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Dickinson in Cameroon
Yaoundé, Cameroon
Program Terms: Spring
Homepage: Click to visit
Budget Sheets Spring
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2015 09/15/2014 10/20/2014 TBA TBA
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English, French
 Class Eligibility:
2-Sophomore, 3-Junior
Minimum GPA: 2.8
 Housing Options:
Apartment, Family Stay
Maximum Credits Earned (per semester): 4.5 Academic Area of Study: Africana Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, English, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, French, History, International Studies, Internships, Political Science, Religion, Sociology
 Foreign Laguage Prerequisite:
none
Program Description:

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. 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 , Negritude et Mondialisation, and Le Roman Africain Francophone colonial et post-colonial .  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.

Academics 

CameroonThe 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.

Elective course offerings vary from year to year based on student interest and faculty availability.  The following courses are among those typically offered:

  • Contemporary Cameroon (Required core course)
  • Issues in Environmental Management
  • Orality, Landscape and Literary Creativity
  • AfricanCulture,Philosophy and Religions
  • International Relations of African States
  • Comparative Politics
  • Modern Africa: Society, Culture and Change
  • Women and Gender Studies
  • Humanitarian Law and Crisis in Africa
  • Negritude et Mondialisation (taught in French)
  • Le Roman Africain Francophone colonial et post-colonial(taught in French)
  • Medical Anthropology

Eligibility

This Dickinson program requires students to have at a minimum:

  • 2.8 GPA
  • Students are strongly encouraged to take at least one course in Africana studies or some other subject matter that will better prepare the student for living and learning in the Cameroon.
  • One semester of French strongly encouraged

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.
All students must have a declared major at the time of application.

As a part of the review process students’ conduct records and account status are also reviewed.  Students and their parents should note that the review process takes all elements of the student’s academic record into consideration and that even if a student has the required minimum GPA and language pre-requisites, he or she may not be admitted.

Interviews may be conducted at the discretion of the faculty coordinator and/or CGSE in order to review a candidate’s eligibility for this program.

Students who have questions about the review process or their particular candidacy for a program should come into the Center for Global Study and Engagement for advising.

Center staff will not discuss students’ applications with parents, friends or any other party without the student’s consent and presence in the conversation.One semester of French strongly encouraged

How is instruction different?

Course work is by independent study/tutorials and lectures, much like at Dickinson. Each student will establish a list of courses in consultation with the Program Director, Mr. Teku, who will then arrange tutorials with individual faculty members. Attempts will be made to arrange tutorials that fit students’ academic needs, but students will have to be flexible. Due to the difference in schedules, classes will not be held with Cameroonian students at the University of Yaoundé, but students can arrange to visit classes at the university; a recommended experience!

What classes are available?

Students can generally choose from among the following courses.



Please note that course offerings are subject to change.
•Colonization and Decolonization in Africa
•African International Relations
•Humanitarian Law and Crisis in Africa
•Issues in Environmental Management
•African Oral Traditions in Literature
•African Thought and Philosophy
•Medical Anthropology •African Theatre and Drama
•Le Roman africain francophone colonial et post-colonial.: Le cas du Cameroun
•La Femme dans la société patriarcale de l’Afrique Australe á travers la littérature

 

When will I register for classes?

Each student will establish a list of courses in consultation with the Program Director who will then arrange tutorials with individual faculty members upon arrival.c

Will the courses count towards my major?

Consult your major advisor for more information.

Will they count in my GPA?

All courses taken are recorded on the transcript with course titles and letter grades earned. Course grades equivalent to a Dickinson “C” or better will receive credit, but will not count toward the GPA. No credit is earned for a grade of C- or below.

How will my courses transfer?

Participants enroll in one required core course and three other courses selected by the student. Students may earn a maximum of 4 Dickinson transfer credits for work successfully completed in Cameroon.

Is there a language requirement?

A working knowledge of French, while not required, is highly recommended. Participants without previous study of French should make an effort to acquire a functional grasp of at least basic phrases and expressions before leaving the U.S. Students should work with language tapes, at the very least. Outside the University campus, where French is spoken, very few people in Yaoundé speak English. To shop in the market, take a taxi, or ask directions, you will need to speak some basic French.

Students proficient in French may take courses in French at the Dickinson Center. All students will study French while in Yaoundé.

Cameroon

Does this program include any group travel once I’m in country?

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.

What expenses are covered during excursions?

Students’ lodging costs will be covered during overnight excursions. Also, any meals that would not be otherwise covered by a standard meal stipend for all students on the program will be covered. Group transportation to and from the excursion site, as well as group travel for all group activities will be covered. Students will not be reimbursed for snacks, personal travel and personal activities during an academic excursion.

When will I find out where and when we're travelling?

Specific dates and locations will be announced at the beginning of each semester. Site visits in and around Yaounde will be organized and announced by the program director throughout the semester.

Can a friend or family member who is not on the program also travel with us?

No, unfortunately, for logistical and academic reasons non program participants are not able to join the program for excursions.

Are excursions optional?

Not necessarily. These excursions are linked to your academic program and, in some cases, content delivered through the excursion will be relevant to a student’s studies and assessment. All students should plan to participate in all excursions. If a student misses an excursion or a planned departure for a trip, these arrangements and costs will not be made up for the student. It is each student’s responsibility to be where they need to be in order to participate fully in each academic excursion.

 

When is orientation? 

In addition to the full day mandatory pre-departure orientation you’ll have on campus, there will be an on-site orientation for this program.  In Yaoundé students’ on-site orientation occurs during the first week of the program and is specifically designed for the Dickinson group.

During the orientation you will meet and work with the on-site director, Mr. Teku Teku, as well as contributing faculty and local experts.  Orientation events include an overview of the program, health, safety and transportation advice for living in Yaoundé, course overviews and tips for integrating well with your homestay family.

What are the program dates?

A group flight, or specific recommended flight is arranged for this program.  All students are asked to arrive on the designated flight.  If flight schedules prevent a student from arriving on the designated flight, he or she must speak with the program director to receive approval for an alternative arrival.  You must communicate your arrival plans with the on-site director Mr. Teku and the CGSE via the online application system.  Official dates for the program can be found here.

What if my family wants to visit me?

If you have family or friends who are planning to visit you, please do not make travel plans until you arrive at the program and become familiar with your class schedule and program excursions.  It is not acceptable to skip class for personal travel. 

When will I have time to travel?

You will travel in Yaoundé and around Cameroon as you work your way through the semester.  There will also be an extended group academic excursion to the far north during the semester.  Students are not permitted to travel to neighboring countries while the program is in session.

Can I arrive early or stay after the program ends?

Students may not arrive early or stay late without the written approval of the on-site director.  Please note that if you choose to arrive early or stay late, you may not be able to stay with your homestay family or in the Dickinson Centre and, if you do stay at these Dickinson-arranged accommodations, you will be asked to pay additional fees in order to cover the expense.  You should also consider your visa validity when you make the decision of whether or not you may arrive early or stay late.  No student may arrive late for the start of the program.

How much does the program cost?

Click here for the program budget sheet.  It can be found at the top of the page to the left of the Apply Now button.

What is included in the program fee?

The fee includes tuition, room, board, academic excursions and emergency insurance.  Airfare and visa fees are not included.  The budget sheet also lists additional fees students should anticipate.

Is my flight included?

The flight is not included but the cost is taken into consideration when your financial aid need is calculated for your semester abroad.

How much extra money do I need to bring?

This depends on you.  We encourage students to not travel every weekend, but to really engage their host city in meaningful ways during their semester abroad.  An estimate of personal expenses is included on the budget sheet, but it really depends on you and your spending habits.

Will I receive a stipend?

You will receive a monthly allowance of either CFA 225,000 (for host family students) or CFA 275,000 (for Centre students), from which you will pay for groceries, bottled water, taxi fares, household expenses, and local excursions.  This allowance will be paid on or about the first of the month.  Stipends will be pro-rated to take into account group meals and any excursions around Cameroon.
Cameroon

How will I access my money in Cameroon?

Banks in Cameroon have ceased to exchange travelers checks in any currency, therefore you will have to bring cash for your non-stipend needs.  It is suggested that you bring no more than $500.00, which should be more than adequate.  Keep in mind that your monthly allowance from the Program Director will exceed the annual income of the vast majority of Cameroonians.  Some students report that they did not have to spend any of their own money.  You may leave your US money with the Program Director, where they will be safe.   Credit cards are accepted by airlines, large hotels, and a limited number of boutiques and restaurants in Yaoundé and Douala, but are generally useless elsewhere.  NOTE: Credit cards cannot be used at banks for cash advances.  Yaoundé and other major cities have Western Union offices.  Transferring money through Western Union, although quick and highly reliable, is expensive (the surcharge is about 20%). MoneyGram is also a reliable option for transferring money.

Can I work part time?

You will not be allowed to work while you are in Cameroon.  However, the director will attempt to set up internships with local school, U.S. government institutions, etc.

Are there scholarships available for this program?

Dickinson scholarships and aid applies to all Dickinson and Dickinson partner programs; Dickinson does not offer additional scholarships for study abroad.   Click here for additional information on scholarships designed to support study abroad. 

How do I access health care in Yaoundé?

YaoundePlease be sure to check that your U.S. health insurance policy covers you while you are abroad.  You will need to be prepared to pay up front in doctors’ offices, pharmacies, and hospitals, and to get receipts to present to your U.S. insurer for reimbursement.  

If you have diabetes, are allergic to penicillin, or have any condition that might require emergency care, carry some personal identification – a tag or bracelet – on you at all times.  CAUTION:  Do not buy any medications in Cameroon without checking with the program doctor, especially medications on the street.

How much does it cost to go to the doctor?

Trips to the doctor and local health clinic are very affordable; they are also not uncommon for students in Yaoundé. The program budgets a small amount of money for each participant to have basic health screening done. We do this because many students do have upset stomachs and/or digestive tracts from time to time and it is also necessary for many participants to be tested for malaria if they are feeling ill for a number of days. In the case of basic lab tests, Mr. Teku will pay the lab fee up to a point. However, more prolonged illnesses or injuries will need to be covered by the student and his or her health insurance program. As with other countries, it will be necessary for students to pay up front for these services, retain a receipt and then seek reimbursement through their health care provider.

What if I become ill while I’m in Yaoundé?

The program director, Teku Teku will assist you with making arrangements to be seen at the Hospital General Yaoundé.  Excellent dental care is also available from Clinique Dentaire Adventist.

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.

Students in Yaoundé usually live with francophone or Anglophone homestay families.  Upon arrival students spend the first week in Cameroon living in shared accommodations at the Dickinson Centre.  This allows the Resident Director time  to get to know each student’s personality and attempt to make the best match possible with a homestay family.  Once families are assigned students will move out of the Dickinson Centre.  A few students opt to live at the Dickinson Centre throughout the semester.  This option may work better for students with strict dietary requirements or  health conditions which require a certain amount of privacy for routine self-care.  Both living options come with a fair amount of responsibility.  Students who live at the Centre must cook for themselves and must share their common areas with all students on the program when they come by for classes or to use the Centre’s internet.  The Resident Director also has an office at the Centre.

For more information about health and insurance abroad, please click here.

When do I find out information about my homestay family?

Full details about your homestay family will be available only after you arrive in Yaoundé.  The Resident Director is happy to take homestay family requests from students, but does not assign families until after the start of the program.

How far from classes will my homestay family be?

It depends!  Some students take all of their classes at the Dickinson Centre while others split their time between the Centre and the UCAC.  Although some families live within walking distance of the Centre, most students will elect to take a taxi to/from classes.  The student stipend has been calculated with this expense in mind.

Will I eat every meal with my homestay family?

Most students eat breakfast and dinner with their families.  Weekday lunches are typically eaten outside the home with fellow students.  Any student who elects to live in the Dickinson Centre will have to shop for food and prepare it themselves.  An informal cooking class or two is usually organized by the Resident Director.  This can come in very handy when trying to figure out what to do with certain produce available at Cameroonian markets!

How will I do my laundry?

Some homestay families may offer to do laundry for you, but many students (both with families and at the Centre) will need to do their own.  In the absence of powered washing machines, much of the laundry in Cameroon is done by hand.  Most, if not all, households as well as the Centre have several large washing tubs and laundry soap for washing clothes by hand.  Your Cameroonian friends and host family will show you how it’s done.  This is an opportune time to remind all participants that durable clothes, those that you may wear out while you’re in Cameroon and won’t be bringing home with you, are best suited to this demanding environment.

Can I have friends over?

Visitors/friends whom you trust are welcome at the Dickinson Center, but it is your responsibility to make sure that they are not left alone and that you are not putting anyone or anything at risk. Visitors are not allowed to spend the night at the Dickinson Center.

 

Should I bring a gift to my homestay family?

It is always a nice gesture to bring your new host family a token from your hometown or region and as an initial ‘thank you’ for having you in their home.

What if I don’t like my homestay family?

Your Resident Director is on-site to help you with any housing concerns the need arise.  It’s important to note that we ask all students to give their relationship with their homestay family a fair shot.  Many of our host families have been working with Dickinson for decades.  As a general rule, we try to resolve homestay family issues through mediation rather than re-homing a student.

Will my homestay family have internet access?

It is unlikely.  Most students use internet cafes and the internet service at the Centre to communicate with friends and family back home.  Cameroon is still frequently plagued by spontaneous power outages, so it’s important to save your electronic work and messages frequently.  Please prepare yourself, as well as your family and friends, for less frequent contact and communication while you’re in Yaoundé.

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.
Cameroon

What is a visa?

A visa is a document, normally affixed within your passport, which allows you to enter the country and stay for the duration of your program.  The requirements for the visa and visa process are controlled by the government of the country you are entering, are non-negotiable, and can change regularly.  If you arrive without the proper visa, you will be sent home by immigration officers at your own expense.

Do I need a visa?

A student visa is required to participate in the Yaoundé program.  If you do not hold a U.S. passport, you should consult with the Cameroonian embassy in your country of citizenship for the student visa requirements. Obtaining a student visa is the student’s responsibility. We will review the guidelines for obtaining a student visa at the Pre-departure Orientation.

We have produced visa guidelines to provide you with an overview of what you will need to do to obtain a student visa.  Please note: this is only a tool to help you get started!  It is not a substitute for consulting with the Cameroonian consulate that has jurisdiction over your state of home residence.  Make sure you are familiar with the most up-to-date regulations by visiting their website frequently.

Also, you need to ensure that your passport is valid for 6 months after the program end date.

How do I get a visa?

First, you will need to get required immunizations from your physician, along with the yellow WHO card; this is a requirement for a visa by the Cameroonian immigration authorities.  Then you will submit your visa application materials and other required documentation gathered to the visa courier service, Washington Passport and Visa. Please consult the Visa Guidelines for your country of study.

Do I have to go to the consulate/embassy?

No, you will not need to make a visa appointment, as you will use a visa courier service to facilitate the visa application process. It is not recommended that you attempt to apply for your visa directly from the embassy as it can take a lot of time and it is difficult to get into contact with the office in case a problem should arise.

How much does a visa cost?

Currently the visa fee is set at $375; however this amount is subject to change.  Be sure to check the consulate’s website for any fee change before you submit your visa paperwork.

How long does it take to receive my visa?

Through the Washington Visa and Passport currier service, it will take roughly 10 business days to obtain a visa.

If I’m not a U.S. passport holder, are there any additional requirements?

Yes, you will need to do your own research on visa requirements for citizens of your home country to study in Korea. The CGSE may be able to help you with the required documents. Also, you will need to inform Marlee Meikrantz and Jackie Wong that you will be studying outside of the United States and discuss how you will remain in valid F-1 status during your studies abroad.

Will the Center help me with the visa?

Yes, we provide you with visa guidelines, as well as various required documents needed for the visa process.

Michele St. Julien
stjuliem@dickinson.edu

My name is Michele St. Julien and I studied in Cameroon during the spring semester of my junior year at Dickinson; to date, it has been one of the most life-changing experiences that I have ever had. While abroad, I learned many new aspects of who I am and who I yearned to be, while also facing challenges that shaped me as a person, a woman, and a student. Adjusting to such a new and different environment could not have been possible without an open mind, a passion to learn, and the commitment to endure with a group of peers who would later become cherished friends. Since I was young, my parents have instilled in me the value of education as well as the obligation to improve myself and my community as I journey through life. Through my studies at Dickinson, in Cameroon and a semester at the Washington Center Program, I have cultivated my passion for knowledge and my awareness and appreciation of the world that we all share.

http://takeinturnaround.wordpress.com/

http://blogs.dickinson.edu/cameroonianroots/

Contacts

Advisors (Please call for an appointment)

Center for Global Study and Engagement
Dickinson College
717-245-1341
global@dickinson.edu

Joyce Bylander, On-Campus Coordinator
Special Assistant to the President and Diversity Initiatives
Dickinson College
West College (Old West)
P.O. Box 1773
Carlisle, PA 17013-2896
Phone: (717) 245-1411
E-mail: bylander@dickinson.edu

On-Site Administration

TekuThe 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.