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How I Ended Up in Dakar, Senegal

Updated: Jul 5

In 2018 if you had told me I would be living & teaching in Senegal I would've responded with: "How, Sway?" 


Dakar wasn't even on my radar until October 2018 when I attended an informational on an English teaching program. After the informational, I immediately expressed my interest in the program and applied. I interviewed and then…


Nothing.


In the meantime, I focused on finishing my undergraduate studies, applying to other opportunities and preparing to spend three months in Italy. For now Senegal was out of sight and out of mind.



Jash in Dakar, Senegal at the beach
Dakar, Senegal (2019)

When my time in Italy was coming to a close, I decided to start following up with previous opportunities. Being abroad for a long period of time gave me a look into what my life could look like. I had already accepted a job offer in engineering back home in the States, but continuing to travel a lot more fun.


That’s what I came across the email thread with the Senegalese program.


I sent an email to the principal and head of the English department to inquire about the status of my application. They were under the impression that I already knew they wanted me.


I was shocked.


I had other opportunities to hear back from, but this was the confirmation I needed to know that a desk job in Delaware was not my next step.


After a plethora of emails with the principal and English department staff, I finally decided I was going to do the program in Senegal. 


The program was all volunteer work (ZERO pay), but room & board was provided along with various other amenities like a local SIM card and airport transportation. I've said it once and I'll say it again, I could care less about getting paid at the time. 


Starting my journey through work exchange was one of the best decisions I've ever made. It allowed me to really fall in love with the work and lifestyle without being worried about a paycheck.

Lac Rose, Dakar, Senegal (2019)

I didn't have a country in mind or a program I was dying to do. I was waiting for the best opportunity to come along and Dakar fit the bill. I had traveled to Africa once before and knew it was not going to be my last time on the continent. 


After a few more correspondence with the school and ironing out logistics, everything was confirmed. I was going to the motherland.


That one informational at my university turned into five months of living, teaching and exploring in Senegal.


If I played it safe I would've been working in Delaware. Nothing against Delaware, buuut I'm going to choose Dakar every time. From fresh mangoes to summer year around, I regret nothing. 


I fly by the seat of pants and go where the wind blows me. I never know where I'll end up next, but it's led to some of the best experiences and relationships.


I’m always open to new opportunities and I'm just waiting for the next one to find me.


Long story short: If you’re still in college, see what your study abroad/global office has to offer. 


A random flyer in the hallways of my university caught my eye and I ended up living in West Africa for five months. I was a frequent flyer and if travel is important to you, you should be too. 


Don’t sleep on the resources right at your fingertips. If you're already finished with school look into programs that will allow you to see the world without breaking the break or link with me and I'll help you make that move!



Joyriding through life can definitely be unpredictable, but it's taken me to some amazing places and I'm just getting started!


Have you ever ended up somewhere expected while traveling? Where were you and how'd it turn out? Drop your stories in the comments!


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