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Senegal FAQ and Norms

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Senegal Programs


  1. Is Senegal safe? According to the US State Department, the current advisory level is 1 (exercise normal precautions). This is the lowest level. Health concerns and pickpockets in the cities are the largest concerns. There is a current Worldwide Caution located here as of 10/22/23.

  2. What are the goals of the trip? Through enriching immersive experiences, French language educators will gain an increased cultural understanding of Senegal and will work together on curriculum design. The trip will focus on various topics such as education, literature, history, world cultural heritage sites, environment, global issues, and more. Participants will have various opportunities to interact 1-1 and in small groups with Senegalese students, educators, writers, researchers, artists, and families.

  3. What will it cost? The overall cost of the trip will be around $4600 including airfare to/from JFK/Dakar. This quote does NOT include vaccinations and immunizations, other personal health care costs, transport to/from JFK, souvenirs, required trip insurance, and optional tips. The price includes all meals, touring, entrance fees, double-room occupancy, and in-country transportation.

  4. How do I exchange into CFA for personal purchases? Participants can pre-order CFA through Vive a month prior to departure and you will receive it upon arrival in Senegal. You bring your new $100 & $50 bills to Senegal for the exchange. We recommend bringing some additional USD in addition to ATM cards in case you need more cash. Infrequently, credit cards could be used for purchases in a store, but typically cash is required. We can give recommendations on how much to exchange closer to your departure, but typically $200-$300 is sufficient depending on what kind of souvenirs you want.

  5. Who can join this trip? There are only *20 places available for each 2025 Senegal Summer Program. Participants should be current or retired French language educators. Those who pay deposits and submit completed applications and paperwork can reserve their spot. We will maintain a waitlist for any interested candidates in case a spot becomes available.

  6. What do I need to know re paperwork to enter Senegal? See this link from the US State Department for passport, entry requirements, and safety information. 

  7. What health concerns should I be aware of? According to the US CDC, the current health advisory alert level is 2 (practice enhanced cautions) due to some international destinations having circulating poliovirus. Every participant must complete and submit a confidential medical form. You should have proof of a Yellow Fever vaccination (good for life), take antimalarial medicine, and have all regular vaccinations up-to-date as well as others as recommended by your doctor or the CDC. A travel clinic can also provide more information. Check with your healthcare insurance regarding coverage and fees, as you should budget for non-covered immunizations. Anyone with peanut allergies is discouraged from applying. Other known anaphylactic issues or other serious health issues should be discussed with your doctor. Food allergies, sensitivities, or preferences may be difficult to accommodate. Insect repellent and long-sleeves are recommended to avoid mosquito bites. 

  8. Can I drink alcohol during the trip? What drugs are legal? Participants should abstain from drinking alcohol. Marijuana is not legal in Senegal. Other prescription drugs are permitted in original packaging. 

  9. Is there religious tolerance in Senegal? Senegal is around 95% Muslim, 3% Catholic and 2% animist. In general, Muslim brotherhoods are tolerant of others with different religions. 

  10. What should one know about LGBTQ+ travel in Senegal? As per the US State Department, “same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Senegal. LGBTI individuals routinely face discrimination. Under Article 319 of the Senegalese criminal code, “unnatural acts” are punishable by imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of F CFA 1,000,000 (USD $2,000).” 

  11. What sort of insurance do I need? Every traveler must provide proof of purchase of travel insurance from a company such as AllianzInsurance, AAA or WorldNomads. The pricing will vary depending on your age, state of residence, and dates/location of trip. This insurance should cover the following: trip cancellation of around $4500, trip interruption, emergency medical, emergency transportation, baggage loss/damage, baggage delay, travel delay. For example, a participant in their early 50s, living in Virginia, would pay $140-240 depending on benefits & company. Note that some insurance companies require Travel Insurance to be purchased within 10-14 days of paying a deposit in order to be eligible for Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) and/or better rates. Contact your insurance companies for more information.

  12. What safety measures will be taken during the trip? We will have Trip Leaders and/or local Senegalese guide(s) with us 24/7. U.S. citizens should register at the US Embassy in Dakar through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for alerts and updates. We will practice safe eating and drinking habits and will talk about sanitation issues prior to departure. We will travel in a private vehicle solely for our use, avoiding nighttime travel; when on foot, we will always be in pairs or a group and will focus on being aware of our surroundings. Our local guide·s and Trip Leaders will have phones for emergencies. We do not recommend jogging in Dakar but we can find appropriate locations elsewhere. 

  13. How much time will I spend outside? A lot! We will be doing outdoor activities on a daily basis. We will visit UNESCO World Heritage sites of Senegal on our visit as well as several other proposed sites. We will also explore local markets, museums, natural reserves for birds, animals and mangroves. We will spend time in our bus, but we will also spend time in pirogues (canoe-like boats), on the ferry from Dakar to Gorée, and horse cart (calèche). You may swim in hotel pools and in the Atlantic Ocean. We will be walking a lot as well. Sunscreen, hats, reusable water bottles & insect repellent will be essential.

  14. What about wifi and charging electronics? International phone plans are very pricey, so we will likely only have wifi access in our lodgings in the evening, which may be unreliable. We recommend bringing a notebook, phone/small camera, and French-style (types C & E) adapters for the electrical outlets. You may bring laptop computers. The electricity sometimes has power surges, so consider using a European surge protector. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. Hotels and restaurants typically have back-up generators for electrical outages, so that is another option for charging.

  15. What can I wear/pack? Every participant should only bring one small to medium suitcase and one smaller backpack, and avoid valuables. With temperatures in the 80s-90s during summer trips, lightweight, long cotton or linen pants, or long skirts/dresses are recommended. Clothes should be tidy and without holes. Clothing should be knee-length or longer, except at beaches or poolside. We will try to have some clothes tailor-made at the start of our trip. You may need a lightweight sweater for cooler nights or in locations with more air-conditioning, though Senegalese AC is typically not as cold as in the USA, nor Europe. A specific packing list will be provided to Participants closer to departure. You can handwash some clothes as needed and/or we can try to have laundry done, probably once about halfway through the trip.

  16. What sort of documents will I need? A valid passport six months beyond our return date with at least two blank pages will be required. Be sure that you can leave and re-enter the USA on your passport. You may need a Yellow Fever Certificate as proof to enter Senegal. Currently, US citizens do not need special tourist visas to enter the country.

  17. What do I need to do to participate?

☐    Non-refundable application fee: Submit this for the Program of your choice. 


Within 10 days of submitting deposit:

☐    Confirm access to secure Google folder to upload required paperwork by due dates.

☐    Program Agreement: Read, sign and upload copy. 

☐    Passport: Submit a valid copy, confirm 2 blank pages. Contact us if you are waiting for a passport renewal or new passport.

☐    Travel insurance: Purchase and upload a copy of your paid policy.

☐    Medical Form, Emergency Contacts Form, Covid vaccination card (highly recommended): Submit signed forms.

As per current policies:

☐    Payment in full: Submit Program payment in full as per current policies.

☐    Attend Vive Participant Meetings on Zoom: Sign up to receive your Zoom link. 

☐    WhatsApp: Join our group.


Approximately 1-2 months prior to departure:

☐    Yellow Fever:  Submit copy of your vaccination. 

☐    Malarial prophylaxis: Obtain prescription.

☐    Enroll in STEP: Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). (US Citizens)


18. What special preparation and resources will Vive provide prior to departure? Vive is always available to answer your questions and will consider your requests for special activities while on the trip. In addition, we offer free pre-departure meetings to help you prepare for your experience.

Pre-departure Zoom Meetings for Paid Participants:

Meeting #1 - Senegalese Frames of Reference

Meeting #2 - Health, hygiene, food

Meeting #3 - Lessons & Curriculum 

Meeting #4 - Wolof, Money/Souvenirs, Packing

Meeting #5 - Départ Immédiat!

Meet at airport - Details TBA

2025 Group Norms for Senegal Programs

  • Attend pre-departure meetings on Zoom.

  • Reply to all emails or messages in a timely manner.

  • Attend the Security Briefing and read your Participant Handbook prior to or upon arrival.

  • Obey all rules and curfews established by your Trip Leaders.

  • Speak French as much as possible.

  • Support your fellow travelers as needed.

  • Participate in planned group activities during the Program. 

  • Arrive on time at each destination, check-in site, and for all group functions. 

  • Dress appropriately at all times; this will be enforced due to cultural norms.

  • Share any dietary restrictions or allergies before the trip. If unable to accommodate dietary issues, a decision will be made before acceptance into the Program.

  • Follow instructions given to you by Trip Leaders and/or your guide. If you have any problems with instructions, please bring up your concerns in private with the Trip Leaders.

  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially with your purses, bags and phones in public. 

  • Never leave the group to go off on your own. This includes going out jogging or for a walk, to go shopping, or any other individual activity. 

  • The use of alcohol, tobacco, vaping, or smoking is discouraged.

  • The use of any drugs, including any form of marijuana is prohibited and illegal.

  • Prescription medications must be recorded prior to the trip on the medical clearance form.

  • Driving any vehicle is prohibited.

  • Weapons or any items that could be viewed as a weapon are prohibited.

  • Do not swim in a pool, the ocean, or any body of water without someone to supervise.  

  • If you have friends or family in Senegal, they can come meet you during free time at our hotel in the evening or at a restaurant where participants are dining, but you may not leave the group.

Last updated May 26, 2024

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