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Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14


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    [post_content] => I'm not great at introducing myself online, so here's the bio I've written for the BYP "meet the Participants" page! I'm excited to get to know you all in real life at the end of this week!

I am a child of hippies and mountains—I’ve been hiking, camping, walking barefoot, and listening to Bob Marley since the day I was born in Telluride, Colorado. After moving to Boulder around the age of three, I attended a bilingual elementary school where I became fluent in Spanish and got my first taste of a new culture. In high school, I was an officer in my school’s Unity Council (a cultural unity and anti-discrimination club), a commissioner for our freshman mentorship program, and a member of a few other clubs. I also volunteered outside of school for our local Humane Society and for BeadForLife, a nonprofit that helps women in Uganda lift themselves out of poverty. The summer before Junior year, I took two months off to live in the Dominican Republic as a volunteer for Amigos de las Américas. All of these experiences have certainly whetted my appetite for travel and new cultures, and I’m beyond excited for a challenging, rewarding, and learning-packed Senegalese expedition!
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Introduction

Anna Simon,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

I’m not great at introducing myself online, so here’s the bio I’ve written for the BYP “meet the Participants” page! I’m excited to get to know you all in real life at the end of this week! I am a child of hippies and mountains—I’ve been hiking, camping, walking barefoot, and listening to Bob Marley […]

Posted On

08/20/13

Author

Anna Simon

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    [post_content] => Hello Princeton Bridge Year Senegal students! Paul's list of packing tips couldn't have come at a more opportune time. As always whenever I'm getting ready for another adventure, the house is a mess, my to-do list is a mile long, and I would much rather spend my time with friends and family than struggling to fit that extra pair of shoes in my bag.

On the other hand, I'm excited to get back to Senegal. I left Senegal for the US at the beginning of June, and lately I've started dreaming of plates of ceebujen (fish and rice), chaotic markets, and beautiful beaches with an energetic soundtrack of Senegalese music playing in the background.

And so today I powered up Pandora and put together a station of Senegalese artists to groove along to as I pack. My favorite thing about Senegalese music is the mix of new and old and the surprising instrument combos - traditional kora and djembe with electric bass and horns for example. And it works!

Youssou N'Dour is easily one of, if not the, most famous Senegalese artist. Interesting fact, he briefly ran for President during the 2012 election and is now the Minister of Tourism and Culture. Two songs of his to check out: Don't Walk Away featuring Sting and Birima.

Two of my favorite artists are Baaba Maal and the Malian duo Amadou & Mariam. Baaba Maal is from the northern part of Senegal along Senegal River and much of his work draws from his Pulaar culture. His music is a great way to gain more information on an ethnic group with which I'm not very familiar. Baaba Maal's Yela is a fun song and Television is the leading track on his newest album. Amadou & Mariam hail from Mali and have won me over with their mix of traditional elements with modern rock and blues. I'm currently digging their new song, Mon Amour Ma Chérie.

For those out there into hiphop and rap, Senegal definitely has you covered. Sister Fa is a great example of how many artists are using their music as a platform for advocacy. I first learned of her through her work speaking out against female genital cutting. Her song Milyamba draws attention to the plight of women in Senegal (and the English translation is even provided in the song's description).

Hopefully packing will go by quickly with a soundtrack to keep things interesting, and I can't wait to discover more of the music of Senegal with you all over the next year!

Cheers,
Elke
Princeton Bridge Year Senegal Assistant On-site Director
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Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

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A soundtrack for Packing: Princeton Bridge Year Senegal

Elke Schmidt,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

Hello Princeton Bridge Year Senegal students! Paul’s list of packing tips couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. As always whenever I’m getting ready for another adventure, the house is a mess, my to-do list is a mile long, and I would much rather spend my time with friends and family than struggling to […]

Posted On

08/13/13

Author

Elke Schmidt

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    [post_content] => Hi Princeton Bridge Year Senegal participants!

Our adventure in Senegal is about to begin! And for me it’s starting today! As I write this, I’m on the train from my hometown of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne down to London to catch my plane to Dakar. Around me the hushed tones of polite British conversations mix with the chinking of teas being stirred. Out the window, we swiftly pass through the ‘green and pleasant land’ of the English countryside, where the lush green and yellow fields, grazing sheep and woodland stand in contrast to the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa, where I spend more of my time. As we travel, stretches of blue skies change to heavy rainclouds, and back again, as I’m pleased to be reminded that some things never change, such as my homeland’s typical changeable summer weather. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Shakespeare asked, I can only assume that he was addressing someone indecisive, to say the least.

By tomorrow this will all be distant to me, as I am immersed in the sights and sounds of Dakar. I’ll be there for about a week to prepare our program and do handover with Christy, my predecessor as Senegal BYP Director. I’m looking forward to building relationships with the homestay families, visiting the service sites and lovingly participating in the communities of Yoff. Perhaps most of all, I’m looking forward to Senegal gradually transforming in my perception from a place on a map to become my home.

Over the last few days I’ve been going through something like what you will probably shortly be experiencing – goodbyes to family and friends, last-minute shopping and packing. To be fair, I’ve only been back in the UK for a week (after leading a summer Dragons course in Jordan), so for me it was more a case of hellos and goodbyes to family and friends, plus unpacking and re-packing. This morning my parents waved me off at the train station, just as they did when I took my first big foray into international travel on my gap year, about 15 years ago. I’ve learnt a lot since then, of course, including about how I prepare for travel and living abroad, which I’d love to share with you as you prepare for our program!

1. Get planning!

It can feel like there’s loads to do before our Bridge Year Program. Pre-course reading, shopping, packing, saying goodbyes, wrapping up life at home…the list goes on. Plus all your regular activities, perhaps work, sports, spending time with friends. It can be easy to start to feel overwhelmed. We have about two weeks until we meet at Princeton to start our program. To make sure you fit in all the prep, fun-times and goodbyes, write up plans or even a schedule for everything you want to get done, and tick things off when they’re done. You’ll soon see everything you need to do before Princeton is really manageable, leaving you with more time to have fun (see points 3 and 4 below!).

2. What to pack?

Packing everything you may need for the next 10 months is a daunting task! I know, because I just did it and the fruits of my shopping, sorting, piling and re-sorting are now in the 45 liter rucksack and the daypack sitting next to me. I have a tendency to over-pack, so if you’re like me, it’s important to be ruthless. Over the last few days, I’ve pondered, “How many Arab robes will I need in Senegal?” “Can I fit in this teapot-for-one tea-set?” (remember, I’m a tea-drinking Brit) and “Is it worth taking that 800-page brick of a novel Anna Karenina, that I started reading a few months ago?” The answer to these and similar questions were, unfortunately, “None, no and no!” When packing, ask yourself, “do I really need to take this with me?” I found going through the packing list step-by-step really helpful, and it also highlights what items are available to buy in Dakar.

3. Spend time with your loved ones!

Soon you’ll be in Princeton and Senegal, making new friends in our group and with members of the local communities. Before then, make sure you spend quality time with your friends and family, as you won’t be with them for many months! It’s great to celebrate your upcoming adventure with farewell parties, but don’t forget the joys of spending quality time with loved ones too. For me, this included a walk along the beach with my parents and a home-cooked meal with one of my oldest friends. Schedule times for one-on-one catch ups, hanging out and meals with a few friends as part of your pre-departure preparations.

4. Look after yourself!

When I’m busy with travel preparation and goodbyes, my own self-care is the first thing to slip. My trips to the gym become less frequent and my sleep gets cut in the face of busy days and social evenings! Our program in Senegal is going to be exciting, busy and tiring, especially at the start. We need you to arrive at Princeton well rested and full of energy. Please take the time to look after yourself before our program begins – find ways to unwind and relax, continue your favorite sports and get some sleep.

5. Post a Yak to say ‘Hello!’

As Yeats said, “There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t met yet.” And I can’t wait to meet you and for you to meet each other! Before turning up at Princeton, it would be great for everyone in our group to get to know each other a little. That’s where this Yak board comes in – please post a Yak to introduce yourself and what you’re looking forward to about our program. You can also ask any questions you have about the program and how to prepare – if you’re thinking about it, then your colleagues are probably wondering too. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you post.

Before orientation at Princeton, Elke, Babacar and I will also be reaching out to you by phone or Skype to get to know you and answer any questions you may have.

6. Fean Philosophy Point #1

Over my years of working internationally, I’ve come up with a few philosophy points to guide me through difficulties. I’m now up to 5 points, but number 1 is the one I usually go back to. If you’re thinking about our trip to Senegal and feeling overwhelmed or pangs of anxiety, then this one’s for you: “There’s no point in worrying about it, because it’s going to be fine.” That’s it. Yes, there will be lots of challenges, but you will be supported by a great team of instructors and participants. Have faith in the process, smile and look forward to the awesome experience we are embarking on.

7. Get excited!

Finally…yay! We’re going to Senegal and we have so much to look forward to! Together, we’ll build deep relationships with local communities, develop profound understandings of Senegalese culture, learn to communicate in languages that will start as incomprehensible sounds, and push ourselves out of our comfort zones to gain an even stronger sense of who we are and who we want to be. Our program is an adventure into the unknown, to be filled with learning, challenge and fun. There’s so much to get excited for!

As the start of our program approaches, please feel free to get in touch on the Yak board or by email to pfean@yahoo.com.

I’m really looking forward to hearing from you and getting to know you very soon!

All the best,

Paul

On-Site Director, Princeton Bridge Year Senegal Program
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Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

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7 Tips for Preparing to Travel! Princeton Bridge Year Senegal

Paul Fean,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

Hi Princeton Bridge Year Senegal participants! Our adventure in Senegal is about to begin! And for me it’s starting today! As I write this, I’m on the train from my hometown of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne down to London to catch my plane to Dakar. Around me the hushed tones of polite British conversations mix with the chinking of […]

Posted On

08/12/13

Author

Paul Fean

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    [post_content] => Salaam Alekum. Bismillah.

Welcome to the 2013-2014 Senegal Princeton Bridge Year Program! Congratulations for taking on the challenge of living in a new country, delving into a new culture and language, and serving alongside local leaders. I can’t wait until we meet in August at Princeton and then continue on to Senegal together.

Paul, Babacar and I are now spread across the globe, but in June we all found ourselves in the Sierra Nevada Mountains for 10 days of training (and fun!) with other Where There Be Dragons staff. It was the perfect place to get to know the team and to share our visions for the coming year as we each bring a unique perspective and set of skills.

I first went to Senegal in 2009 while an undergrad at the University of Minnesota. As a French Studies and Global Studies double major, I yearned for an opportunity to discover more of the Francophone world. I had been studying French for almost 15 years and my travels had concentrated primarily on Western Europe. As a high school exchange student to Austria, I learned how wonderful it was to live with a local family and to build such strong relationships. So, when given the opportunity to study abroad for an academic year in college, I jumped at the chance to combine service and a homestay experience with study in West Africa.

For a year, I saw Senegal from many different perspectives: I lived with a host family in Dakar and another in Sokone (a semi-rural town in the Sine-Saloum delta region near the Gambia); I studied at the West African Research Center with Senegalese faculty and conducted independent research on the Senegalese education system; and I interned with a local education organization. That year in Senegal challenged my conceptions of development, taught me the importance of cultural exchange, and started a deep love for the region.

After graduating, I left Minnesota for Washington D.C. where I started working with an international organization with programs across West and East Africa. Eager to continue to support their nonformal education and human rights programs in rural sub-Saharan African villages, I moved to Dakar in September 2012. Working out of their international offices, I found myself easily slipping back into the slower pace of life. I loved the unending supply of fish and rice, figuring out the local bus routes, and dancing to drumming at a moment’s notice. I enjoyed field visits the most, long days sitting with program participants over attaya (the three cups of tea) and hearing first-hand their experiences in the community program.

One of my favorite Wolof proverbs is nit nit, lay garabam – a person is another person’s medicine. Senegal is all about the personal connections. More than the great food, or the language challenge, or the tourist sites, it’s the people that keep drawing me back – those that I’m looking forward to visiting for the second, third, or twentieth time, and also those that I’ll be meeting for the first time. I hope that you’ll find the same with your host family, your friends in Yoff, your colleagues at your service site, and other new connections from your travels.

I am overjoyed to be embarking on this journey with you. I had the pleasure to spend time with last year’s Senegal Bridge Year group, and I can’t wait to be a part of this year’s team. This will be my first year with Where There Be Dragons. My goal for this year is to empower you to take on leadership and ownership of the experience. I wish to support you in tailoring the experience to your interests and your own lines of inquiry. Senegal is an extremely dynamic country that I feel can find a place in all of your hearts.

It will be a year of challenges and rewards, questions and more questions, exploration and discovery. I can’t wait to share a place so close to my heart with you and to learn from your experiences as well.

Please don’t hesitate to be in touch via email, phone or Yak if you have any questions or just to say hello!  I should have fairly regular email access for most of July and August.

Jerejef! Bis bald!

Thank you and until soon,

 

Elke Schmidt

Assistant On-Site Director, Senegal Princeton Bridge Year Program

Where There Be Dragons

 

Email: elkeschmidt.dragons@gmail.com

Cell: 952 913 5050
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Bismillah – Welcome to Senegal Princeton Bridge Year Students!

Elke Schmidt,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

Salaam Alekum. Bismillah. Welcome to the 2013-2014 Senegal Princeton Bridge Year Program! Congratulations for taking on the challenge of living in a new country, delving into a new culture and language, and serving alongside local leaders. I can’t wait until we meet in August at Princeton and then continue on to Senegal together. Paul, Babacar […]

Posted On

07/25/13

Author

Elke Schmidt

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    [post_content] =>  (Having received his MA in English in 1995, Babacar has worked as an English teacher in Senegal since 1997. During that time he has held a variety of positions in the Senegalese public school system; at the primary level, the middle-school level, and as a headmaster. Following a profound curiosity and eagerness to learn, Babacar has worked with a plethora of student groups and delivered lectures and activities with a diversity of organizations outside of Where There Be Dragons. A native of Yoff, Babacar will help with coordinating participant home-stays, internships, service projects and guest lectures. Babacar has been the Princeton Bridge Year Local Coordinator since 2012. He loves reading and being with young people as a coach, mentor, and friend, but will always consider himself first and foremost a student of their unique perspective and wisdom.)

Assalamu aleykum

I am a teacher. This is my job and my ambition. It implies working with and for learners and young people. I am a Dragons instructor so I am expected at taking my students into the unknown fringes of maps. I live in a global village, small and explored. I work for an American organization, so Americans are my next-door neighbors.

We have built a village. We have roads and vessels to take us around; we might even have a vision and a future. This is the next great chapter. Let’s not skip an essential step. We have to get together to hear, see, and feel. However, we are entitled to do it the best possible way, through listening, contemplation and participation.

I live in Yoff; part of Dakar. Although it is in the capital city of Senegal, it is very much a village, and I am a villager at heart. I love its sand paths and overcrowded compounds. Wandering the busy streets and greeting cousins, relatives, and neighbors make my days. Yoff is loud, and overwhelming at times, but warm and smiling most of the time.

We are a team, two wonderful instructors and myself, Babacar. We have a mission. We have families, friends, and places to visit. We have a dream, to have you enjoy the warmth, the hospitality and diversity of the country. Our truest desire is to awaken the global citizens in you, the conscious leaders of our shared future. We will take you on an adventure that we hope will be transformative.

I am the father of four– two boys and two girls–and a fifth is on his way. I am waiting with excitement for you to arrive and to start the adventure. I look forward to fostering relationships with you that will last a lifetime. I will welcome you to this country that will soon become yours.
    [post_title] => Going forward
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Going forward

Babacar Mbaye,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

 (Having received his MA in English in 1995, Babacar has worked as an English teacher in Senegal since 1997. During that time he has held a variety of positions in the Senegalese public school system; at the primary level, the middle-school level, and as a headmaster. Following a profound curiosity and eagerness to learn, Babacar […]

Posted On

07/25/13

Author

Babacar Mbaye

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    [post_content] => Dear Senegal Bridge Year Participants,

Congratulations!  I would like to congratulate you on both your success in being selected to participate in the Princeton Bridge Year Program in Senegal and for your courage in taking this step into the adventure of the unknown.  The Bridge Year Program is an incredible journey to experience the richness and diversity of Senegalese society.  I am sure it will be filled with inspiration, challenge and reward.  I am looking forward to working with you throughout the Bridge Year, together we will explore, discuss issues, share insights and deepen our understandings of Senegal, our cultures and ourselves.  I’m very excited to meet you in Princeton in August and begin our adventures.

My name is Paul (or ‘Dr Paul’ to many in the field) and as the On-Site Director, I will be supporting you in Senegal throughout the Bridge Year and working to develop a safe, deeply educational and really fun program of experiential learning and exploration.  We have a stellar team to ensure the Bridge Year is the best possible experience for you.  Our team comprises Babacar, an experienced Senegalese educator, and Elke, who brings great energy, teaching skills and knowledge of development issues.  Having got to know both Babacar and Elke at Dragons orientation, I am looking forward to collaborating and contributing our diverse skills to build a unique experience for our group.

As we’ll be working together closely over the coming year, I would like to introduce myself and share why I’m so passionate about our Bridge Year Program in Senegal.  It’s over ten years since I first left my hometown of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK to explore the Middle East and Africa by volunteering, travelling, studying and working.  My relationship with the region goes back to a random decision I made when I was 18 years old to study French and Arabic at university.  I had never even been to the Middle East or North Africa before, but fortunately when I ventured to the region (two years later) I fell in love with the people and the culture!  Looking back, I can think of few other decisions I have made that have had such a massive impact on my life.  Who knows, perhaps one day you and I will think this about our decisions to participate in the Senegal Bridge Year Program!

Our program is based around education, service learning and language study, which are all areas I feel passionate about.  Over the last ten years I’ve worked as an education specialist, mainly in Sudan, which has become a home away from home.  As well as working as a teacher and trainer in Sudanese universities and organizations, my roles have included coordinating voluntary teachers in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and establishing an education-based service learning organization for Sudanese university students.  My passion for education improvement in Africa and globally led me to pursue a PhD in Education and Development, with a focus on participatory research, teacher training and adult education.  Throughout this time, I have thrived in contexts where I have used my Arabic language skills as a means of engaging with local communities, sharing perspectives with teachers and students and designing contextually appropriate initiatives for education development.  As a keen language learner and experienced Arabic and English teacher, I am looking forward to supporting you in learning Wolof and French, while also developing my language skills.

I consider myself an educator-academic, located on the boundaries of academia and grassroots teaching and learning.  Perhaps that’s why I love experiential education and working with Where There Be Dragons.  Since joining Dragons in 2012, I have led summer and semester programs in the Middle East, mainly based in Jordan.  As I write this I am returning to the Middle East to be Course Director of a new Arabic Language and Culture summer course in Jordan.  Over these courses I have loved seeing my students gain deep insights into the cultures, build strong relationships with local communities and gradually develop the skills and cultural knowledge to become independent travelers and committed global citizens.  We can never prescribe what our experiences will be, what we will learn, how we will grow and what meaning that will have in our lives.  All I can say with certainty is that we will have experiences that lead to meaningful and profound learning about Senegal, our world and ourselves.  I am honored to be sharing in these experiences with you all.

My goals are to support and encourage you as you compassionately and critically engage with Senegalese society, and to help you to build authentic relationships with the places and people we encounter.  Please come expecting both joy and challenge.  My years of living and working in Africa have shown me that with if we face challenges with humor, humility and flexibility, we will be rewarded with unimaginable insights, perspectives, friendships and achievements.

Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me if you have any questions about our adventure in Senegal.  From now, throughout our program and beyond, I’m available if you have any questions, comments or concerns to discuss with me.  You can reach me on pfean@yahoo.com and I will reply as soon as I can (please be patient with slow email replies during July as I am leading a course in Jordan).

I can’t wait to meet you at Princeton in August!

Best wishes,

Paul Fean

On-Site Director, Senegal Bridge Year Program

Email: pfean@yahoo.com

 

 
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Introduction

Paul Fean,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

Dear Senegal Bridge Year Participants, Congratulations!  I would like to congratulate you on both your success in being selected to participate in the Princeton Bridge Year Program in Senegal and for your courage in taking this step into the adventure of the unknown.  The Bridge Year Program is an incredible journey to experience the richness […]

Posted On

07/25/13

Author

Paul Fean

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    [post_content] => Welcome to the Bridge Year Senegal Yak Yak Message Board!

As you’ll soon discover, this board is a valuable forum for:
  • introductions by staff and participants
  • addressing all questions regarding packing and trip preparation
  • posting live updates on Senegal’s current events & general recommended reading and resources
  • story telling & posting of reflections on experiences in Senegal
  • keeping family and friends updated on the movement of the group and course (especially when in rural areas)
  • sharing & bridging your experience abroad with your communities back at home
  • documenting your shared adventure abroad for use during transference and after your return home
Until the start of your course in August, this will be THE place to find important notices related to your course’s development and itinerary design. It’ll also be the place to learn about your fellow students and Senegal support staff. So please, post a personal introduction! It may reflect any number of things about you: your interests, reasons for wanting to participate in this experience, volunteer placement preferences, or any other thought or inspiration. Please also begin posting all your packing and prep-related questions here. Don’t be shy – if you have a question, it’s likely that someone else in your group has been wondering the same thing! Your staff has a lot of experience and many, many tips that they’re excited to share with you. So please, ask away. Setting up the Yak Yak message board, in many ways, marks the start of your course. It’s the first step in establishing the community that will support you throughout the journey that lies ahead. Together, you will learn to walk, dress, eat, talk and think in an entirely new way. You will see landscapes that will drop your jaw, and meet people that will touch, change and inspire your life forever. Although your course’s official start date is stilla couple monthsaway, we would like to remind you that your adventure actually began the day you made the choice to join in this adventure. Choosing to make your dream a reality took immense amounts of courage, and all of us congratulate you on taking that first, and most important, step. Welcome; we’re excited to share in your adventure! Sincerely, Christina & Dragons Administrative Staff [post_title] => Welcome to Your Bridge Year Senegal Yak Yak Message Board! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => welcome-to-your-bridge-year-senegal-yak-yak-message-board [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-07-16 21:48:33 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-07-17 03:48:33 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=88666 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 190 [name] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 [slug] => princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 190 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 263 [count] => 87 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3.1001 [cat_ID] => 190 [category_count] => 87 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 [category_nicename] => princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14 [category_parent] => 263 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/princeton-bridge-year/princeton-bridge-year-senegal-2013-14/ ) ) [category_links] => Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14 )

Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

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Welcome to Your Bridge Year Senegal Yak Yak Message Board!

Christina Rivera Cogswell,Princeton Bridge Year Senegal 2013-14

Description

Welcome to the Bridge Year Senegal Yak Yak Message Board! As you’ll soon discover, this board is a valuable forum for: introductions by staff and participants addressing all questions regarding packing and trip preparation posting live updates on Senegal’s current events & general recommended reading and resources story telling & posting of reflections on experiences […]

Posted On

07/16/13

Author

Christina Rivera Cogswell

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