Cameroon: Social Pluralism and Development
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Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Known as "Africa in Miniature," Cameroon is home to tremendous diversity. During the program, students study and travel in all of Cameroon’s major environmental zones. Students can expect to experience the daily life, traditions, customs, and historic and cultural sites of several different Cameroonian communities.
The program typically includes time in the following areas of Cameroon.
NORTHWEST and WESTERN REGION
Situated in the West Region of Cameroon, Dschang (pronounced “chong”) is the center of the Bamiléké, an ethnic group with a very rich and unique culture. Students learn about the Bamiléké’s traditions and arts. As one of the major university towns of Cameroon, students have a chance to interact with Cameroonian college students during this period. Students also have a twelve-day homestay with a family in Dschang.
Dschang was the first colonial capital of the Western Province until independence and today has a population of around 46,000.
Students spend a day at the Batoufam traditional palace and enjoy the privilege of meeting with a traditional leader known in the administrative jargon as "a first degree palace." Following the meeting, students are given a guided historic tour of the palace and are introduced to local dance and music featuring the sounds and rhythm of drums and traditional xylophones. Prior to the visit, students are introduced to the history, chiefdoms, and ceremonies of the Bamiléké. The excursion gives students a field-based experience to better understand the traditions and arts of the Bamiléké region.
The program typically spends three days in Bamenda focused on the issue of minorities in Cameroon. Students consider the impact of British colonization in Cameroon and examine the place of Anglophones (people originating from the two English-speaking regions of the country) in Cameroon's social, political, and cultural evolution. Students have lectures and enjoy site visits and exploring the city.
Also known as Abakwa Town, Bamenda is the capital city of the Northwest Region, one of the two Anglophone regions of Cameroon. It is the heart of the English-speaking opposition movement against French rule and dominance in Cameroon and home to one of the well-known and prominent opposition leaders of the country. It has an estimated population of about 446,000 inhabitants and is known for its cool climate and beautiful and hilly landscape.
Kribi lies along the Gulf of Guinea, at the edge of a tropical rainforest and is home to the Baka-Bagyeli (pygmies). During this excursion, students examine the controversial debate and overall issues surrounding this minority group including their history and current challenges. The excursion includes a visit to a pygmy camp, where students engage in conversations with pygmies, observe their daily lives, and participate in local dances.
During this period, students also have a chance to enjoy Kribi's beautiful sandy beaches.
Students spend the last two weeks before the ISP period living with host families in Ngaoundéré. The capital city of the Adamawa Region, Ngaoundéré is often referred to as the "crossroads" of Cameroon: the city is populated with people from all over the country.
In Ngaoundéré, students explore the relationship between the Grand South and the West and that of the Grand North and the Arab world. Students also examine the coexistence of traditional rulers and the modern state of Cameroon. Students meet a Muslim traditional ruler to better understand the tools and methods used for healing. During this period, students are introduced to the Fulfulde language, culture, and history.
In some semesters, it is possible that the group will spend the last two weeks before the ISP period in Kribi rather than Ngaoundéré.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Yaoundé
Language Study: French, Fulfulde, Pidgin English
Prerequisites: 3 semesters college-level French or the equivalent and the ability to follow coursework in French, as assessed by SIT. Read more...
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