One of the primary study abroad opportunities is the African Civilizations in Paris program, which alternates every year with a program on Colonizations. In addition, the College of the University of Chicago works with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM), to sponsor programs in Tanzania and Botswana.
University of Chicago Study Abroad Programs
African Civilizations in Dakar:
The College’s Winter Dakar program is built upon a three-course African Civilizations sequence, taught in English. Program participants also take a French or Wolof language course, which runs at a normal pace through the quarter and is designed to help students live in and move around the city. Dakar is an impressive metropolis, a booming and modern multicultural city. Senegal’s intellectual life shines; the country has produced global thinkers and politicians, as well as scholars of literature, the humanities, and the social sciences. The country is also home to an array of museums, monuments, and marketplaces, as well as a wealth of culinary, musical, athletic and artisanal traditions. Possible extra-curricular activities for students include attending a live music venue, visiting galleries and street fairs that feature original art, watching a wrestling match, learning to cook ceb bu jën, Senegal’s national dish, or taking part in a pick-up game of soccer.
The Dakar program is operated in partnership with the West African Research Center, a non-profit educational organization located in the Fann neighborhood of Dakar. Students will have access to the resources and activities at WARC, including the library and café. Please note: Offered in alternating years. Following the Winter 2020 program, the next program will be Winter 2022.
African Civilizations in Paris: Colonialism, Migration, Diaspora
The College’s Autumn African Civilizations in Paris program is built upon a full three-course African Civilizations sequence, taught in English. The goal of this program is to provide a study of pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial issues in African history while directly experiencing the cultural, social and historical world of the colonizers. Given the current waves of contemporary African immigration to France, this program will further allow students to make a study of Paris as the adoptive home of the formerly colonized. Program participants also take a French language course, which runs at a normal pace through the quarter and is designed to help students connect with French (and Parisian) culture. In addition to classroom instruction, the program features a number of excursions to sites of considerable historic and cultural interest both within and in the vicinity of Paris. The French capital and its environs offer numerous opportunities to engage with otherwise abstract ideas about the history and cultures of Africa and make them alive in the present. It is assumed that students will use their free time to explore this remarkable city apart from program-organized outings.
In addition, students will also have the opportunity to spend a week in Dakar, Senegal, where they will live with Senegalese host families to facilitate a first-hand understanding of the cultural, political and historical processes that connect France and Africa from the African perspective. Given that it’s one of the first countries in Africa to be colonized by France, and the birth place of Senghor, the first president of Senegal and leader of the Negritude movement, Senegal offers a unique perspective on the complex relationship between France and her former African colonies.
Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) Study Abroad Programs
Botswana: Culture and Society in Africa
Offers students an opportunity to study and observe a relatively new African nation standing on the shoulders of a much older culture. Various academic exercises, such as classroom work, language study (Setswana), field trips and independent study are combined with on-the-ground observations and interactions to create an intense and valuable learning environment. The program is headquartered at the University of Botswana, a modern and well-equipped institution. Students have the opportunity of living with a local family or in a graduate residence hall at the University. More information available here.
Tanzania: Studies in Human Evolution and Ecology
Participants take three courses–Human Evolution, Ecology of the Serengeti and Swahili—at the University of Dar es Salaam and develop, as a fourth course, a field project with a faculty advisor. While the headquarters for this program is the University of Dar es Salaam, students will devote a significant amount of time to field research conducted in Tanzania’s national parks and research sites (depending upon a student’s project these may include the Olduvai Gorge, Laetoli, the Serengeti Plain and the Ngorongoro Crater). Program housing ranges from university residence halls in the initial portion of the program, tents in the field portion and private homes or university guest houses in the final four weeks. While there is no absolute language or course requirement for this program, students are encouraged to take preparatory courses in Swahili as well as paleoanthropology, ecology, geology and so forth. More information available here.