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Why I had to Leave Senegal Early

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

*Disclaimer: I had a very unique experience to say the least & my experience does not reflect the average life in Senegal.*

If you're new to my page, I moved to Senegal in September 2019 to volunteer teach at a boarding school, but I had to skate. Voila, you're caught up.

SO, I lived on campus with my students and the supervisors. As a 22 year old female I was seen as a child instead of a member of the staff which became a HUGE problem. Plus, as an American, there is a standard of professionalism that I expected and was LACKING. These issues continued to get worse so I had to make like a rash & break out. See what I did there?

On top of that, the job that was described to me before leaving was not the job I was doing. I was told I would be assisting main teachers and leading conversation lessons. Yeah, I thought. I was a full blown head teacher for both the 10th & 11th grade classes. There was virtually no assistance whatsoever, but everybody showed up when I did something wrong... I had two of the biggest classes in the school and was on my own. I had no choice, but to step up to the plate and grow as a teacher.

As a teacher, this is not uncommon and more so the norm, but that doesn't make it right. My volunteer experience in Italy was amazing and I was looking to teach in the same capacity. I found a program that fit the bill, but I was catfished. I went from conversation teacher to full blown head English teacher and that was not what was agreed upon. If living and working abroad taught me anything it's adaptability and flexibility, but that was a lot.

Although my experience was stressful and I decided to end it early I would still do it all again. NO QUESTIONS ASKED. My students were the highlight of my time in Senegal hands down. We lived together, learned together, shared meals together, sat in hot buses together, played ping pong and basketball together. My students became my family. I also gained so much experience as a teacher from lesson plans to activities to grading. I live my life without regrets and see every situation as a learning opportunity. My experience in Senegal taught me about classroom management, preparing lessons for extended periods of time, and, ultimately, how to advocate for myself.

Living and working abroad is not always beautiful sunsets and delicious food. There are good days and bad days. There are ups and there are downs. For me, the good has to outweigh the bad or I'm out. Finding a lifestyle that brings me joy and happiness is a top priority for me. Being comfortable and at peace on a daily basis is non negotiable.

Deciding to leave early was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made, but I had to do what was best for me. I definitely shed some tears on the car ride to the airport. The friendships and connections I made in Senegal go way past my 5 month experience & Senegal has not seen the last of me.



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