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Learning Abroad in African American & African Studies

Learning Abroad in African American & African Studies

“The African-American and African Studies curriculum encourages a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the experiences of African peoples, and students who study abroad have an excellent opportunity to learn about those experiences firsthand by engaging with local communities. We strongly encourage students to take advantage of the university’s many learning abroad programs.”
—Stephanie Lawrence, Departmental Adviser

Study abroad allows students in African American and African Studies (AA&AS) to enhance their University of Minnesota classroom education. Students can extend their university experience by studying a variety of regions and countries in Africa as well as the African Diaspora of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. You will be able to inform yourself about the cultures of these diverse places and peoples; you will also be able to examine the impact of other countries’ political and economic policies on your host country and to receive new understandings from the people you visit.

Study Abroad Process

This is the basic process you'll complete in order to study abroad. The order in which you do things is somewhat flexible.

Academic Planning

Review the following suggestions from the African American and African Studies department before beginning your study abroad research.

Chose your study abroad experience wisely

Align study abroad with your personal, academic, and professional goals

Work on your African American & African Studies major or minor

Consider timing and length

Seek cultural immersion

Pay special attention to program type

Fulfill Liberal Education requirements

Once You Have Selected a Program

While You Are Abroad

After You Return

Programs

Africa and the Middle East

Botswana

University of Botswana (available through CIEE Botswana)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Located in Gaborone, the capital of one of Africa’s best governed and most stable countries, the University of Botswana has a student body of 12,000.
  • Large Department of African Languages & Literature is a major attraction. For other Africa courses see English, French, History (including Archeology), Media Studies in the online catalog.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of an African language is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Ghana

University of Ghana (available through CIEE Ghana– Legon: Developmental Studies)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Comprehensive university on the outskirts of the capital, Accra. University of Ghana has a strong African studies program and with relevant courses offered in many disciplines.
  • Participants choose between a general track and a Development Studies track. CIEE courses supplement university curriculum in both tracks.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of an African language is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

SIT Ghana– Origins of African Identity

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program based on Cape Coast, a modern educational center that was once a major port for the slave export trade. Includes lots of Diaspora content. 
  • Experiential components include a field study seminar and research project, field trips to other parts of Ghana and to Benin, a month-long homestay, and a week-long rural homestay.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of an indigenous Ghanaian language is required. Fall or spring semester.

Kenya

MSID Kenya (Minnesota Studies in International Development)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion.
  • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, ethnographic research, public health/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community environmental conservation, refugees.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Swahili is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

Morocco

Arabic Language & Culture in Morocco

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Cost-effective U of M program based in the picturesque historic city of Fez. Homestay housing choices between the traditional medina and the modern city outside the walls.
  • Arabic language instruction at all levels, plus area studies courses on Moroccan society and culture.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Arabic is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

CIEE Morocco

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Cost-effective language and area studies program based in the Moroccan capital, Rabat. Considerably more expensive than U of M program, but includes more area studies courses.
  • Sample course titles: Race & Ethnicity in Morocco; Morocco, Northern Africa, & France; The Koran; Gender Issues in Morocco; and Contemporary Moroccan Society & Culture.
  • Instruction is in English for some course and French for others; one year of prior Arabic or French is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

SIT Morocco– Migration & Transnational Identity

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential Rabat-based program focused on factors driving internal and international migration, particularly in Morocco and elsewhere in North and Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Includes structured field experiences locally, field trip to meet urban immigrants from Morocco in the Netherlands, visit to the Morocco-Spain border zone, and an independent research project.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Arabic or French is required. Fall or spring semester.

Senegal

Indiana University Senegal

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • 5-week Indiana University program consisting of a course on West African society, culture, and politics; a field practicum, and some introductory Wolof.
  • You can use the program either as a stand-alone introduction to the excitement of Africa or as extra background for the University of Minnesota’s MSID Senegal program.
  • Although instruction is in English, two semesters of prior French are required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

MSID Senegal (Minnesota Studies in International Development)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion.
  • Past internship placements include social work agencies, youth projects, ethnographic research, women’s groups, orphanages, health clinics, literacy projects, community centers, many more.
  • Instruction is in French. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

South Africa

CIEE South Africa Service-Learning

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around structured service placements in Cape Town townships or other disadvantaged settings. Includes classroom work, community-based research, language study.
  • South Africa is a fascinating place to reflect on the relationship among race, language, class, and political and economic power. Comparison can teach much about role and meaning of race in U.S.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of African languages required. Fall or spring semester.

SIT South Africa– Community Health & Social Policy

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Highly experiential program based in Durban, a multicultural city on the Indian Ocean.
  • Experiential components include a field study seminar and research project, visits to NGOs and health centers, and urban and rural homestays.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of an African language is required. Fall or spring semester.

University of Cape Town 

  • Program type: University Study
  • Post-Apartheid South Africa is attempting one of history’s most dramatic transformations in race relations; yet class inequality remains vexing even as racial inequality begins to diminish.
  • UCT and UKN are both strong in African archaeology, history, literature, political science, sociology; UCT also in religious studies and African languages, UKN in art history and geography.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of an African language us required. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.)

Tanzania

Study Abroad in Tanzania

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Explore human rights, Tanzanian history and politics, and Swahili language on the semester program.  Two summer options: 9-week Intensive Swahili track, and 7-week Public Health and Medicine track. 
  • Homestays and service learning placement further enrich cultural immersion.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Swahili required.

Tunisia

SIT Tunisia– Emerging Identities in North Africa

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential Tunis-based program examining culture, identity, and such themes as bilingualism, religion, mass media, and social movements, with a particular emphasis on youth.
  • Includes structured field experiences locally, field study in northern and southern Tunisia, and an independent research project.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Arabic or French is required. Fall or spring semester.

Uganda & Rwanda

SIT Uganda & Rwanda– Peace & Conflict Studies in the Lake Victoria Basin

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program integrating lectures, classroom discussions, readings, and debriefings on history, contemporary politics, and the role of the state.
  • Program engages students with the active peace-building and NGO communities in the Lake Victoria Basin. Two homestays, one in each country, plus multiple excursions.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of French or an African language required. Summer.

Americas

Brazil

CIEE Brazil– Salvador da Bahia

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Bahia, a beachfront city that was a wealthy sugar center during the colonial period, is the heartland of Afro-Brazilian culture—a core focus of the program curriculum.
  • Five-week pre-session to strengthen your Portuguese (or convert your Spanish into Portuguese) precedes 15-week semester of language and special program courses plus university option.
  • Instruction is in Portuguese; at least two semesters of prior Portuguese or four of Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic or calendar.

Dominican Republic

CIEE Dominican Republic– Santiago Liberal Arts

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Based in Santiago, the Dominican Republic’s second city, this program offers a range of language and area studies courses supplemented by opportunities to take university courses.
  • Sample course titles: Afro-Caribbean Cultures; Dominican-Haitian Relations; History of the Caribbean; Gender & Society of the Hispanic Caribbean; and Dominican Folklore.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year. Students may combine a semester with a semester in Santo Domingo or in the Santiago service-learning program.

CIEE Dominican Republic– Santiago Service-Learning

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around structured service placements in or near Santiago, a trade and agricultural services center and the Dominican Republic’s second largest city (population 1 million).
  • Includes classroom work, community placement, community-oriented research, and additional Spanish instruction. Fine option for students interested in understanding Dominican social realities.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall pr spring semester. Students wishing to study for a full year may combine this service-learning program with another CIEE program in Santiago or Santo Domingo.

CIEE Dominican Repubic– Santo Domingo

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Based in the Dominican capital at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), this program includes many Caribbean studies courses.
  • Internships offered, as well as the option to take courses at either or both of two Santo Domingo universities.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year. Students may combine a semester with a semester in Santo Domingo or in the Santiago service-learning program.

Ecuador

MSID Ecuador (Minnesota Studies in International Development)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships, which can be in Afro-Ecuadorian communities. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion.
  • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, public health/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community environmental conservation, fishing or handicraft cooperatives.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

United States

Exchange study at HBCUs (available through National Student Exchange)

  • Program type: University Study
  • NSE, coordinated at the U of M by CLA’s Off-Campus Study (OCS) office, offers an extremely cost-effective means of studying for a term or a year at another U.S. institution.
  • A dozen HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) belong to NSE; other universities with strong African American and/or African Studies programs may also be of interest. OCS can help you identify them.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; summer options are available at some institutions as well. Participants earn transfer credit rather than resident credit.

Europe

France

CIEE France– Paris Critical Studies

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center and University Study
  • Required courses in writing and in critical theory and method, plus elective center courses and courses in associated Paris universities. Includes several Francophone studies courses.
  • Sample course titles: Francophone Writers & Cultural Identity; Contemporary French & Francophone Cinema & Societies; History of the Arab World.
  • Instruction is in French; 5 semesters of prior French required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

IES France– Paris French Studies

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center (plus University Study)
  • Language and area studies program whose course offerings include some on the Francohone world. Also available: internships and courses in Paris universities.
  • Sample courses: The Maghreb & Arab World; Francophone Paris; France & Francophone Africa; Contemporary France; Gender Relations in the Francophone World.
  • Instruction is in French; two years prior college language study required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Study Abroad in Montpellier

  • Program type: University Study and Study Abroad Center (two tracks)
  • U of M program in Montpellier, a city with large West and North African immigrant populations. Permits a mix of center courses, regular Université Paul Valéry courses, and internships.
  • Students in the University Study track may also take language and culture courses from the Center track; these include some civilization and culture courses, although no courses on Africa.
  • Instruction is in French; one year French prerequisite for center track, two for university study track. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or a summer intensive language program.

United Kingdom

HECUA Democracy & Social Change in Northern Ireland

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program that brings students in direct contact with people on all sides of the Protestant-Catholic conflict. Half-time, 8-credit internship complements classroom and field study.
  • Although not focused on Africans or African Americans specifically, this program offers excellent powerful insights into the dynamics of inter-ethnic relations and conflict resolution.
  • Instruction is in English. Spring semester.

Queen Mary University of London

  • Program type: University Study
  • QM’s academic departments, library, students’ union, and administrative buildings are all on one campus in the multicultural East End, making it unique among the traditional London colleges.
  • Most remarkable about Queen Mary is the extraordinary diversity of both the campus and the surrounding East End community, which include many people with African or West Indian roots.
  • Academic year (summer also available through ISFA-Butler).

School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (available through Arcadia England or IFSA-Butler England)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Located in the heart of London, SOAS was founded in 1916, at the height of the British Empire, and has become one of the worlds’ great centers of expertise on Africa/Asia/Middle East.
  • Many departments offer African courses, including Anthropology, Art/Archeology, Economics, History, Music, Languages/Cultures (7 African languages taught), Law, Political Studies.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

University of East Anglia (Available through IFSA-Butler England)

  • Program type: University Study
  • UEA’s location in the city of Norwich offers easy access to the continent. Programs of interest include American studies (very strong) and development studies (significant African focus).
  • U.S.-focused courses offered in many disciplines including cultural studies, ethnic studies, film studies, gender studies, history, political science. Several focus on African American topics.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Additional Options to Consider

Intensive Language Programs

  • Begin your language study or work toward completing requirements for a language minor.
  • Work on your CLA language requirement or on a language minor while immersed in the language
  • Complete two, three, or even four semesters of language in a semester or a summer.

Global Seminars

  • 3-week, 3-credit programs at the 3000-level led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff over Winter Break or May Session.
  • Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.
  • Explore an exciting location and topic! Check out this year's offerings!

Freshman Seminars

  • Freshman Seminars Abroad combine on-campus instruction during spring semester with a study abroad component during spring break.
  • Seminars are 3 credits at the 19xx level and most fulfill a liberal education requirement.
  • Seminars are designed specifically for first year students as an introduction to study abroad.

Student Project for Amity Among Nations (SPAN)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Summer research abroad preceded by spring semester preparation and followed by fall semester project write-up; ideal vehicle for overseas research toward a senior project.
  • Faculty adviser helps students prepare, accompanies each group during the summer, and assists as the thesis is written.
  • Locations vary from year to year; two to four destinations offered annually. No language prerequisite for most sites. Summer.

Work, Intern, Volunteer, and Research Opportunities

  • The Department of African American and African Studies encourages study abroad programs offering experiences outside the classroom such as internships, service-learning, or research opportunities.
  • Don’t confine your search to study abroad; check out non-credit online WIV or teaching English first step modules.
  • Consider combining a WIV experience with a study abroad experience.

Student Experiences

Visit the Learning Abroad Center's Student Experiences web page for details on other students' experiences studying abroad.

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