A Mini Africa: Study Abroad In Cameroon!

by Tiara Dhenin

So you want to hop off the beaten track of well-traveled countries when you study abroad? Cameroon might not be the first place that comes to mind for international education, but it can absolutely promise a unique and rewarding experience for students and volunteers alike. Cameroon is known as “Africa in miniature” since it’s so full of different cultures and languages; with diverse climates and a rich geography, it’s as though the entire continent is condensed into this one country.

Freshly picked cocoa from Cameroon

Freshly picked cocoa, a staple of Cameroon's economy - Photo by Tiara Dhenin

Cameroon’s landscapes reach from the fringes of the Sahara in the north, to the borders of Gabon and Congo in the south. In between are volcanic ranges, dry grassy plains, tree-scattered savannahs, and the highest mountain in Western Africa, Mount Cameroon. Whether you plan to learn French while studying abroad in Cameroon, delve into the outdoors as you engage in service learning projects focused on community development, or join a traditional study abroad program, Cameroon has something to offer to all types of travelers and students.

Parlez-Vous Francais? French is widely spoken here, and living in Cameroon is an excellent opportunity to learn French. Whatever your skill level, from beginner to advanced, you’ll accelerate your knowledge in a French immersion program in Cameroon. 

With more than 250 ethnic languages spoken there, Cameroon is a linguist’s paradise. French and English are the national languages, a legacy of Cameroon’s French, British and German colonial past. The linguistic distinctions add to Cameroon’s diversity, bringing the local population and visitors together to form a colorful mosaic of languages, cultures and history.

International Melting Pot. The culture, geographic diversity, and colonial history are a backdrop for students to observe important political, economic, and social issues from the local perspective. This is critical experience for anyone who eventually wants to work abroad. It takes students out of the typical classroom setting and immerses them into different perspectives of international relations.

Bold And Spicy. Cameroon has a rich and varied cuisine. Dishes are often quite hot, spiced with salt, red pepper, and maggi (soup stock). Fruit and vegetables in Cameroon are excellent, and are generally available year-round. Meat and fish are popular but expensive additions to meals. Roasted fruit, skewered beef or chicken (known as soya), and skewered snails (known as nyama) are typical Cameroon dishes.

Haggle For Your Francs. Cameroon uses the Central African Franc (CAF or FCAC). Bartering is very common in Cameroon, especially for larger items and in tourist zones. It is helpful to have a local with you to help determine a reasonable price when you first arrive in Cameroon to study abroad.

Go Outside! Cameroon is renowned for outdoor adventure. Students who study abroad in Cameroon regularly trek Mount Cameroon, an active volcano and the second highest peak in sub-Saharan Africa. Guides and porters are based out of Buea and a round-trip hike can be done in three to five days. Cameroon also has a number of cities to explore. Whether in the busy and bustling cities of Douala, Yaoundé or Garoua, or the charming and relaxed streets of Limbé, Cameroon has something to offer every visitor.