Altman Scholar Amanda Verdi pictured with her fellow Boren Wolof Scholars.
Today is the day – the day I leave to embark on my study abroad adventure. It feels like I have been working toward this moment for years. Once I decided on my study abroad location, my life took a fairly dramatic turn. I switched my Altman target language from Italian to French and applied for the Boren Scholarship that would eventually change the course of my past few months. I spent the last two summers in 8-week domestic language intensives, one for French, and one for Wolof; all in anticipation for my arrival tomorrow morning in Dakar, Senegal.
I will be studying abroad with CIEE in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, and home to the westernmost point on the African continent. I will be combining my love for politics and economics with my interest in the developing world by taking classes such as Development Economics and Democracy in West Africa. I will also, of course, be improving my language skills. All of my subject matter courses will be taught entirely in French, and I will continue my Wolof study both inside and outside of the classroom.
As someone who has lived mostly speaking and hearing only English in my day-to-day life, I am a little nervous for the linguistic immersion I will be experiencing in Dakar. Despite my extensive preparation, I am worried that I will not ever be able to express myself fully and with as much personality in French or Wolof as I can in English. But, I am certainly up for the challenge, and I am so incredibly excited for every part of this experience. I cannot wait to see what Senegal has in store for me. Ba beneen! (Until next time!)