Why did you choose this particular location to study abroad?
When looking at study abroad programs I was limited by going to a French speaking place for my French major, which didn’t limit me at all since French is spoken throughout the world. So, the real question is why not France? The response is I wanted a challenge that I didn’t think I’d encounter in France or Europe in general.
What was the most meaningful interaction you have had with a local?
I’ve had many interactions with locals some questionable and some pleasant. Besides my own host family, a meaningful interaction I had was with Bocar the groundskeeper at an Airbnb I stayed at for a weekend trip. He was the best he showed our group where the beach was, took us to town so we could do groceries, paid for the taxis back to the house from town, and made us ataaya, a traditional Senegalese tea which is more than just drinking the tea it’s about the socialization that occurs during the preparation of it. Bocar was the man and some might argue it was a part of his job and others will say he went above and beyond his job description but in the end, he was just showing us teranga or hospitality as the Senegalese are known for.
Have you had the opportunity to explore your city? Where have you ventured, and why did you select those places?
I’ve managed to go all over the city including two islands, downtown, and to the monument. I went to Gorée island for its history involved in the slave trade and Ngor island just for a fun beach day. Downtown multiple times for the largest market in Dakar, Sandaga Market and the nightlife. Lastly the African Renaissance monument because it’s a must when in Dakar, it symbolizes a new start to Africa and it’s huge.
How does your major tie into your study abroad plans?
I’m a biology and French double major which means my semester abroad is first and foremost about language immersion, and biology will have to wait. I’ve dedicated most of my college career to science so it’s nice to set that aside for a semester and focus on my second major.
Since your barista experience at Charlie’s coffeehouse, how has your expectations of coffee abroad changed, or have they been met?
My host family makes coffee everyday to have with breakfast and first impression of it was that it was off-putting in a subtle way. It looks like coffee but doesn’t smell like coffee. The smell is something I can’t describe well, but my best attempt is flowery. The way they take their coffee is also different I enjoy coffee with milk and an appropriate amount of sugar, but they take it black with a ton of sugar. Overall, I didn’t enjoy it at first but now as the weeks have gone on and I continue to drink it every morning and it’s becoming a part of my routine and a good part at that.