University of Washington

Study Abroad Programs

Students with an interest in other study abroad opportunities in Africa will find this section as a recourse for the various opportunities offered through the University of Washington and other organizations. For more information on the UW Office of International Programs and Exchanges, visit their website. Study Abroad information is categorized in the following way on our website. Please click on the information you want to go to that particular section:


Information session for Study Abroad in South Africa 2014
Information session for two exciting programs in South Africa in Summer 2014: "Sociology: Measuring and Understanding Health and Population in South Africa" (Summer B! ) and "Bantu base Afrika: Linguistics and Culture" (Exploration Seminar) the Sociology program is led by Prof Sam Clark from Sociology, and Clarissa Surek-Clark, from Linguistics; and the Exploration Seminar is co-led by Clarissa Surek-Clark and Prof Alicia Wassink (also from Linguistics).
When: Tuesday 1/14/2014 3:30-4:30pm; Thursday 1/23 from 1-2pm; Wednesday 1/29 from 2:30-3:30pm
Where: Guggenheim 415L (Linguistics)






June 18 – July 20, 2011
7-credit Spring + 13-credit Summer program


To apply to this program, you must first sign up for an information session (you will receive a link to the application when it becomes available):
Fill out the Catalyst Survey to Sign up for an Information Session



The African Studies Program and the University Honors Program at the University of Washington Seattle are pleased to offer an intensive ethnographic methods study abroad program based in Magbaiamba N'donhanhu chiefdom in Northern Sierra Leone, West Africa during Summer 2011. Our work over this intensive period is both research based and experiential. Students accepted to the Sierra Leone 2011 community will initiate projects that build a foundation for larger, longitudinal studies, culminating in graduate and professional work; moreover, we will work to grasp and analyze complex spaces and signs of cultural, colonial, and historical alterity that force students to stare beyond the abyss of self into the depth of human struggle and difference.

Following an ethos of extending theory into praxis as well as academic excellence into global advocacy, we aim to provide a small cohort of highly qualified students from across campus the opportunity for hands on experience in a conflict ravaged but rebuilding country. After a long-term civil war (1992-2003) Sierra Leone is in an ongoing process of rebuilding and reconciliation. One of the poorest countries in the world, it is nonetheless a country rich in history, resources, culture and people. As it rebuilds we aim to have students see and participate while stretching their boundaries and self-knowledge.



This program consists of a recommended course in Winter, two required courses in Spring, and 13 credits during our intensive five weeks in the country during Summer A term. The courses will be as follows:

Winter 2011

Recommended five credits of Honors 231 B (see Honors Winter 2011 Courses).

Spring 2011

* Required five credits of Honors 232/SISAF 49X
* Required two credits of Honors 397

Summer 2011

* Five credits of Honors 230/SISAF 49X
* Five credits of Honors 394/SISAF 49X
* Three credits of Honors 397

Honors students may count these courses towards the Honors Core requirements or request SISAF credit. Non-Honors students may request the HONORS designations (which count towards either I&S or VLPA requirements within the Areas of Knowledge) or SISAF 49X. Participants should check with their advisers to determine how these credits can count towards departmental requirements and need to discuss what types of credit they will receive with both the instructors and their respective departments.

In the Spring courses participants will begin preparation for research projects that expand theory into radically different real human practices. A tightly focused research proposal will be due at the end of Spring Quarter. Possible studies include public health, women's reproductive knowledge, rural-based Islam and Christianity, subsistence agricultural practices, local forms of trade, chiefdom level politics, dance, and ritual performance among others. The program directors will guide participants through the process of selecting and researching a topic. We will begin to learn Krio (the lingua franca), and basic Landogo in Spring and encourage participants to form study groups outside of class; daily language lessons will continue throughout the trip. One's dedication to language acquisition will greatly determine success on the ground.

Students are required to prepare a substantial research paper that will be due to the program directors on the last day of Summer term 2011.




Once in Sierra Leone we will spend a few days in Freetown, approximately four weeks in Kagbere (the chiefdom headquarters), and a few days in Freetown prior to our final departure. The majority of our experience will be in rural Northern Sierra Leone in Kagbere - the Chiefdom headquarters of Magbiamba N'donhaanhu under the rule of Chief Kande Finoh III. A rural town of approximately four hundred people, Kagbere is based in cycles of subsistence farming. Although agriculture determines the life-cycle, Kagbere is a transforming space of multiple technological modernities. Thirty miles off the main road, Kagbere has a Primary Health Care facility, three schools, a small shop, a Wesleyan Church and a Catholic Church, and a Mosque.

The village is small enough to not overwhelm, but large enough to accommodate multiple research projects. In Kagbere students will live in local housing and we will follow the local pattern of communal afternoon and evening meals followed by group discussion, problem-solving, and daily language instruction. There will be regular opportunities for advising and group discussions, and the program directors will work to facilitate connections to and interactions within the community. Each participant, however, will need to display a fine balance of initiative, self-direction, and patience.

Daily activities will include, among other things, interviewing individuals and groups, participating in farming, cooking, and household tasks, and group walks to surrounding villages.

There is no running water, electricity, or plumbing. Kagbere is defined by rural, subsistence, religious, and political practices. To reiterate, there are NO Western facilities in Kagbere. This is a unique trip that requires physical, emotional, spiritual, community, and project determination.


In Freetown

Participants and program directors will all stay in a local (African) guesthouse in the Aberdeen neighborhood of Freetown for the first two/three days of the trip, as well as the final two/three days before departure. Students will share rooms.

In Kagbere

Accommodation in Kagbere is rustic, with no running water or electricity, and mostly in mud-brick houses with thatched roofs. All participants will have their own room and bed, but must provide their own mosquito net. While most participants will be housed in the veranda room (with a separate entrance) of family homes, some may be housed in individual mud-brick huts near family homes, and some in the chief's guesthouse. Room assignments will be made by the program directors.

Kelly and Speed have a house in the center of Kagbere that is a five-minute walk from each student's room and are available 24 hours a day.


Brook Kelly

UW Honors Academic Adviser & Experiential Learning Coordinator

Brook Kelly has worked in Honors since 2005 and was herself an Honors student at the University of Washington. A recipient of a 2003 Bonderman International Travel Fellowship, she now coordinates the Fellowship for the Honors Program, in addition to directing study abroad programs in Sierra Leone and Kenya. She has extensive travel experience in East, Southern, and West Africa, Mexico, and Ecuador, and is an active worker for cultural and global advocacy. Kelly is conversational in Krio and adept at communicating across language barriers.

Clarke Speed

UW Honors professor and Anthropologist

Clarke Speed has taught in Honors since 1996 (as well as in Anthropology, Comparative Literature, and OMA-D) with an emphasis on African Studies and Political Economy. His work is focused on the intersection of religious and political life in Northern Sierra Leone and also in Ghana and Cameroon. He has worked and lived in Kagbere since 1987 and has extensive relationships and connections throughout Sierra Leone. Speed is fluent in Krio, the lingua franca, conversational in Landogo, and familiar with many other regional languages, including Temne and Fula.

Reverend Kempson Fornah

UW Sierra Leone study abroad Local Coordinator

Pastor Fornah is the Program's Local Coordinator and in-country Language Instructor. He is an invaluable instructor and cultural guide whose knowledge and skills provide a solid foundation for all participants. Rev. Fornah is from the Landogo tribe, and has many connections and relations to the chiefdom, and is a foremost authority on the Landogo language in Sierra Leone.


Program costs are TBD. Course costs include accommodation, in-country transportation, and group meals.

Course fee does not include an IP&E concurrent enrollment fee ($250); airfare (approximately $3000 roundtrip, depending on when and where you buy your tickets); immunizations, personal travel insurance, and personal spending money.

IP&E will automatically charge student accounts for all program payments and fees.


Students may use their regular financial aid and scholarship funds for study abroad. The exception is any scholarship in the form of a tuition waiver. Tuition waivers cannot be used to pay study abroad program fees. You may want to check with the Office of Student Financial Aid in Schmitz Hall for more information.

There are funding opportunities through the Global Opportunities Program, and the Office of International Programs and Exchanges also maintains a funding opportunities list.


A $350 deposit is required at the time of acceptance. This $350 deposit is non-refundable. Any student withdrawing from the program within 4 months of the program start date will be responsible for a minimum of 25% of the total program fee. In addition, there may be other unrecoverable fixed program costs. Any student withdrawing from the program within 2 months of the program start date will be responsible for 50% of the total program fee. Any student withdrawing from the program within 1 month of the program start date will be responsible for 75% of the total program fee. Withdrawal after a program begins involves the loss of the entire program fee.

Once accepted to the program in order to formally withdraw, you must do the following, in writing:

1. Contact the program directors.
2. Submit a signed IPE Withdrawal Form to the UW Office of International Programs and Exchanges.
3. Provide notice in writing to the program director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.
4. Your withdrawal date is considered the date (business day) your withdrawal paperwork is received by the UW Office of International Programs and Exchanges.


To Europe (either London or Brussels)

Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from our rendezvous point in Europe (either in Heathrow International Airport in London, England or Burssels International Airport in Brussels, Belgium, TBD) by a select day and time (TBA). You may wish to explore budget fares offered on websites such as Travelocity and Expedia, as well as STA/Council Travel in the University District.

Once the entire group has assembled we will all fly together into Lungi International Airport in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on a flight that will be booked for the group (logistics TBA). The Program begins once participants have boarded the Europe-Freetown flight and should a student miss that flight she/he will be dropped from the program and not be able to rejoin the group.

In Sierra Leone

All travel within Sierra Leone will occur via Program-arranged transportation and by program director approval.

All participants must have a passport valid for the duration of the program, and for one year after the program ends. It may take as long as six weeks (or longer!) to obtain or renew a passport. All participants must also provide proof of having received the yellow fever vaccination, via the International Certificate of Vaccination (known as the Yellow Card).



Selection to the program is competitive and acceptance will be based on application materials, interviews, and student's demonstrated motivation to challenge themselves intellectually across academic disciplines and cultures and to work both individually and in groups. The program directors will review applications via the above link as they are received and should they wish to interview an applicant they will contact them with additional supplementary questions and interview times.

Selection to the program will be made on a rolling basis.

To apply to this program, you must first sign up for an information session (you will receive a link to the application when it becomes available):
Fill out the Catalyst Survey to Sign up for an Information Session »


For more information please contact Brook Kelly (



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General Information

The University of Washington offers a number of opportunities for students to study, attend classes, and undertake research in various parts of Africa. Most programs require junior standing or above, completion of at least one African studies course, and a minimum GPA of 3.0. Some are direct exchange programs in which the student pays his/her usual UW tuition, while others specify a program fee.

Attending school in the country of study broadens student knowledge but, more importantly, it sharpens his or her understanding of the complexities of both local and global problems. Being there encourages an appreciation of the beauty and value of cultural traditions, while simultaneously providing opportunities for input from Western perspectives.

Foreign Study may be pursued as an early fall start during the summer, for one quarter/semester or a full academic year and coursework is credited as appropriate. Coursework completed in Africa will generally count towards the Minor.

There are several options for study abroad including UW Departmental programs, UW affiliated or direct exchanges or other study abroad programs that are not affiliated with the University of Washington. This page gives an overview of the different programs available for study in Africa. For more information, please visit the Office of International Programs and Exchanges website.

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University of Washington Departmental Programs:

University of Washington Departmental Programs are study abroad opportunities that are organized by University of Washington departments. The following programs have been approved for UW credit:

Exploration Seminar to Zambia:

Professor Leslie Asbaugh of UW-Bothell leads a group of UW students on a trip to Zambia, titled "Urban and Rural Livelihoods and the Story of Economic Development" Click HERE for more information on the 2010 program.

CHID Exploration Seminars:

Exploration Seminars allow students to get out of the classroom and into the world by offering an “early fall start” between the summer and fall quarters. Previous years have found seminars in Africa or related to Africa, such as:

For more information about the CHID exploration seminars, please visit the Exploration Seminar Website.

CHID Departmental Program in Cape Town, South Africa

The Program in the Comparative History of Ideas is widely recognized and respected for its innovative and transformative international programs. CHID believes that a “foreign” experience should be a part of every liberal education, not as a means of escape or self-affirmation, but as a path toward critical realistic participation in a world that is both increasingly unified and persistently diverse. There is a departmental study abroad program in Cape Town, South Africa each winter quarter. For more information, contact Doug Merrell at or visit the CHID website.

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University of Washington Affiliated Programs & Direct Exchanges:

Affiliated programs and direct exchanges are study abroad opportunities that are organized by UW-member consortia or outside providers and universities.  These programs (SIT and CIEE) have been evaluated by the University of Washington and have been approved in advance for UW credit. For more details on African study options, plus funding opportunities for international study, go to the website of the Office of International Programs and Exchanges

Current Direct Exchanges:

Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) Programs:

CIEE creates and administers programs that allow high school and university students and educators to study and teach abroad. Among many activities, CIEE administers 95 study abroad programs in over 33 host countries including Ghana, Senegal and South Africa.

School for International Training (SIT) Programs:

The School for International Training (SIT) aims to prepare students to be interculturally effective leaders, professionals, and citizens. In so doing, SIT fosters a worldwide network of individuals and organizations committed to responsible engagement in a changing world. SIT has programs in over 56 countries around the world, including 13 African countries:

Scholarships ranging from $1,500-$5,000 are available for SIT Programs. Contact the Office of International Programs and Exchanges for more information. The IPE scholarship application is available here. More information about SIT scholarships can be found on their website.

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Global IE3 Internships:

IE3 Global Internships was created by the Oregon University System to provide university students with an improved understanding of global issues and equip them with professional experience and international competence. Since the beginning of the program in 1995, over 1000 interns have participated in the program. For more information, visit the Global IE3 Internship website.

Students earn academic credit on their home campuses while abroad on their internship. IE3 Global Internships arranges placement and provides pre-departure orientation, international health insurance, learning tools, monitoring and support. A program fee is charged in lieu of tuition. The program fee includes academic credit (up to 12 quarter credit hours the first term). Most forms of financial aid can be applied toward the costs of an internship. For current internship openings, visit the Global IE3 Current Openings List.

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Additional Study Abroad Opportunities:

There are numerous study abroad options unaffiliated with the University of Washington. If you wish to investigate non-UW options, excellent sources for information include:

Please Note: In order to concurrently enroll in the UW while participating in one of these options, you will be required to follow the instructions outlined in the "Unaffiliated Foreign Study Opportunities" packet.

Links to Other Study Abroad Opportunities:

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African Studies Program
University of Washington
419 Thomson Hall
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195

Ben Gardner / Chair
Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell

Monica Rojas-Stewart
Assistant Director
206.616.0998 office
206.685.0668 fax

Harry Murphy
ASP Librarian