"I enrolled at the Dakar Language Center to learn Bambara or Bamananka during the summer of 2015. I had a very kind instructor who was constantly willing to help and adapt his teaching methods to meet my needs. This fact made learning Bambara very comfortable for me. The directors at the DLC made sure that students felt very safe in Dakar; they were also extremely accommodating and addressed any issues quickly. They kindly organized excursions every weekend in order to show students different parts of the beautiful country. My favorite excursion was seeing the famous religious city of Touba where we toured the Great Mosque.
I had a very nice host family situated in a safe and beautiful neighborhood. My host family was always willing to talk, take care of me, and help me become acquainted with the area. Their hospitality and overwhelming kindness was one of my fondest memories of my stay in Senegal. In fact, most people I met in Dakar were very hospitable and were constantly willing to make sure that guests felt comfortable and had enough good food to eat.
I enjoyed getting to know Senegal and Dakar and I am glad that I was able to do so through the Dakar Language Center. Dakar is a vibrant city with very nice residents and Senegal is a full of beautiful sites, natural settings, and amazing food! I cannot wait to visit again!"
"For two years, I have been taking weekly Wolof lessons with the Dakar Language Center, both through Skype in the U.S. and in one-on-one tutoring in Dakar, progressing from beginning to intermediate levels over a two-year period. My teacher (fluent in English and French, in addition to his native proficiency in Wolof and Pulaar) has offered excellent instruction in reading, writing, and speaking Wolof, tailored to my work schedule and personalized to my profile as a researcher with active projects relating to Senegalese literature and urban studies.
In Dakar, the staff members of the DLC have facilitated my visits to several goxi Ndakaaru, including Dakar-Plateau, Medina, Parcelles Assainies, as well as visits to several other cities of Senegal (Tubaa, Ndar, Cees, Joal). The insight into popular culture and customs in Senegal as they impact Wolof language and thought has been invaluable for my personal, linguistic, and intellectual development, for which I am very grateful to the DLC."
"My overall experience working with the Dakar Language Center during the summer of 2014 was an extremely positive one. The whole staff went above and beyond to make sure that I had the best experience possible while staying in Dakar. From the homestay, to the field trips, and the actual language classes themselves, DLC made sure everything was catered to my needs. We worked together to create a plan for my time in Dakar so that I could make the most of my short visit.
I stayed with a family in Dakar, which was picked out especially for me since they had daughters around my age. This really enhanced my experience since I always had someone to practice Wolof with and discover Dakar through their eyes. The whole family was extremely welcoming and the home was very comfortable. I couldn't have asked for a better host family.
I also had a great teacher for my Wolof classes. We had classes in my homestay, which was incredibly convenient. Mohamed was always very creative in finding new activities to do in class to help me with conversational Wolof. For example, I learned how to make attaaya while speaking Wolof.
Aside from Wolof classes, I also had my own research to complete. Mohamed went above and beyond to find me all of my interview subjects but he also helped me facilitate my interviews in case there were ideas lost in translation. Even though I was doing my research in French, Mohamed always made it a point to work in Wolof to our interviews. Another crucial part of my research was a trip to Ziguinchor. This was not originally a part of the plan we set in the beginning but the DLC made sure I was able to go. They arranged a homestay in Ziguinchor and organized the rest of my travel details. Throughout my whole stay in Dakar, it always seemed like the DLC staff was going out of their way to help me in some way. Whether through a new trip in Senegal or even just making sure I was comfortable and happy in my homestay, I always knew I had a whole support team.
I cannot begin to express my gratitude to Lamine, Oumar, Mohamed, and my whole host family. This was the experience of a lifetime and I cannot wait to get back to Senegal."
"In the summer of 2015 I spent two months in Dakar learning Wolof from Lamine Diallo. Through a curriculum highly tailored to my needs and interests, I spent those two months completely engaged with the Wolof language and culture in a way I could never have imagined, and I cannot believe how much my Wolof improved in such a short time.
One of my favorite things about my experience with the DLC was the way Lamine would take me on walks through Dakar, all the while introducing me to people to force me to practice my Wolof, and pointing out landmarks to explain their history so that I could connect to the country’s history. Not only did Lamine teach me the language so that I could understand it on a surface level, he took the time to explain the cultural significance of almost every phrase, and made sure I would leave Senegal with a significantly deeper understanding of the language and the people. Although learning in such a new environment was shocking at first, Lamine and the DLC were with me every step of the way and I am so grateful for the experience and for this organization!"
"I had a wonderful time at the Dakar Language Center. I studied Pulaar at the DLC the summer between my first and second year of grad school, and couldn't imagine a more beneficial language experience. Lamine and his team of teachers pride themselves on catering classes to the needs of their students. From timing, to dialects, to vocabulary, my tutorials were oriented toward my dissertation research. Because of that flexibility in curriculum, along with outstanding teachers and the benefit of language immersion in Dakar, my language skills improved far more than they had in a year's worth of classes at university. I couldn't recommend the Dakar Language Center any more strongly."
"I took one month of Wolof lessons through the Dakar Language Center in summer of 2010. As a graduate student in Senegal to do interviews and archival research in addition to my language training, I found DLC staff very flexible and helpful in developing a plan that worked within my schedule constraints. I also could not have asked for a better Wolof tutor. Mbouille held me to a high standard and in each meeting he challenged me to develop the speaking and writing skills that were essential to my academic research in Senegal. He also integrated vocabulary and phrases that were helpful for a political scientist like me, who needs to talk to people about voting, elections, and democracy. Most importantly, though, I left DLC with a much deeper understanding of Wolof culture and society and had the competencies I needed to converse in the streets of my neighborhood, as well as meet and gain the trust of others in the communities I explored.
The homestay aspect of DLC has also been enriching. DLC helped me locate a family in my neighborhood (the Diallos) with whom I could eat lunch and dinner every day. I learned so much about Senegalese life from experiencing the day-to-day in the house, and also on holidays like Tabaski. Some of my favorite moments included accompanying my host grandfather to the polling station on Senegal's election day in 2012, going to a concert with my host brother Oumar and his cousin, sharing a heaping bowl of ceebu jen with my host family (along with ataaya for refreshment afterwards), and watching Senegalese television shows with my host sister, Tabara. Senegal would have been much less dynamic without the Diallos in my life!"
"I did a two-month intensive language learning in a dialect of Pulaar (Pula Futa) with DLC in summer of 2012. Since I was conducting my research as a graduate student in Casamance, I opted to be taught there as opposed to Dakar. DLC was very accommodating and found me a nice host family in safe town in the middle of Casamance. Even though this option (to be taught outside of Dakar) was more expensive, I felt it was justified because I wanted to integrate into the region I was going to study. My language trainer was patient with my learning pace and stuttering, as well as helped me develop my vocabulary/discourse regarding development, culture, and peacebuilding.
When I was in Dakar for visa issues, I know I could always count on a helping hand from the Diallo family. I would recommend DLC to anyone who wants to learn a West African language!"
"My summer at the Dakar Language Center was the best summer I've ever had. I knew I wanted to dedicate my whole summer to improving my Wolof, and by the end of my stay, I couldn't believe how much easier Wolof had become. My DLC classes were intense, but I had a very experienced, dedicated instructor who was able to tailor the lessons to my needs. DLC values authentic language practice, so classes would often happen outside--in my neighborhood, Goree Island, or downtown Dakar. I was able to use the vocabulary I had just learned with Wolof speakers in real-life situations, with my Wolof teacher standing by to evaluate me instantly. I found this to be a very effective way of internalizing the language, and I was astounded by the progress that I made each week.
As for my personal safety and comfort, I had a very strong support system in Dakar that would be there for me on a moment's notice. DLC not only found me options for accommodation, they also connected me to a network of friends who made me feel at home in Dakar. There was nothing better than eating a big Saturday lunch at Omar's house, watching Senegalese wrestling on TV over ataaya with friends, or exploring downtown Dakar with Ramatoulaye at night. Based on my interests, DLC even helped me take Senegalese cooking lessons. Learning how to make yassa ginaar with Tabara is one of my sweetest memories of the summer, and something I was able to share with friends and family when I returned home.
After my summer in Dakar with DLC, I'm planning to return to Dakar as soon possible. I would highly recommend my experience to anyone."
"I had a great experience with the Dakar Language Center. Their program is completely customized and focused on giving students direct contact with Senegalese culture in real-world situations, allowing you to develop the practical, 'on-the-ground' skills needed to conduct research or pursue further studies in the country. I couldn't imagine a better way to boost my Wolof skills than to walk around town interacting with people on the street with the guidance of an instructor. Thank you, DLC! I would certainly recommend their program to anyone looking for an intensive learning experience."
"I had a very good experience with DLC. I had a wonderful teacher for my Pulaar lessons who was engaging and effective. Moreover, being able to take a language class one-on-one was a rare opportunity and enabled us to tailor exercises to my research needs and interests. My teacher was always happy to answer my questions, which ranged from the grammatical to the cultural. As a PhD student trying to research at the same time, both my teacher and the administration at DLC where very accommodating of my hectic (and often impossible) research schedule, which I greatly appreciated. I highly recommend DLC as a result!"