students take language courses at their level, a thematic seminar called Modernization & Social Change, Development Studies and Research Methods & Ethics. All students also do an independent study project or an internship and seminar course.
The program offers students the choice between an intensive French-language track or an English-language track, making it accessible to students with varying language backgrounds. The French-language track includes intermediate and upper-level French language and literature courses, discussions with Cameroonian peers in French and the option to take an immersive French course at the Catholic University of Central Africa. Students at the beginner level start with an introductory French language course.
Cameroon's diverse geographic zones—including mountains, desert, rainforest, savanna grassland and the ocean coastland—provide students with a microcosm of the continent's major climates, and through excursions, students will gain firsthand experience of the daily life, traditions, customs, and historic and cultural sites of various communities in Cameroon.
Homestays with Cameroonian families offer students an immersive cultural experience during their semester in Yaoundé.
In addition to the study-abroad program, SIT and Dickinson are collaborating on a professional engagement seminar in Cameroon. This seminar, scheduled for June 9-16, 2024, aims to engage faculty and study abroad professionals in discussions on decoloniality, epistemic justice and sustainability.
“As the largest provider of study-abroad programs on the African continent, SIT is thrilled to work more closely with Dickinson College, the 2022 recipient of the Forum on Education Abroad Award for Advancing the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals through Education Abroad, and a respected leader in infusing intercultural and global experiences and learning into all areas of their campus and curriculum,” says Mory Pagel, SIT’s vice president of innovation, strategy and partnerships.
Published June 26, 2023