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Development and Social Change

Open to all students, this program, in partnership with Dickinson College, examines development issues in Cameroon in the context of culture, politics, and the economy.

At a Glance




None, open to all students

Language of Study


Courses taught in

English, French


Aug 28 – Dec 10

Program Countries


Program Base


Critical Global Issue of Study

Development & Inequality

Identity & Human Resilience


Why study abroad in Cameroon?

Cameroon, an ethnically diverse and rapidly changing country, is an ideal setting in which to study development. Alongside Cameroonian college students, you’ll discuss project sustainability, funding sources, and beneficiary involvement in project design and implementation with development experts and high-profile political leaders. Focusing on three major socio-cultural groups—Bamiléké, Bagyeli, and Anglophones—you’ll discover the complex relationships between development, modernization, and social change.

SIT and Dickinson College have partnered to create a one-of-a-kind, interdisciplinary study abroad program in Cameroon that provides the opportunity to study critical issues affecting communities and people in Cameroon, West Africa, and The Global South.  SIT and Dickinson’s long presence in Yaoundé and dynamic on-site staff and faculty offer students opportunities to develop an understanding and appreciation of West Africa and of Cameroonian culture and society. This program is open to all students.



  • Study, play, travel, and socialize with Cameroonian students
  • Examine development from multiple perspectives with an emphasis on grassroots organizations and local communities
  • Examine the effects of "western" lifestyles on indigenous and rural communities
  • Become an active participant in the local community and make lasting connections through internship and research opportunities


None, open to all students

program map


"Africa in Miniature"

Cameroon is a microcosm of the continent’s major climates and geographic zones: mountains, desert, rain forest, savanna grassland, and the ocean coastland. During this program, you will travel to various regions and experience daily life, traditions, customs, and historic and cultural sites of diverse communities. Each thematic module includes an excursion or field trip to allow you to experience firsthand issues discussed in class.

Rural Batoufam and Bamiléké Tradition

In addition to taking part in this rural homestay, you will learn about the role of the diaspora and elites in community development and the important role of endogenous institutions in health, culture, economy and politics. Additionally, you will also have the privilege to meet with the King of Batoufam to learn his views on nation-state issues, as well as the changing cultural landscape of Batoufam.

Kribi at the Crossroads

In Kribi, which is between the Gulf of Guinea and the edge of the tropical rainforest, you will learn about the Bagyeli, an indigenous group of nomadic hunters and gatherers who are struggling to preserve what remains of their rich customs and traditions due to the realities of modernization and globalization. You will examine sociocultural transformations in the group, as a result of the progressive industrialization of the area. Witness firsthand how development projects can be contradictory to their discourse by disempowering communities where they settle.

Nkolandom Village

Nkolandom Village is in the south region of Cameroon, about a three-hour drive from Yaounde in the heart of the equatorial rainforest. A quiet environment for academic work and a privileged site to study the Fang- Beti cultural zone of Cameroon. The main activities of the local population include farming , handicrafts ,aquaculture, and hunting. Ecotourism offers employment to the youth has brought a boom to the local communities.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.


Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to: 

  • Describe modernization projects in Cameroon and how local communities have responded to these projects. 
  • Critique dominant discourses on modernity and modernization through comparative analyses of theories of development. 
  • Analyze the impact of modernization on Cameroon’s traditional cultures and social fabric. 
  • Examine the spectrum of organizations engaged in development and social change initiatives in Cameroon. 
  • Assess the realities, challenges, and successes facing development organizations in Cameroon. 
  • Synthesize the learning acquired on the program in the design and completion of a strong research project or internship experience paper. 
  • Demonstrate sound oral and written skills in French. 

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.


Access virtual library guide.

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.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • Social and political history of Cameroon and Cameroon’s future
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  • Development theories and best practices
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  • Cameroonian culture, dance, and art
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  • Women’s transition from traditional to “modern”

Modernization and Social Change in Cameroon

Modernization and Social Change in Cameroon – syllabus
(AFRS3000 / 3 credits)

An interdisciplinary course taught predominantly in English, exploring Cameroon’s complex social history and postcolonial national identities in one of the most ethnically and geographically diverse countries on the continent. In addition to lectures and discussions, the course integrates multiple learning methods including required readings, excursions to relevant sites, group discussions and processing sessions, participatory workshops, student presentations, and independent or self-structured learning.

Development Studies

Development Studies – syllabus
(SDIS3000 / 3 credits)

An interdisciplinary course taught predominantly in English, examining foundational concepts, principles, and paradigms of development studies for the purposes of critically engaging with specific topics and issues relating to the Cameroonian context. Through formal lectures, assigned readings, group discussions, and integrated field visits, students explore the ways in which development initiatives ‘ in local, regional, and national contexts ‘ seek to become agents for changing structural relationships in society.


French for Development Studies – syllabus
(FREN2003-2503 / 3 credits)

French for Development Studies – syllabus
(FREN3003-3503 / 3 credits)

French for Development Studies – syllabus
(FREN4003-4503 / 3 credits)

This language course focuses on the acquisition of the French lexicon used in the areas of development and social change to equip students with the language tools needed to work with NGOs and local and international development associations. Students are immersed in course materials designed to build their capacity in comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing skills to support the course’s focus on engaging students with discourses, vocabularies, discussions, and readings centered on development issues in Cameroon. Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing, students are placed in the appropriate level, with additional language practice in homestays and on field visits.

Beginning French: French in Cameroonian Contexts

Beginning French: French in Cameroonian Contexts – syllabus
(FREN1003-1503 / 3 credits)

This intensive course is designed to prepare students with little or no previous instruction in French to confidently use the language in daily communications in Cameroon. Another major aim of the course is to facilitate access to the Cameroonian host culture, particularly in the urban homestay. The course emphasizes the development of speaking and comprehension competencies. Cultural context is built into the course and introduced through audiovisual materials and experiential activities accompanying the text.

Research Methods and Ethics

Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ANTH3500 / 3 credits)

The Research Methods and Ethics course provides students with the essential tools required to conduct an independent study or internship in either the public health or social research domains in Cameroon. Material includes cross-cultural adaptation and skills building; project selection and refinement; appropriate methodologies; field study ethics and the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy; developing contacts and finding resources; developing skills in observation and interviewing; gathering, organizing, and communicating data; and maintaining a field journal.

Independent Study Project or Internship

In addition to taking the above courses, students will also need to enroll in one of the following two courses:

Internship and Seminar
Internship and Seminar – syllabus
(ITRN3000 / 4 credits)

International development became firmly established as a field of study and practice with an extensive apparatus that spans international borders, driven by an agenda of closing the global wealth gap at the onset of decolonization. Compared to most countries in the region, Cameroon has, since independence, had relative political stability, which has permitted investments in agriculture, transport infrastructure, petroleum, and timber. In this sense Cameroon provides an excellent setting in which to study mainstream development at play and the transitions that occur as society gets increasingly integrated into modern lifestyles. This internship experience is intended to place students in organizations at the center of this transition, as a way to enable them to appreciate the drivers and goals of mainstream development practice and how they have been structured.

Sample internships:

  • Providing financial support to women entrepreneurs at nationwide savings and credit cooperative MUFFA Cameroon
  • Assisting efforts to end hunger, poverty, and socioeconomic injustice; protect the environment; and support indigenous rights at RELUFA, a nonpartisan national network of secular nonprofit organizations and mainstream churches from all regions of Cameroon
  • Working with Women’s Promotion and Assistance Association to eradicate illiteracy, prostitution, child abuse, poverty, and human trafficking
  • Advocating for farmers and other Cameroonians at Citizens Association for the Defense of Collective Interests, a well-known and respected organization that works to change unfair laws and corruption across all of Cameroon
  • Assisting in projects such as agricultural investment, women’s entrepreneurial classes, and a girls’ soccer program at Breaking Ground, an organization founded by a former SIT student and her classmates on the principle that a community project can only effectively address the needs of a population if it is conceived, planned, and implemented by the community for whom it is intended


Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits)

Conducted in Yaoundé or in another approved location appropriate to the project in Cameroon. Sample ISP topics: political opinions among Cameroonian youth; Chinese and American development efforts and perceptions in Cameroon; gender roles and standards of beauty in Cameroon; traditional and modern healing: people’s preferences; usages and practices of bilingualism in Cameroonian schools; influences of Westernization on the Bikutsi style of music; oral history of the Bamiléké people; land grabbing and its local impacts; microfinance and women’s empowerment.

Sample ISP topics:

  • Representation and challenge of women’s roles through traditional dance
  • Impact of gendered microfinance on domestic violence
  • Efforts and obstacles toward political change in contemporary Cameroon
  • Cultivating rice in import-dependent Cameroon
  • Political opinion among Cameroonian youth
  • Chinese and American development efforts and perceptions in Cameroon
  • Gender roles and standards of beauty in Cameroon
  • Traditional and modern healing: people’s preferences
  • The uses and practices of bilingualism in Cameroonian schools
  • The influences of westernization on the Bikutsi style of music
  • Oral history of the Bamiléké people
  • Land grabbing and its local impacts
  • Microfinance and women’s empowerment

Browse this program’s Independent Study Projects / undergraduate research.



You’ll live with a Cameroonian family in the bustling capital Yaoundé. Your homestay family will have an understanding of life in the West through children or close relatives who live in Europe or the United States, or having experienced it themselves. You’ll see how this connection has affected their economic status and way of thinking. This experience will give you an opportunity to further explore program themes in a relaxed and informal setting.


In this rural community, you will be placed with a Bamiléké family and experience their culture, traditions, and arts. You’ll be immersed in your host family’s daily activities. Discussions at mealtime and other activities will illuminate lectures and field visits. You will appreciate an ethnic group that maintains strong ties to its culture despite the pressures of globalization.

Faculty & Staff

Cameroon: Development and Social Change

Chimene Nukunah, PhD bio link
Chimene Nukunah, PhD
Academic Director
Teku T. Teku bio link
Teku T. Teku
Administrative Director
Nathalie Miste bio link
Nathalie Miste
Student Service Coordinator

Discover the Possibilities

  • Cost & 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 nearly 1 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.

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