Q-How do you get to Senegal?

A- We fly from Columbus to New York City and from there to Dakar.

We could fly direct from Washington D.C. as well.

The flight from NYC to Dakar is about 7 hours, give or take a little based on head winds, tail winds, and other things that change flight times. It’s not bad at all.

Q-What grade are you teaching?

A-I am working as Curriculum Director for the International School of Dakar in Senegal (West Africa), which is a preschool through grade 12 school.

Q-Do your children attend the same school?

A-Yes, my children will attend the same school. We will all be on the same schedule. They’ll be in eigth and fifth grade.

Q-What language does the country speak?

A-At school, everything is in English, except the daily French class. Outside of school, the official language is French, but many people also speak Wolof. I speak some rusty French, which I hope to brush off quickly.

Q-Where will you live?

A-The school provides a home for us not far from school. It is near other school employees and expats.

Q-Do they drive on the same side of the road as us?

A-Yes, but there aren’t stop signs or traffic lights like we are used to. There are many speedbumps to keep traffic slower and round-abouts at intersections. I did see everything from someone in a wheelchair to a donkey-drawn cart on the road with the cars and trucks.

Q-What’s the time difference?

A-It’s currently 4 hours ahead, but it will be 5 hours ahead after Ohio “falls back” in October.

Q-Will there be giraffes wandering around your house? Do you have to worry a lion will eat you?

A-No and no. The only animals I saw in the city were goats, oxen, and cats. We did see a giraffe along with other animals when we went to a national park.

Q-What are you going to do with your dogs?

A-Pepper, the collie, is staying with Guy in Granville, since he’ll be going back and forth. The two little ones are going with us. Since we are flying in the summer heat, they will go as temperature-controlled cargo. Not as cost effective as checked baggage, but will get them there!


7 Responses to FAQ’s

  1. My husband will be travelling to Senegal at the end of October. We are hearing conflicting thoughts on taking the yellow fever vaccine, what is your opinion? We are currently living in Italy and our doctors have told us yes and no. Thank you in advance.

    • bestbookihavenotread says:

      We were told in the US at our local health department that we had to have the Yellow Fever vaccine and received a yellow card that we carry with our passport to get into the country. All of us (my kids as well) had it with no problems. That said, I always err on the side of the the vaccine rather than the illness, but everyone needs to make their own decision. I’d check your government website to see if its required for you or not.

  2. Danielle says:

    Hello! I was so happy to find your blog. My son is a junior at The University of Pennsylvania and has just been accepted to it’s Senegal program. I thought there would be a bunch of kids going but-no- just mine. He will do a month at the Baobab Center in Dakar (and live in a homestay), then be a regular student at the university in Louisville. I have been told by Penn he will likely be the only American student there. I am very nervous about the idea. I did my undergraduate abroad experience in Kenya, but it was with a group that travelled together. Additionally, I have been told from some military connections that it is a risky place right now. (Though there do not seem to be government warnings) So- I ask you as a fellow teacher….should I be as worried as I am?

    • bestbookihavenotread says:

      I’m not quite sure where the Baobab center is in Dakar but I’ll find out. Is it a language center? I don’t think there is any reason to worry (besides the normal mom worry you do). I’ll send you my email and if you want, my cell phone number. I speak some French which helps me navigate-I’m guessing your son must be fluent if he’s studying here. I live in the Mermoz section of town-it’s near the school (ISD) if you saw that on a map. There is a young woman from Denison University (Ohio) who is coming here second semester who’ve I’ve talked to. She’s going to be studying at a university here and living with a family as well.
      I find the people extremely friendly here and feel safe. There are places I wouldn’t go hang out after dark, just like any big city. There are some teacher aides who are local at my school and help translate any Wolof or French that I can’t understand.
      It is a cash only society for the most part so that takes some getting used to-a couple of the big hotels take MC but that’s it.

  3. Danielle says:

    Oh, I almost cried when I got your response….I’m so happy to find an American mom to chat to about this. I would love your email address, thanks!


    • bestbookihavenotread says:


      Okay, Baobab Center is near the International School- probably a 10 minute walk. We have teachers who live in the Fann area, which it sounds like where your son will be with a home stay. We live on a street with Senegalese neighbors and their homes are quite modern/nice.
      My colleagues felt that a lot of the media last year about the election here was sensationalized by western media-not as large as the occupy wall street movement, but not anything you’d knowingly go hang out nearby.
      He’ll want light weight pants. Shorts on men are not the norm-it’s probably half jeans/pants and half men wearing boubous.

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