Examine how young Africans use hip-hop to critique traditional understandings of the world, imagine African futures, and raise consciousness about globalization and (in)equality.
Understand the history/development and importance of hip-hop in Africa and globally.
Explore hip-hop as a philosophical, political, and economic force in Africa. You’ll learn about the way disenfranchised diasporic communities engage critically with the social and political realities of the world since the 1970s. You’ll also trace the development and adaptation of hip-hop, exploring the diasporic exchanges that led to its emergence in Africa and the ways African hip-hop artists question eurocentrism and global capitalism.
Interrogate the concepts of diaspora.
Investigate the discourses, practices, and relations that have shaped diasporic identities and communities outside of the African continent in the past 600 years. You’ll evaluate how the idea of diaspora has evolved and how the diaspora reconfigures ideas of Africanness in such a way that they shape contemporary African cultures in the domains of arts, music, fashion, and even religion and politics.
Spend three weeks in Ghana.
During a three-week excursion to Ghana, engage in a comparative study of Ghana’s unique version of hip-hop, known as hip life, and examine the way that cutting-edge musicians, fashion designers, artists, and activists in Accra are shaping cultural trends in West Africa, Europe, the United States, and the Caribbean more broadly.
Experience urban life in two African metropolises.
Experience the bustling dynamism of an urban city while enjoying a total immersive experience by living with a middle-class family in both Dakar and Accra. You’ll learn the differences and similarities between African and non-African contemporary communities while living with local families.
Connect with Senegalese and Ghanaian students.
Attend class sessions, discussing and learning about African hip-hop with peers from local universities in Senegal and in Ghana. You will examine how your potentially different experiences shape your understandings of the world and determine your common humanities.
Attend workshops led by major hip-hop artists such as King Mo, Ndongo D, Xeinnix, and Salla Ngary.
Explore your own talents. You’ll work with major Senegalese hip-hop artists and producers and participate in workshops designed to help you experience hip-hop in a more practical way.
Discover the complexity and diversity of urban cultures in Africa.
During your time in two of the most vibrant and dynamic West African cities, you’ll learn how contemporary African youth shape, and are shaped by, globalization. You’ll also experience Afropolitan cuisine, fashion, dance, and more.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- Hip-hop literacy
- Hip-hop as African philosophy
- Decolonial approaches to education and literacy
- Vitality, resilience, and global breadth of African and diaspora communities
- Hip-hop, African descendants, and capitalism
- Hip-hop, urban cultures, and sustainable development
- The pervasive nature of coloniality in black communities globally
- The complexity of African descended cultures and their pluriversality
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.
African Urban Hip-hop and Decolonial Futures
(AFRS3000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
This course gives students a deeper understanding of the vitality, resilience, and global breadth of contemporary African and African diaspora communities through an experiential engagement with hip-hop and urban cultures as decolonial voices that constantly engage the limits of coloniality, global capitalism, and local political realities. This course focuses particularly on the ways African urban hip-hop functions as decolonial pedagogical praxes and counterhegemonic movements against cultural and economic imperialism in the global African diaspora, in general, and in the United States, Senegal, and Ghana, in particular. Using music as a political and aesthetic expression against Empire, the course explores the potential and limits of African urban hip-hop to offer disenfranchised masses, especially people of African descent, possibilities to critique and delink from coloniality in their everyday lives. Hip-hop will be studied as a means to create links and spaces of solidarity between African descendants and economically disenfranchised peoples from the Global North and the Global South. The ultimate goal is to question dominant narratives and create a transformative consciousness about economic and cultural globalization, immigration, identity, nation, nationality, democracy, human rights, and equality.
Rethinking Africa and the African Diaspora
(AFRS3500 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
This course explores, and critically examines, the idea of “Africa” and the African diaspora from a decolonial perspective. Through an experiential engagement with the intellectual, social, and political characteristics of everyday life in Senegal, Ghana, and the United States, students carefully engage with dominant narratives about people of African descent in ways that critique colonial interpretations of Africa and move them toward a consciousness that decolonizes the “idea of Africa” and the African diaspora. Further, the course evaluates the ways in which this critical and experiential engagement with mainstream understandings of the meaning of “Africa” is essential to the decolonial futures of people of African descent.
Research Methods and Ethics
(ANTH3500 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
Drawing upon the myriad of in-country experiences, cultural encounters, conversations in homestays, and community observations, the Research Methods and Ethics course is primarily designed as a field-based course complemented by classroom lectures, assigned readings, and discussions facilitated by the academic director. The course relies on SIT’s in-country professional network and academic and socio-cultural resources to structure assignments and field activities through which students practice and hone their skills in gathering, managing, and analyzing primary data.
Choose between the following two language courses:
French Language Study
(FREN1003–3503 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
This French language course provides the framework for consolidating your French language grammatical and communication competency. A course book created by the course instructor contains a variety of reading, grammar, writing, and discussion exercises designed and tailored to meet students’ learning needs and strategies. Selected texts in French, complemented by discussion, also in French, offer a broad view on contemporary issues in Africa (including sociology, environment, politics, education, and development) as students hone French language acquisition. Students spend thirty hours on formal classroom instruction and another thirty hours on field activities that are intended to support language acquisition. Field assignments designed around recreational activities such as sports, song and dance, shopping, and cooking enhance language acquisition in interesting and engaging ways, build new vocabulary, and develop intercultural competence. Students practice learned vocabulary and fluency using simple texts, moving to more complex texts as they develop their language abilities. Language proficiency assessment will include in-class oral and written tests and students’ use of French in everyday life and field assignments throughout the semester. Students’ language abilities are assessed through an oral proficiency test at the beginning of the semester to determine language class level assignment. Further assessment will be used throughout the semester to assess progress.
Wolof Language Study
(WOLO1003–3503 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
The Wolof language course is primarily intended to enhance students’ Wolof oral and writing proficiency and to introduce students to the variety of Senegal’s rural and urban cultures. The course is deliberately designed to take full advantage of students’ immersion in Senegalese society. Students spend thirty hours on formal classroom instruction and another thirty hours on field activities that are intended to support language acquisition. Field assignments in recreational activities such as sports, song and dance, shopping, cooking, and treasure hunts enhance language acquisition in interesting and engaging ways, build new vocabulary and develop intercultural competence. Students practice learned vocabulary and fluency using simple texts, moving to more complex texts as they gradually develop their language abilities. Language proficiency assessment will include in-class oral and written tests and students’ use of Wolof in everyday life and field assignments throughout the semester. Students’ language abilities are assessed through an oral proficiency test at the beginning of the semester to determine language class level assignment. A second midterm assessment reviews progress in order to reassign class level. A third assessment at the end of the semester determines students’ final language proficiency level.
Choose between the following two courses:
Independent Study Project
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
The four-week Independent Study Project (ISP), scheduled in the final portion of the program, gives students a unique opportunity to study a key aspect of urban culture in Senegal in depth. The ISP draws upon the knowledge and various skills gained from the thematic, language, and research methods and ethics seminars. Students will have worked with the academic director and various other in-country experts to develop their ISP proposals and to schedule interviews, arrange for translators if they will be required, and arrange other logistics that are essential to completing the ISP. They will also have developed the competence to act in culturally appropriate ways and to find resources in Senegal needed for ISP completion.
Internship and Seminar
(ITRN3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
This course consists of a four-week internship with a local community or youth organization, artist, musician, filmmaker, research organization, business, or international NGO. The aim of the internship is to enable students to gain valuable professional experience and enhance their skills in an international work environment.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Frequently compared to New Orleans, Saint Louis is a Creole city that was founded at the onset of colonization. A fundamentally hybrid land that emerged in the context of slavery and colonization, Saint Louis is, today, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Senegal. Its urban cultural scene is particularly diverse as it is situated at the crossroads of Africa, Europe, the Americas, and the Muslim world.
With its legendary hip-hop crew Hardcore Side, the city of Ziguinchor occupies a central place in Senegal’s hip-hop landscape. The city is known for its attachment to the core values of hip-hop and its modern views on the way urban cultures should evolve. Located between Gambia and the two Guineas, Ziguinchor is a cosmopolitan city at the crossroads of different cultures. It is known for its equalitarian tradition and its traditional feminist outlook on life.
Kaolack is famous for being one of the most vibrant urban cultural centers in Senegal. Its best known crew, Keurgui, is one of the most engaging hip-hop collectives in Dakar. Keurgui’s members Kilifa and Thiat are two of the founding members of Y-en-a-marre, an important force within Senegalese civil society.
The famous neighborhood of Guediawaye is one of the most important centers of production of urban cultures in Senegal. It is the home of G Hip-Hop, a hip-hop collective that is engage in social transformation, and educational decoloniality, and sustainable development. Guediawaye, one of the most disenfranchised neighborhoods in Senegal, is also an incredible source of talent, creativity, and innovation.
Yarakh, a neighborhood in Dakar, is home to some of Senegal’s major talents, including Ndiol, the world-renowned director of Kaddu Yarakh and a strong proponent of theater of the oppressed in Senegal, and Moussa Sene Absa, one of the foremost Senegalese directors. You will discover this renowned neighborhood through workshops organized by these monuments of Senegalese culture.
Tambacounda is one of the most important urban centers in Dakar. Hip–hop artists from Tamba are best known for the quality of their lyrics and their engagement in the academic field. The MCs of Kangam Squad, its best known crew, are high school teachers who make hip-hop literacy a reality.
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 experience two homestays: one in Dakar and one in Accra. The homestays are an essential part of the program. In living with a host family, you will experience the realities of Senegalese and Ghanaian daily life and learn about family dynamics, including family structure, gender roles, eating habits, household chores, waste disposal systems, notions of space and concepts of belonging, education of children, and celebrations and other rituals.
Located on the Atlantic Coast, Senegal’s capital and largest city, Dakar, abounds with lively cultural activities and is home to well-known Senegalese musicians including Daara J, Baaba Maal, Queen Biz, Coumba Gawlo, Daara J, Cheikh Lô, and Waly Seck. The program center is located in the neighborhood of Point E, walking distance from Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (UCAD) and a hub of NGOs working on development issues ranging from refugees to education to HIV/AIDS. The center is also close to major research centers such as the Baobab Center and CODESRIA. You can easily access restaurants and internet cafés.
Here, you will live with a Senegalese family for a total of nine weeks. You’ll experience Senegalese daily life, going to the local market, tailor, neighborhood boutiques, or beach with your host family. You may attend sporting events (soccer or wrestling matches) or concerts with your host parents or siblings. You may also be invited to naming ceremonies, marriages, Muslim holiday celebrations such as Tabaski and Korité, religious gatherings, or other special cultural events with members of your host family.
Most host families are considered middle class by Senegalese standards and represent different professions, including nurses, merchants / business owners, retired army officers, teachers, and tailors. Some homes may be within walking distance of the SIT program center while others may be 20–30 minutes away by bus. Most host families have children. If there are no children in the host family, there are usually children in neighboring families. Students often visit each other’s host families.
SIT’s program center in Ghana is located in North Legon, a bustling and safe suburb of Accra. It is a 25-minute drive north of the airport and is strategically located near the University of Ghana, Wisconsin University College, Academic City, and the University of Professional Studies. North Legon is a rapidly evolving place that demonstrates the development of Accra outward from its traditional center. With central Accra becoming increasingly business-like in its outlook as more and more homes are converted into offices, places like North Legon have come to house a largely middle-class demographic that forms the working core of Ghana’s formal sector. Your homestay will be with a family that is within 30 minutes’ walking distance to the SIT program center.
You can choose to do an internship. SIT internships are hands-on and reflective. In addition to completing the internship, you will submit a paper processing your learning experience on the job and analyzing an issue important to the organization you worked with, and/or you will design a socially responsible solution to a problem identified by the organization.
Regional, United Nations and multilateral bodies are based in Senegal to provide and support peacekeeping missions in the region. SIT’s extensive network helps students find placements in these and other organizations working in governance, election monitoring and peace in Dakar and beyond. In addition, students may petition SIT for approval of internship placements that they find on their own initiative.
Sample internship sites:
- Hip-hop collectives in Dakar
- Urban cultural centers in Dakar
- Maison de la Culture Urbaine
- G Hip Hop
- NGOs working with previously incarcerated people
- Orphanages in Dakar
- Organizations working with urban youth in Senegal
Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project
You will spend four weeks near the end of the semester working on an Independent Study Project (ISP), pursuing original research on a selected topic of interest. The ISP is conducted in Dakar or in another approved location appropriate to the project.
Sample ISP topic areas:
- Dakar’s interconnected arts institutions
- Social justice and the arts in Senegal
- Conversations with Toussa Gotal and other female hip-hop artists on identity expression in rebel music
- Reclaiming Senegalese education, identity and citizenship through hip-hop
- The effect of urbanization on Senegalese ethnic identity
- Tradition’s place in the Senegalese contemporary art world
- The evolution of the Kora through time in Senegalese music from traditional to contemporary
- Elucidating Baay Faal group identity by way of visual art
- Stories of the female voice in hip-hop
- La femme Noire a Choreo-Poem: Re-membering, Re-Imagining, responding to and Representing a collection of stories
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:
- Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students
- Research Methods and Ethics course on field study methods and Human Subjects Review
- Language instruction in French
- Language instruction in Wolof
- All educational excursions
- Independent Study Project or internship (including a stipend for accommodation and food)
- Health insurance throughout the entire program period
Room & Board: $2,898
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
- All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Dakar), on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project or internship, and during the final evaluation period. Accommodation is covered by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.
- All homestays
- All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered 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.
Books & Supplies: $150
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.