2005 J-Term Internship in Senegal

Christine Manigat '05

Christine Manigat '05 served as an intern with the West African Research Center (WARC) in Dakar, Senegal

Christine's Report:

During the month of January 2005, I worked as an intern at the West African Research Center (WARC) in Dakar, Senegal. WARC works to cultivate collaboration between American and West African researchers and students. WARC especially piqued my interest because I am majoring in psychology as well as French with a concentration in Francophone studies at Mount Holyoke College. I firmly believed that participating in a program of this kind would help broaden my awareness of West African culture and aid me in bridging a connection between my two majors. Receiving the Hubbell Grant allowed me the opportunity to return to Senegal for this internship experience.
During my internship, I worked mainly with the web designer, Mr. Abdoulaye Niang, to update the center’s website, www.warc-croa.org. I added links where I felt necessary and titled each page in order to make the center’s website more navigable. I edited English text and grammar throughout the pages and changed background colors for a more attractive and consistent look.

My internship also involved shadowing and assisting the coordinator of study abroad activities, Mrs. Honorine Diadhiou in the orientation of the Mount Holyoke J-term and Junior Year Abroad (JYA) programs in Dakar, Senegal. I assisted in a day of cultural orientation for the J-term students where we explained to them certain aspects of the Senegalese culture. For example, we showed the students how to eat with their hands around a common bowl (which is done in most Senegalese homes). We discussed the Do’s and Don’ts when interacting with Senegalese families and for Senegalese culture in general. We also gave them a list of useful phrases in Wolof for communication purposes. At the end of the day, I assisted in helping these students move into the houses of their host families. For both the J-term and Mount Holyoke JYA groups, I made myself available to these students to answer any questions about being in Senegal. I also shared my experience as a JYA student on the Mount Holyoke Program during the previous year.

From my January internship, I learned the many details that go into web design and event/program planning. I am grateful to have had the experience of returning to Senegal in a different context in which I was able to get “hands on” exposure to a professional field in a different country. Before my internship, I was unfamiliar with the software, Dreamweaver and web maintenance. Now, I am more confident and comfortable with making changes to the web. I am also happy that I was able to share my experience and give advice to students who were in the study abroad programs. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life! I hope to have the opportunity of returning to Senegal again.