A Senegal gap year is an ideal opportunity to learn French (the national language), Wolof (the most widely spoken language) and Arabic. A majority of the Senegalese population is Muslim and a placement in the country represents an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding about faith and religion.
Volunteer in Senegal
Project Trust first sent eight Volunteers on a Senegal Gap Year in 2010, and has organised placements there since. All the projects involve teaching but can vary from helping organise a community education centre, to running a women’s education group to teaching IT.
Dakar, the country’s capital, is a energetic city where people’s busy and eclectic lifestyles are reflected in Senegal’s famous music and fashion scenes. But the pace of life slows in the towns beyond Dakar where our projects are based.
Kaolack is a market town south east of Dakar in Senegal’s main peanut producing region, Joal is a fishing community on the coast and Ziguinchor is in the more lush and tropical climate in the south of the country.
Making tea on Senegal Gap Year
Why volunteer in Senegal?
As a Project Trust Volunteer in Senegal you’ll take on a position of responsibility, developing your leadership and organisational abilities. There is scope for utilising your own skills and interests to shape your role, meaning you can really make your year your own.
Hospitality, or “teranga,” is very important in Senegal and guests are welcomed into houses with food, water, a bath and a bed. It means communities are very welcoming, and you’ll always find someone keen to stop, chat and take attaya – the Senegalese tea ceremony.
You’ll experience many religious festivals throughout the year such as Tabaski (Eid al-Adha) and Korité (Eid el Fitr). Often for celebrations everyone gets a new outfit made, a traditional boubou, to look their best for the occasion, so expect to bring back lots of new clothes.
Being part of your community with your hosts during the festival of Tabaski
Get a wardrobe full of locally tailored clothes, you will fall in love with Senegalese fashion
Dakar has a lot to offer and you can even try surfing here. Do go to visit the Île de Gorée, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a reminder of the terrible history of slavery in the region
“A 12 month placement allowed me to immerse myself in the project and develop throughout the year, learning from mistakes and building on early experiences until I felt I had improved both in the work I was doing and as a person.”
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