Senegal exchange trip resumes


Robert Fish

Students on an exchange trip from Senegal sitting in the Masters Dining Hall.

Sandra Liu, Social Media Manager

This coming summer, Masters students will get the opportunity to visit Senegal and study Senegalese history and culture while staying with host families from the affiliated school Cours Ste. Marie de Hann. Masters has had a deep relationship with Cours Ste. Marie de Hann even before COVID-19 began. Every year since 2016, students from Cours Ste. Marie de Hann have come to Masters for exchange study, and in the summer time, Masters students go to Senegal to experience a different culture. Although COVID-19’s arrival briefly interrupted the project, the project is about to restart this year. 

The trip’s highlights will include a camel ride, a visit to an island built entirely of seashells, and a visit to the African Renaissance Monument, the continent’s tallest statue.

The students will attend five to six orientation classes regarding the host country’s culture, behavioral requirements, and trip logistics before departing. They will also discover a question that they want to study during the program in order to enhance their exchange experience. The focus of orientation will be on team-building exercises that will benefit students living overseas.

“During COVID, people were very cautious and everything shut down. Traveling was a whole big concern. So I think we started to do international traveling again because people are feeling safer. The students with our sister school, they have good medical care in their country. And now it’s time. Otherwise, we don’t get to experience another culture, another way of living. And that’s so important,” said Ms. Shell M. Benjamin, the Upper School dance teacher who will also lead the Senegal trip.

We will go to Gorée Island which has the Doorway of No Return, the last place an enslaved would be in their homeland.

— Shell M. Benjamin


“Thirteen students will attend the Senegal trip. The student will stay in the host family’s home. The whole point is that they get to see what life is like in Senegal as a teenager. We will go to Gorée Island which has the Doorway of No Return, the last place an enslaved would be in their homeland. And we will be helping paint a nursery for part of our Community service. The sight, the smells, the food, and the market will also be part of our trip. And you have to bargain in the market. Moreover, we will go to a desert, experiencing camel rides. The trip will be amazing,” Benjamin said.

“I am so excited for the Senegal trip, and our information sessions have been a really great way to create a tight cohort to travel there as well. There’s some great people going with me, and I can’t wait to practice my French in Senegal! As for the Senegal kids that are here right now, I have been talking to a lot of them since last week, whenever I see some of them I try to stop and talk when I can, and I’ve learned a little about a few of them, including their names and their Instagram. I want to build a little bit of a connection while they’re here so when I go to Senegal and their school, I’ll have some people to look forward to seeing again,” Aron Tucker, a junior who will attend the Senegal trip this summer described his feeling.  

Overall, the decision to relaunch the program is exciting. Masters students will have the opportunity to gain insight into different cultures and experience the traditions of other countries.