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First Month Itinerary!

Load the ship and set out.

No one knows for certain whether the vessel will sink or reach the harbor.

Cautious people say, “I’ll do nothing until I can be sure”.

Merchants know better. If you do nothing, you lose.

Don’t be one of those merchants who wont risk the ocean.


(Sufi poet)


Dear BYP Senegal students,

We are so excited to share with you the itinerary for our first month of travel in Senegal — to load the ship and set out, as Rumi asks of us.

Our first few weeks will be filled with trips to bustling urban markets, attaya (minty, sweet green tea) under a host family’s mango tree, abundant plates of rice and fish, walks along the beach, spiritual exploration, and singing and dancing under the moonlight — and, of course, daily opportunities to get to know each other and your new home. Before we jump into the details, we also want to note that some things detailed here may change slightly over the next few weeks, so we encourage you all to be flexible – this itinerary may be altered once we’ve arrived in country and begin to travel.

August 30 – September 2

Upon arrival in Senegal, we’ll travel to Dene, an intentional Sufi spiritual community by the ocean north of Dakar, where we will join Babacar’s extended family for our first few days in Senegal. On the sandy shores of the nearby beaches and in the shade of the local pine trees, we will take the time to recover from jetlag, go over basic health and safety information, and dive into learning local language and culture. In particular, we’ll have a chance to explore Sufi spirituality as we participate in the community’s daily activities, which include prayer, singing, and dancing.

September 3 – 9

From Dene, we’ll head north towards Mouit, a small town on the Langue de Barbarie.  Mouit will be our home base for our week-long in-country orientation, during which we will build our foundational knowledge of Senegal, and set group goals for our year together. Mouit is a particularly wonderful location to begin learning about Senegalese geography, culture, and history: in addition to exploring the Langue de Barbarie, one of Senegal’s national park’s, we’ll also have a chance to visit Saint Louis,  a historic colonial city, well-known for a thriving music and arts scene. We’ll also see and hear about the effects of one of the first major contemporary issues that we’ll encounter in Senegal: climate change and coastal erosion.

Sept 10 – 18

Our exploration will continue with a  week-long “learning service intensive” in the small village of Ndioukhane, just outside of the bustling city of Thies. Here, we will build lasting relationships with the local community, practice our growing Wolof language skills, and  explore best practices for engaging in service. In particular, we will delve into the complexity of service work for foreigners in a postcolonial context.

September 19  – 25

Our first month of travel culminates with a visit to the communities of Ndem and Mbacke Kadior. Ndem and Mbacke Kadior are Baye Fall spiritual communities, organized around service, agriculture, and traditional arts and crafts. We will have the opportunity to explore the Senegalese philosophies of service practiced by the Baye Fall, as well as participating in traditional craft workshops and day-to-day activities on the farm and in the kitchen.

At the end of the month, we will move back to Dakar for a short site orientation before meeting our long-term homestay families.

You can find a detailed itinerary of our first six weeks in country below – we’ll also have a printed copy ready for you upon your arrival at Princeton (though please remember that some details may change!) In the meanwhile, check out the photos to see the map of where we are visiting.


Babacar, Berta, and Angelica



Bridge Year Senegal  2018-2019

On-Site Orientation Outline and September Itinerary
Schedule, including dates, locations, and activities, is subject to change. This allows us to respond to community and student needs and interests and to take advantage of unique opportunities.

A Note on Communication at the Beginning of the Program:

Students will have limited internet access through September 26, in particular while traveling in rural areas. Follow our adventures on the Yak Board, where the instructor team (often referred to as the “I-team”) and the students will be posting their reflections! You can also follow the Bridge Year instagram handle “bridgeyearprogram” to stay up to date with our latest.

Day 1: (Wednesday, August 29 and) Thursday, August 30
Group will travel from Princeton to Senegal with Babacar.
• Delta Flight DL 1017 departs JFK at 11:25 PM on August 29, arrives CDG @ 12:55 PM August 30
• Delta Flight DL 8410 departs CDG at 4:35 pm August 30, arrive DSS at 8:20pm August 30

Upon arrival in Senegal, we will be met at the airport by Angelica and Berta. We will take night transportation directly to the small coastal community of Dene, where we will spend the weekend with Babacar’s extended family as guests of his father’s daara.

As soon as the group lands in Dakar, a “Yak” update will be posted online at: informing family and friends of our arrival.

Day 2: Friday, August 31
9:00am – Breakfast and Check-ins
10:30am – Health & Safety 101
11:30am – Cultural Do’s and Don’ts
1:00pm – Lunch
3:00pm – Wolof 101
4:00pm – Activities with the community
8:00pm – Roses, Thorns, and Gratitudes (RTGs) and Dinner

Day 3: Saturday, September 1
9:00am – Breakfast and Check-ins
10:30am – Student Roles
12:00pm – French 101
1:00pm – Lunch
3:00pm – One-on-one Check-ins with I-team
6:00pm – Health & Safety 102
7:00pm – Journal Prompt
8:00pm – RTGs and Dinner

9:00 pm – After-dinner welcome ceremony

Day 4: Sunday, September 2
8:00am – Breakfast and Check-ins
9:00am – Pack for Orientation
10:30am – Travel to Dakar; Store items at Program House.
12:30pm – Lunch on the road
2:00pm – Travel to Mouit
7:00pm – Arrive Mouit, settle into campement
8:00pm – RTGs and Dinner

Day 5: Monday, September 3
• Sessions: Introduction to Dragons, Course, Program Progression & Group Life Cycle
• Activities: Visit to Village Chief

Day 6: Tuesday September 4
• Language: Wolof class
• Sessions: Senegal 101 – Physical & Cultural Geography
• Activities: Visit to tailor

Day 7: Wednesday September 5
• Sessions: Senegal 102 – Family in Senegal, Language Review Session
• Activities: Day with families in Mouit

Day 8: Thursday September 6
• Sessions: Communication Systems, Group mission Statement, Senegal 103 – Economy in Senegal
• Language: French class
• Prepare yak board updates to post the following day

Day 9: Friday September 7
• Activities: Day in Saint Louis
• Student yak posts – check out the board over the next few days to check them out!

Day 10: Saturday September 8
• Activities: Volunteer in Langue de Barbarie National Park

Day 11: Sunday September 9
• Sessions: Senegal 104 – Introduction to Islam and brotherhoods, Spirituality and religion.
Language classes and exercises.

Day 12: Monday September 10
Travel to the city of Thies.
Explore the famous Thies market
Preparation for 8-day village stay in Ndioukhane.

Day 13-20: Tuesday September 11- Tuesday September 18
Travel to Ndioukhane for “learning service” intensive.

  • Primary service project: facilitating English-language study and review for peer tutors in the  village of Ndioukhane.
    • Other sessions include Wolof and French class, and sessions on development, service, religion, and other key topics.
    • Opportunities for discussions with village chief, local youth, teachers, community members.
    • Possibility to visit neighboring villages.
    • Possibility for overnight stay with family.

Day 21-27: Wednesday September 19 – Tuesday September 25

Travel to village of Ndem to learn about service in the Senegalese context. Participate in local service activities with the community. Travel to community of Mbacke Kadior to learn about Senegalese community models of service and Baye Fall spirituality.

Day 27-28: Wednesday September 26 – Thursday September 27
• Travel to Dakar in morning on September 26 for beginning of on-site orientation in Dakar. Group will stay in the Program House for 2 nights, or nearby guesthouse. Activities include: orientation to Yoff, homestay briefings, and intensive Wolof and French classes to prepare for homestays.

Day 29: Friday September 28
• Move into long term homestays in Yoff.

Day 30-31: Friday September 29 – Saturday September 30
• Orientation to Dakar city, continued language study

Early – mid October
• Continued orientation and content sessions
• Opportunity to explore independent study projects
• Intensive language classes

• Students begin at long-term service placements. Placements have staggered start dates, and students will have opportunities to pursue additional language study, short-term service or independent enrichment activities (IEAs).