September 2, 2016

A Day In A Life of a Fellow - Senegal #EnglishForAll


My name is Robin Hinders and I'm an English Language Fellow in Thies, Senegal.

Thies is about 70 kilometers from Dakar.  Even though it's considered a big city it doesn't feel that way.  It's very easy to get around. Actually many of the relationships that I have created here outside of my professional realm is due to the fact that I walk places, and we see the same people when I walk. So I've developed friendships that way. The University of Thies has three campuses. I'm at the University campus where most of the students are majoring in applied foreign languages, business management, economics, and tourism.

So the university setting here is very different from what I've experienced in the United States. Typically my classes have 90 students. The classrooms also have limited resources, so I have had to rethink some of my teaching approaches.

But the students are very intelligent. They have adapted very quickly and so now it's much easier for me to give an explanation, and they have a much better feel for what I'm expecting of them, that I want them to interact, I want them to make noise. I want them to learn from each other. In Senegal the lifestyle between city living and rural living is very different and so fortunately I've had some opportunities to get into the rural areas. I've been able to visit the small village of Fandene and go to an English language club at the school there.  Most schools have an English language club, and they're very energetic and dynamic groups of students who get together because they want to learn English, and so it's a great environment for students to do a lot of learning outside of their regular classroom routine. Becoming an English Language Fellow is a real commitment and so if you're considering it, I think it's important for you to take seriously the fact that you will face some challenges, but at the same time facing those challenges and overcoming those challenges can be really rewarding, and they can be a great way for you to improve your skills, to develop yourself professionally, really have a much deeper appreciation for another culture and to have another level of understanding of the world.