Experience the vitality and global breadth of contemporary African diaspora communities.
Travel from the US, to Senegal, to Italy, and to China to experience the complexity of African migrant communities living worldwide, focusing particularly on the Murid brotherhood.
Look at present-day factors prompting migration from Africa and the vibrancy and entrepreneurial nature of many African diaspora communities.
See one of Africa’s largest mosques, the Great Mosque of Touba, and other important cultural and religious sites during four weeks in Senegal.
Spend five weeks in Italy, examining the experience of African and Muslim groups living there.
Meet with local entrepreneurs in the Xiaobei neighborhood, known as “Little Africa,” during three weeks in China.
Produce a cumulative project based on your observations in all four countries at the end of the program.
Critical Global Issue of Study
Migration | Identity | Resilience
None, but previous college-level coursework and/or other preparation in economics, anthropology, business studies, entrepreneurship, design, or other related fields is strongly recommended.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- Present-day factors prompting migration from Africa
- The vibrancy and entrepreneurial nature of many African diaspora communities, particularly those living in the US, Italy, and China
- Religion and West African Islam, Islamic banking, remittances, contemporary forms of racism, issues of human rights
- The contemporary African migrant experience and the economic vitality of African diaspora communities, using the Senegalese Murid brotherhood as the primary case study
The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
- Africana Muslims – syllabus
- (AFRS3000 / 4 credits / 60 hours)
- This course will provide students with conceptual and content knowledge on people who self-identify with, or are socially identified as, having African-ancestry and being Muslim. However, the focus will be on developing critical thinking skills and the ability to socially navigate Africana Muslim spaces. After completing the course, students should be able to do the following: a) discover, evaluate, synthesize, and communicate relevant knowledge and perspectives on Africana Muslims with scholarly rigor, and b) gracefully move within and between different kinds of Africana Muslim social interactions.
- Entrepreneurship and Migration – syllabus
- (ENTR3000 / 4 credits / 60 hours)
- Individuals migrate for a variety of reasons and their experience of migrating and in the host culture varies widely, including the ways in which they make a living. The situation of the Murids has similarities and differences when compared to that of other groups, be they African, Muslim, or others. This course will explore the experience of the Murids and other groups in the new African diaspora, in particular in Italy and China. Students will learn about the economic, political, and social contexts in which migrants live, with a particular focus on the economic endeavors that migrants undertake in these new environments.
- Wolof 1003 – syllabus
- (WOLO1003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Wolof 2003 – syllabus
- (WOLO2003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- The course in Wolof will develop students’ ability to speak, comprehend, read, and write in Wolof and to gain greater facility in the language. The course is designed to develop students’ capacity to maintain face-to-face conversations in a number of informal and transactional settings and to ask and answer various types of questions. All four basic language skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—will receive attention. A special emphasis is placed on meaningful interchange and self-expression in realistic contexts. New grammatical structures are presented as opportunities for genuine communication.
- New African Diasporas: Frameworks and Fieldwork – syllabus
- (ANTH3000 / 4 credits / 60 hours)
- This course will train students in the importance of field research methodology and methods relative to the Murids as a New African Diaspora. African diasporas are fraught with connotations of enslavement and forced migration, however, the modern era is highly characterized by the free movement of African people in pursuit of a range of goals. New African Diasporas, like that of the Senegalese Murids, require a re-conceptualized approach to the study of the African experience that focuses on the push-pull factors of migration and the dynamics of diaspora formation. This course takes this rethought approach and applies it to a formal inquiry project around a key question proposed by the student. The first part of the course will provide students with an understanding of qualitative research methodology using a comparative approach. Students will be required to demonstrate the cumulative significance and usefulness of the four courses within the New African Diasporas program, as they construct their own demonstration projects. Significantly, students will be tasked to demonstrate critical discrimination between ethical and unethical research models.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
United States: Atlanta, Georgia
The program begins in Atlanta, Georgia, where you will be based at Morehouse College. In addition to orientation activities, you’ll have introductory sessions for all four courses; these initial readings and lectures will begin framing the overall curriculum. You’ll also engage in collectively led seminars as you dive into the program’s themes. During this time, you’ll go on field visits to Murid and other African communities in the greater Atlanta region.
Senegal: Dakar and Touba
You will then travel to Dakar, Senegal’s vibrant capital, where you will gain a stronger understanding of the Murid community while studying Murid and Senegalese history, society, and culture. From Dakar, you’ll travel to Touba, the holy city of Muridism at the heart of the Murid movement. Touba is the burying place of Muridism’s founder, Cheikh Amadou Bamba, and home to one of Africa’s largest mosques, the Great Mosque of Touba. You’ll also visit the Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire at Cheikh Anta Diop University, the Murid center Hizbut-Tarqiyyah, the International Institute for Studies and Research on Muridism, and other important cultural and religious sites.
You will have at least one homestay in Senegal and enjoy ongoing opportunities to practice your growing Wolof language skills.
Italy: Turin, Bergamo, and Pontevico
In Italy, you’ll focus on the migrant experience of the Murids and other African and Muslim groups living there. The Piedmont Center for African Studies in Turin will serve as the program’s base. Through this center, you will meet with local scholars and community members. You’ll also visit the University of Bergamo and the Murid Association of Pontevico and neighboring towns. While in Turin, you will have a two-week homestay.
The program then travels to the city of Guangzhou where you will study the Murid experience framed within the larger migration experience of other groups living in China. In Guangzhou, you will meet with local entrepreneurs and community members, especially in the Xiaobei neighborhood, known as “Little Africa.”
United States: New York City
The program returns to the US for final presentations. You will deliver a presentation based on your learning throughout the semester to faculty, your peers, and Murid community leaders. You will also experience a final retreat.
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
The faculty/staff team shown on this page is a sample of the individuals who may lead your specific program. Faculty and coordinators are subject to change to accommodate each program’s unique schedule and locations.
Souleye Diallo, Program Director
Souleye, a Senegalese national, graduated from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar with a degree in English and literature. He earned an MA in sustainable development from SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont and holds certificates in program development, program management, peer counseling, crisis management, and training of trainers from the Peace Corps, and a certificate in intercultural communications from the Summer Institute in Intercultural Communications in Portland, Oregon. He has conducted various trainings of trainers in the West Africa region as a cross-cultural trainer and homestay coordinator for the US Peace Corps. Prior to joining SIT, Souleye worked for the Church World Service/INS in the immigration and refugee resettlement program in sub-Saharan Africa. He also served as a consultant for Women’s World Banking in The Gambia and the Christian Children’s Fund in Dakar. During the 2001–2002 academic year, Souleye served as SIT Graduate Institute’s ombudsperson. He joined SIT Study Abroad as the academic director in Senegal in fall 2002 and became program director of the African Diasporas Program in spring 2017.
Anna Gail Caunca, MA, Program Manager
Anna Gail holds a BS in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MA in intercultural service, leadership, and management from SIT Graduate Institute. She also received her licensure in secondary education (social studies), incorporating social justice in the classroom. Anna Gail's work experience has focused on youth and young adult leadership development, community building, residential life and student welfare, international education, and human rights education. Building on her graduate studies in social justice and international education, Anna Gail worked with World Learning’s Youth Leadership and Peacebuilding Programs, facilitating workshops on current issues and youth activism with the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont and traveling with and supporting students through the LondonX and Iraqi Youth Leadership Program for two years. In 2013, she was the Trustees’ Fellow for the inaugural year of the SIT Human Rights program. After four adventurous years living in Wellington, New Zealand, she became an SIT Study Abroad program manager in 2015.
LaKetha Hudson, Launch Coordinator
LaKetha joined the staff of the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership at Morehouse College in 2003 as program coordinator, assisting the associate editor in researching and archiving more than 58,000 documents relating to the work and accomplishments of Howard Thurman. Now, she manages and markets multiple national and international global leadership programs, including the highly successful Coca-Cola Pre-College Leadership Program, the Procter & Gamble Leadership Academy for male high school students, Leadership Lectures, and African President-in-Residence. She has more than 25 years of experience in event planning and program management. She holds a degree from Bauder College.
Papa Bouna Fall, Country Coordinator, Senegal
Bouna holds degrees in British literature and foreign relations from Dakar’s Cheikh Anta Diop University, a master’s degree in applied foreign languages (English and Spanish) and a certificate in business from the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Paris, and a master’s degree in teaching from SIT Graduate Institute. He also completed an internship in England. Bouna has taught ESL at various levels for many years. He began his teaching career in 1984 as a high school teacher, and today he continues to serve as a language instructor at colleges and universities in Dakar. Since 1993, he has worked as a freelance translator for several NGOs and institutions such as the World Bank, USAID, and Amnesty International. He speaks French, English, Spanish, Wolof, and Bambara.
Federico Daneo, MA, Country Coordinator, Italy
Federico graduated from the University of Turin with a degree in political science, human rights, and international relations and from the School of Business Administration Torino with a master’s degree in management. He has more than 12 years of experience managing NGOs and EU projects focused on equal opportunities for and integration of migrants. Since 2013, he has been the director of the Center for African Studies (CSA) in Turin. CSA’s aim is to carry out, in collaboration with other Italian and foreign institutions, activities and initiatives in support of peace and cooperation between the Piedmont region and Africa through research, policy analysis, conferences, and publications.
Yinhua Zhou, PhD, Country Coordinator, China
Yinhua received a bachelor’s in management science from South China University of Technology, where, as a teaching fellow, he taught Introduction to E-Business, Principles of Management, and Management Operations Research. He has an MSc in information systems from the University of Liverpool and an MSc in operational research and a PhD in management from the University of Edinburgh. In 2013–2015, he was a research associate in the Department of Political Economy at King’s College London for the UK Economic and Social Research Council–funded project State Strategies of Governance in Global Biomedical Innovation: The Impact of China and India. He is currently an associate research professor in the Department of Medical Humanities at Sun Yat-sen University’s Zhongshan School of Medicine.
Mansa Bilal Mark King, PhD, Traveling Faculty
Bilal has a PhD and MA in sociology from Johns Hopkins University and a BS in psychology with a minor in mathematics from Howard University. He is associate professor of sociology at the nation’s only Historically Black College for men, Morehouse College. He first visited Senegal and The Gambia in 2005 as a sociology professor at Middle Tennessee State University. He returned to The Gambia as faculty on a Rust College study abroad program. He taught on the first and second Morehouse Pan-African Global Experience study abroad programs to Ghana, where he began researching Muslim, Christian, and traditionalist interfaith families in West Africa. In 2012, he helped create the first open-access digital archive of primary sources on African American Muslims for the After Malcolm Digital Archive. Bilal worked at The American Institutes for Research in Washington, DC, on a technical assistance project funded by the U.S. Department of Education. He is a certified speaker for the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta and the Interfaith Speakers Bureau of Atlanta. He was a content manager for the Islamic Networks Group and co-chaired a task force on Muslim-Jewish dialog in Atlanta. He has also worked as a community organizer, an education research interviewer, a violence-prevention best-practices analyst, an evaluation consultant, a teaching assistant, and a research assistant.
Crystal Powell, PhD, Trustees’ Fellow
Originally from Brooklyn, Crystal recently completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Library and Information Studies Center of the University of Cape Town, where she earned her MA and PhD in social anthropology. She also holds a BA in cultural anthropology from Lehman College in the Bronx. Her research has focused on the role of mobile phones in making flexible identities, ideas of belonging, and ever-changing concepts of marginality among different categories of migrants living in Langa Township in Cape Town, South Africa.
The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.
You will live with a host family for between two and four weeks at each program site except the US. Homestays are the primary form of accommodation on the program; other accommodations can include guest houses, hostels, dormitories, and/or small hotels. Homestays will be with either African migrant families or with other local populations.
Homestay families provide you with the opportunity to live as an integrated member of the host communities. In sharing daily life, conversations, family stories, celebrations, and community events, you will not only learn a tremendous amount, but also develop lasting friendships.
Family structures vary in every place. For example, the host family may include a single mother of two small children or a large extended family with many people coming and going all the time. Please bear in mind that the idea of what constitutes a “home” (i.e., the physical nature of the house) may be different from what you expect. You will need to be prepared to adapt to a new life with a new diet, a new schedule, new people, and possibly new priorities and expectations.
Country coordinators in each location arrange homestay placements. In most cases, students will be placed in homestays in pairs, with placements made to best accommodate health concerns, including allergies or dietary needs. You will not receive information about homestay families until you arrive in each country.
Relevant career paths:
- Public policy
- Urban education
- Academic research
Cost and Scholarships
Cost and Scholarships
SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
This program is eligible for a New Horizons Grant, a scholarship for our new programs. Award amounts are $2,500 for semester and $1,500 for summer programs. Students demonstrating need through their submitted scholarship application will be eligible.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
- Content and logistics for field programs in the United States, Senegal, Italy, and China
- Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
- Africana Muslims
- Entrepreneurship and Migration
- New African Diasporas: Frameworks and Fieldwork
- Guest lectures and panel discussions
- Site visit hosts and facilitators
- Transportation to classroom spaces and daily program activities
- All educational excursions, including all related travel costs
- Traveler’s health insurance throughout the entire program period
- Instructional materials
- Other direct program costs
Note: Break costs are not covered by program fees; students are responsible for this.
- Group airfare during the program
- Airfare includes a flight back to a city in the US at the conclusion of the program.
Room & Board: $4,500
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
- All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in all four countries, urban and rural stays, all excursions, and the final retreat. Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.
- Homestays in Senegal and Italy
- All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.
Estimated Additional Costs:
Domestic Airfare to Program Launch Site
Domestic airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
Visa Expenses: $150
Books & Supplies: $150
International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.
Break: $500 - $800
Please note: This is an estimated range based on student surveys from past semesters. Students' individual needs for their breaks will vary. For the entirety of the break period, students will be responsible for all of their expenses, including travel and room and board.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.