Cameroon: Social Pluralism and Development

“SIT Cameroon opened my eyes to the wider world by opening my mind to countless aspects of thought and life in that amazing country. I have rarely been in a position to consider immensely meaningful issues in a comprehensive fashion through numerous lenses. The classes and research projects were among my most rigorous academic experiences.”

-- Alexander Loughran Lamothe, University of New Hampshire

Examine social, economic, and political development patterns in one of West Africa's most ethnically and geographically diverse countries.

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The program is based in Yaoundé, Cameroon's political capital. Students have access to cultural activities, academic resources, and many of the international development organizations headquartered in the city. 

The program also spends extensive time in other regions of Cameroon. A two-week stay in the northern town of Ngaoundéré and excursions to western and coastal Cameroon give students insight into how social change is manifested in different regions.  Learn more about the program’s excursions.

In-country resources and program partners typically include:

Home to more than 200 ethnic groups and even more local languages and dialects, Cameroon faces the challenge of finding common ground for its national agenda. Within a nation famous for its folklore, art, and natural environment, Cameroonians are striving hard to preserve their cultural heritage and diversity in the face of globalization and the country’s socioeconomic needs.

Against the backdrop of Cameroon's rich ethnic pluralism, the program explores:

  • Cameroonian history, including Cameroon before colonization; German, French, and British colonization; the fight for independence; the impact that colonization has had on Cameroonian society today
  • Development theories and approaches in the specific context of Cameroon
  • Gender, including the role and place of women and men in Cameroonian society; contemporary gender roles and existing gaps between modern and traditional roles
  • Minorities, including the "place" of the Anglophone in Cameroon and prejudices against Anglophones; culture and traditions of the Baka-Bagyeli (pygmies)
  • Art, tradition, and cultural expression, including history and traditional ceremonies of the Bamilékés and traditional structures like the chefferies (chiefdoms)
  • Islam and traditional power in the Grand North, including the interaction of traditional authorities, political power, and modernity

Study alongside Cameroonian students. Each semester, a small number of Cameroonian students participate in the full SIT Cameroon program. Learn more.
Sarah with the teachers at the Doumbouo Primary School. Completing the construction at the school was Breaking Ground's first project. Program alumnae draw upon lessons learned from SIT in building local NGO.
Lindsay Clarke, Sarah Oxford, and Alex Moore were inspired by the coursework, opportunities for independent research, and homestays of SIT’s Cameroon program to start an NGO focused on assisting Cameroonians with conducting sustainable development projects.
“During our program with SIT, we were introduced to a vast array of development strategies.... In building Breaking Ground, we tried to take the best aspects of all these different approaches.”
—Alex Moore

Learn more about the work Breaking Ground is doing in Cameroon.

SIT Alumna Discusses Economic Development in Cameroon
Alumna Charlotte Fisken (Pomona College) talks about the program’s homestay and her research into Cameroon’s infrastructure and one of the country’s large development projects. Read more.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Yaoundé

Language Study: French,  Fulfulde,  Pidgin English

Prerequisites: 3 semesters college-level French or the equivalent and the ability to follow coursework in French, as assessed by SIT. Read more...


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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