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Off-Campus Study

Notes from Abroad: Michael in Senegal

Notes from Abroad is a new feature on the Off-Campus Programs website, in which we highlight small snippets of a student’s experience.  This week’s feature is from Michael Peters ’17, a double major in Biology and French currently studying abroad in Dakar, Senegal.

Student’s Name: Michael S. Peters

Country of Study: Senegal

Field of Study: French Language, International Development, Pubic Health

Future Plans: Nurse Partitioning & Healthcare Administration

 

Note from Dakar, Senegal (MSID Senegal Program)

 

Jamm Rekk (“Peace Only” in Wolof language), from Senegal!

 

It has been 7 weeks since I landed at Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport in Dakar. Since then, Senegal has truly become home to me. I live with a host family in a neighborhood called Baobab, which is also the name of Senegal’s national tree. My family, the Tidjani family, has adopted me as one of their sons, and I am known as Michél Tidjani Le Gardien (The Guardian) here. Family means everything in Senegal, and there is never a dull moment in this household. I received a home assignment email when I was still in Chicago, that notified me that I would be living with a widow and her grand-daughter, but I cannot say that there has been a single moment in time that we have been less than 5 people in the house. I have two sisters and numerous cousins, uncles, and aunts who spend time here every single day. The family dynamic is wonderful, and everyone cares so much for one another. We eat our meals together around big bowls of food, and we cook and dance and do chores together every day. Work is secondary to family, and it has brought to light what really matters in life. Family is forever.

I would like to extend a huge thanks to the Ingrid H. and George L. Speros Scholarship foundation, and to Mrs. Huntington and Dean Speros specifically for helping to enable this amazing experience. In one weeks time I will be moving inland, to a small village of less than 1,000 people where I will be doing an internship at a health post. This will surely come with new challenges, but also many new learning experiences.

 

Ba chi ka namm! (“Until Next Time”)

 

Michael S. Peters

Lake Forest College

Class of 2017