First Week in Senegal

Wow, I can’t believe we are wrapping up our first week of IBD! My group is in Dakar, Senegal working with a non-profit, African Consultants International, that provide language, culture, and study programs for Universities and individuals with the goal of global understanding. In addition, they also run a health research and education program.

Having never been to Africa, I was naive about what to expect. Let’s just say there aren’t lions and tigers roaming outside my window. There are plenty of sheep though! I have been saddened by the amount of poverty and pollution but enlightened and welcomed by the people and organization. The IBD course did a wonderful job of preparing us for cross-cultural experiences and what it is like to work in a foreign country. Senegal, for example, is very different than the United States in that it is much more group vs. individually oriented. The workplace is an extension of the family and decisions are made as such. I have had to adjust some of my business recommendations to meet this need.

It has been incredible taking what at first seemed like a complex and vast problem about a region and industry I knew nothing about and seeing the understanding and benefit unfold. I am focusing on the marketing plan for our organization. This a win-win situation with me being able to focus on a discipline I love and delivering great benefit to an organization that has done little to no outside marketing for the past forty years.

Today we had a particularly exciting day when we met with the US Ambassador to Senegal to talk about what sort of culture training US people received in Senegal. Tomorrow we are headed north to St. Louis to meet with a well-known University and enjoy our weekend outside of the city a bit.

I look forward to seeing what the next two weeks hold!

—Ashley T.

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