Prepared to be captivated by the vivid pirogues of the fishermen, the teranga (hospitality) of the people, and Baobabs over 70 ft tall! Senegal offers picturesque beaches and eternal African sunsets, matching the innocent smiles of Senegalese children. Though formerly a colony of France, many cities still retain the colonial architecture alongside several rural areas where the locals live traditionally. Internships in Senegal give individuals a rare opportunity to see how a young population (with 60% of the population below the age of 25), faces the challenges of being a citizen in a developing nation.
Senegal is known as the “Gate to Africa” since it’s a country with no extreme weather conditions, friendly locals, and attractive cultural features. French and Wolof are spoken, and with some basic knowledge of the African footballers playing in the premier league… you could easily end up making friends for life!
Dakar. With over 2 million inhabitants, Dakar is the capital and largest city of Senegal. Colonial architecture fuses with new buildings and construction to showcase a compact urban area with sandy streets and a plethora of markets to enjoy. It is a city that represents Africa’s development almost better than any other as it is filled with contrasting experiences. As a port city, main industries include the fishing harbour and the peanut export. Other industries include petroleum refining, flour milling, and fish canning. Apart from these, there are several International organisations that have opportunities in Senegal. Internship search away for positions in education, international relations, and law.
Saint Louis. Saint Louis, the previous capital of French West Africa, is one of the most popular cities for tourism and environmental and wildlife conservation as it features a number of wildlife parks. There are various international aid organisations that have work in this area, primarily to increase access to education and medical care. Sugar production, fishing and agriculture are the other industries in Saint Louis. This crumbling old colonial capital offers a variety of fish restaurants perfect for dinner (at a fraction of the cost). For those interested in interning in the fields of conservation and medicine, this is an ideal city.
There are a number of organisations, notably the international aid organisations, which have several opportunities for internships. These internships are open all around the year and can range from a minimum of three weeks to an entire year or longer. There are some organisations that require prior experience or education in the field while others are open to people without any experience in the field of study.
Medicine. Changing the world can start with just one internship. Medical internships in Senegal will benefit much of the local population as the country has some of the poorest medical institutions in the developing world. As an intern in Senegal, you will have the opportunity to gain extensive healthcare and medical experience ranging from nursing, medicine, to even midwifery! Plus, that white coat definitely matches your skin tone. And who knows, maybe someday those skills you learned during an intense game of Operation will actually come in handy!
Human rights. Since their independence in 1960, the people of Senegal have enjoyed a more free and humane life. However, there are still many people that need help. Interning abroad in Senegal would give you the opportunity to improve the situation for the repressed and vulnerable. An international human rights internship will allow you to apply your knowledge of law and human rights into a specific area of interest, with the overall goal of helping Senegalese people understand their own rights and protection! International relations will help set your foot in the door to law and humanitarian work! Gandhi would definitely be proud. Kudos to you!
Most organisations in Senegal will not pay salary to an intern, however, it depends on the industry. An international aid organisation is less likely to pay a salary while a mining company might. In recent years there has been an increase in the cost of living in Senegal, especially in the cities like Dakar. The average amount one should expect to spend in a month for living expenses would be around $1000. Foodwise, a combo meal at McDonalds can cost around $10, while local food ranges from $2-$9. Traveling by local transport will also significantly reduce living expenses and allow you to reduce your carbon footprint (#GoGreen)! Be sure to check out FundMyTravel and our killer scholarship directory for ideas on promoting your Senegal internship. After all, free money is the best money!
Senegal has a variety of housing options available ranging from luxurious modern living to comfortable spaces. Houses in the cities, especially Dakar are likely to be more expensive and well-equipped with modern amenities while those in the rural areas will probably be much more basic. Some organisations arrange for their interns to stay with host families from the region, giving participants the opportunity to hone their people-skills, while gaining an intimate perspective of the local culture. Shorter-length programs will frequently organize group accommodation during your time in Senegal. For longer programs, a one-bedroom apartment in the city can average around $300 per month.
Depending on your home country and the length of your stay, you may need to organize a temporary visa at a Senegal Consulate. Foreign nationals can apply for a short-stay visa valid for up to 90 days or a long-stay visa for durations exceeding this three month limit. A tourist visa is easily available at the International Airport in Senegal and is not very expensive. For more info, visit GoAbroad’s embassy directory.
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While interning abroad, remember to enjoy yourself! Go on an epic pirogue adventure through lagoons or dance across the pulsating live music clubs in Dakar! Your intern experience in Senegal will be a mix of adventure with multiple learning moments! However, it’s important to remember that Senegal is a young country with a large percentage of unemployment and rising prices. Additionally there are threats to their economy as climate change affects crop production and wildlife. Interning in a country that is trying to rebuild its economy while facing challenges regarding education, rising costs, and unemployment will give an intern a unique exposure that would be difficult to get anywhere else. When you choose to intern in Senegal, you are choosing to have a positive impact on a developing economy and local communities, which are slowly but surely opening up to the outside world with open arms.