Experience the vitality and global breadth of contemporary African diaspora communities.
Travel from Senegal to Italy and France on a program developed and delivered in partnership with Morehouse College.
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.
Visit Italy and France to examine the experience of African and Muslim groups living there.
Produce a cumulative project based on your observations in all three countries at the end of the program.
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 southern Europe
- 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. 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.
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.
This city on the northwest coast of Senegal is known for its colonial architecture and its history as the first capital of Senegal. You’ll tour the old town on N’Dar Island in the Senegal River and visit the Musée du CRDS, which exhibits historical artifacts and art. You’ll also hear lectures from prominent researchers at Laboratoire d’Analyse des Sociétés et Pouvoirs / Afrique-Diasporas (LASPAD), visit the Interfaith Art Center, and learn about environmental issues in Saint-Louis from local activists and NGO workers.
Visit this tiny, car-free island off the coast of Dakar known for its role in the 15th- to 19th-century Atlantic slave trade. On the narrow streets, colonial buildings include the House of Slaves, now a museum. The 19th-century Fort d’Estrées houses the IFAN Historical Museum, with exhibits on Senegal’s past. At the Henriette Bathily Women’s Museum, you’ll learn about the history of gender dynamics in West African society.
Visit Medina Baye, a neighborhood in the city of Kaolack, in the south of Senegal, also known as the peanut basin. The neighborhood was founded by El Hadj Ibrahima Niass, more commonly known as Baye Niass, son the founder of the Niass branch of Tijaniyya, El Hadj Abdoulaye Niass. The Niass family has followers in many African countries, but mostly in northern Nigeria and the United States (with large diaspora communities in Atlanta, Chicago, and New York City).
Italy: Turin, Bergamo, and Pontevico
During a mid-semester excursion to 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 homestay with a Murid family.
After Italy, you’ll travel to Marseille, France, where you will learn from Murid entrepreneurs and African scholars the history of Murid migration, their motivations for choosing France as a destination for migration, and how they negotiate their double French and Senegalese identity.
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
Cheikh Thiam, PhD, Academic Director
Cheikh has a BA from Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar and an MA and PhD in comparative literature from Binghamton University. He comes to SIT with a strong background in US higher education. He is a founding member of The Dakar Institute of African Studies and an associate editor of Research in African Literatures, the premiere journal in African literature. Cheikh has also served as an associate professor of African American studies, African studies, and French at The Ohio State University and directed study abroad programs in Senegal over the last ten years. A leading voice in negritude studies, Cheikh is the author of Return to the Kingdom of Childhood: Re-envisioning the Legacy and Philosophical Relevance of Negritude (Ohio State University Press, 2014), the first book focusing on the philosophical work of Leopold Sedar Senghor. He was also the editor of Negritude Reloaded, a special issue of Journal on African Philosophy. He has recently completed a second manuscript, Negritude Beyond Negritude: Glissant, Gilroy, Mabanckou and Senghor’s Africentered Philosophy and is currently writing a mytho-biography of Leopold Sedar Senghor from the perspective of the elders of Joal and Djiloor. His articles have appeared in literature and philosophy journals such as Ethiopiques, West Africa Review, La Revue Africaine, La Revue du Graat, French Review, Research in African Literature, Dalhousie French Review, and Journal on African Philosophy.
Benedict “Papis” Bassene, Program Assistant
Papis is originally from the region of Kédougou, though he grew up mostly in Kaolack and Dakar. He received a degree in applied linguistics in the English Department of the University of Gaston Berger in Saint-Louis. Before joining SIT, Papis utilized his interpersonal and technical skills volunteering for the Spanish Humanist Movement, a nongovernmental organization aimed at supporting local grassroots community-building projects. It was here that Papis began developing an interest in intercultural experience and learning while he served as an interpreter and project planner. In addition to his duties as office manager with the SIT Senegal program, he also teaches English at professional schools in Dakar. Papis enjoys sports, spending time with his daughter, and reading.
Fabienne Ngoné Diouf, PhD, Wolof Instructor
Fabienne received her PhD, in linguistics in 2017 from Indiana University. She taught Wolof and African linguistics for many years in the United States.
Federico Daneo, MA, Country Coordinator, Italy and France
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.
Luca Barana, MA, Program Assistant, Italy and France
Luca is a researcher and project manager at the Centre for African Studies, Turin. He holds an MA in international sciences, and his thesis focused on regional integration in Sub-Saharan Africa. He has been Junior Fellow at the European Centre on Foreign Relations, where he researched European migration policy. Luca is also the founder and deputy director of Europae — Review of European Affairs. Founded in 2013, Europae proposes an independent perspective on European policies and politics.
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 in Senegal and Italy. Homestays are the primary form of accommodation on the program; other accommodations can include guest houses, hostels, 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.
Homestay coordinators in each location arrange homestay placements. Students will be placed in homestays that can 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.
SIT Study Abroad will be offering need-based scholarships up to $8,000. Preference will be given to students from HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions
Tuition: Not yet available.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
- Content and logistics for field programs in Senegal, France, and Italy
- 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
Room & Board: Not yet available.
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
- All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in all three countries, urban and rural stays, and all excursions. 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:
Airfare to Program Site
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.
International Phone: Each student must bring a smart phone that is able to accept a local SIM card with them to their program, or they must purchase a smart phone locally.
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.
In order to make study abroad more accessible, SIT's partner colleges and universities may charge home school tuition fees for their students participating on an SIT Study Abroad program. If your institution has an agreement with SIT and charges fees different from those assessed by SIT, please contact your study abroad advisor for more details. The SIT published price is the cost to direct enroll in the SIT program. Tuition fees may vary for students based on your home college's or university's billing policies with SIT.