2018 DC International Senegal Program

2018 DC International Senegal Program

Program Highlights

2018 DC International Senegal Program

Dates: July 30-August 10, 2018   |   Tuition: $3690 Learn More

On this program...

  • Explore the massive, world-famous markets in Dakar.
  • Visit Goree Island, the notorious departure point for millions of African slaves.
  • Live with local families and volunteer on meaningful service work in rural Senegal.
  • Go on safari in one of one of the country's best game parks.

Group Organizer/s: 

Alison Auerbach / alison.auerbach@dcinternationalschool.org

WTT Contact: 

Luke Mueller / luke@walkingtree.org / 303-898-5135

Deadlines: Enrollment opens on January 22, 2018


Dear DCI Families & Students – Welcome to the homepage for the 2018 DC International Senegal Program! If this is your first time on this page, please read through the categories under Pre-Enrollment to learn more about this unique travel opportunity, or peruse the other categories as you like.

Once you have enrolled, please check out the Post-Enrollment information. Around one month before departure, we will post the remaining information under Program Prep to review on a call with the entire group. We hope you will join us on the adventure of a lifetime in Senegal.

Click on the sections above to learn more

Program Itinerary

July 30MondayUSA - Dakar, SenegalToday the group will fly from the US to Dakar, Senegal.Airplane
July 31TuesdayDakarThe group lands in the capital city of Dakar and will head to our hotel which sits right on the coast and boasts a big swimming poool. We'll spend the remainder of the afternoon and evening resting, relaxing and recuperating from our long day of travel. We'll also make time to have an orientation meeting.Hotel Calao
August 1WednesdayDakarWe will spend most of this day touring Goree Island which was the departure point for millions of Africans during the centuries-long slave trade and sits just off the coast of Dakar. We'll explore the island with a local guide and, later in the day, explore one of the larger artisanal markets in the capital. We'll also visit the Peace Corps office before a big dinner. Hotel Calao
August 2ThursdayHost CommunityToday we depart for the host community. The drive time will vary depending on the precise location of the community as well as traffic conditions, but we'll aim to arrive in the afternoon. We’ll tour the community and place students with their respective families. We may even begin service work this day as well!Host Families
August 3FridayHost CommunityThis chunk of time represents the heart and soul of the program. Students will volunteer on meaningful service projects during the day while also enjoying sufficient free time to hang out with host families and fellow travelers, practice language skills and explore the surrounding area. At the end of our time in the host community we'll help organize a going away party to celebrate the time with our new friends and family. For more information regarding what time in the host community will look like please refer to the section on this webpage titled Partner Communities.Host Families
August 4SaturdayHost CommunityWe will continue working on our service project and spending time with host families.Host Families
August 5SundayHost CommunityWe will continue working on our service project and spending time with host families.Host Families
August 6MondayHost CommunityWe will continue working on our service project and spending time with host families.Host Families
August 7TuesdayHost CommunityWe will continue working on our service project and spending time with host families. We'll also have a going away celebration to commemorate our time spent with our new friends. Host Families
August 8WednesdayHost Community - MbourThe group will depart the host community and travel to Mbour on the central Atlantic coast of Senegal. After arriving at a lovely hotel we’ll spend the day resting, relaxing and swimming in the ocean!Pierre de Lisse
August 9ThursdayMbour - Bandia National Park - DakarToday the group will embark on a safari in one of Senegal’s best game parks! We'll tour a large swath of savannah in a jeep with our English-speaking tour guide and marvel at a wide range of impressive animals. This evening we will head back to our hotel for dinner and have a final meeting before our international departure the following morning. Hotel Calao
August 10FridayDakar - USAEarly morning flight back to the USAYour own bed, eventually!

Philosophy Of Travel

Our mission is to inspire the next generation to become global leaders by taking an active interest in the world around them. With a dedication to learning, along with an enduring passion for exploring the world, Walking Tree Travel designs transformative and meaningful travel programs that uncover the authentic culture of each destination and inspire students to take action in their local and global community.

Walking Tree Travel stands for a more open, curious, and compassionate approach to travel. We partner with select schools around the world to provide memorable small-group experiences, and invest in cultivating and maintaining longterm relationships with our partner communities. If you are interested in our organization and philosophy of travel, click here to learn more about us.


In order to provide a safe and memorable experience for our students, teachers, and staff, Program Leaders and Country Directors follow strict guidelines when deciding on lodging, making reservations, and assigning program participants to rooms.

Students will always be grouped in rooms and/or sleeping areas by gender, and will never share rooms with people who are not associated with Walking Tree. Group Organizers and Program Leaders will be roomed separately from each other and from other students. Walking Tree partners with locally-operated, three star or equivalent hotels that are centrally located, clean, safe and wifi-enabled.
Below are a few examples of our partner hotels. Although these are our preferred providers, they are subject to change based on availability. Your final itinerary will provide complete information on your accommodations in the cities you will be visiting.

Dakar: www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review

Mbour: www.itinerairelisse.net/spip.php

Tuition & Fundraising

Program Tuition Includes

more tuition information

Program Tuition Excludes: Baggages fees, airline minor fees, personal shopping, passport or visa fees, and activities not listed in the itinerary.*

*NOTE: If you are traveling on a program that is completed before September 1, 2018 your basic travel insurance is included. If you are traveling on a program that departs after September 1, 2018 you must purchase travel insurance if you want to have any supplemental coverage beyond what your family’s package may provide. This change is due to new federal regulations.

Estimated Airfare*

International Airfare: In order to give our travelers the best possible price, we break out airfare from the Program Tuition. We will still handle all booking and ticketing via our flight partner who has access to special fares not available to the general public. We will provide full transparency in cost so that families pay what the flight costs and nothing more. You will be invoiced for the flight once we are able to secure the group’s airline contract.

Standards of Behavior

WTT provides fun, safe, and meaningful programs for our travelers. In order to achieve this goal, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct. Any of the following are grounds for early dismissal or in-country consequences at our discretion.


  1. Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
  2. Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
  3. Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.


  1. Getting a piercing or tattoo
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials
  3. Threatening with or using weapons such as firearms, knives, explosives, etc.
  4. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle
  5. Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew
  6. Breaking group rules

These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of a travel program. Please take the time to review these rules as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them before choosing to travel with WTT.

Continue to the next section

Passport & Visa Check

Passport & Visa Check

Passport must be valid for six months after the final day of your travel program, including one open visa page.
No Visa Requirements for US Citizens traveling to Senegal.

Non US citizens should check with their country’s embassy abroad to verify vaccination and visa requirements.
US citizens traveling from a country other than the United States should check the State Department website (www.travel.state.gov) for more information regarding additional visa or vaccine requirements.

Please contact us for further information regarding vaccination and visa requirements.

Health and Safety

We strongly recommend visiting the CDC Senegal website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.

Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. Walking Tree will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.

Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.

We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.


Travel Insurance


While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers while on program, experience has taught us that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we suggest you consider purchasing travel insurance which would cover you in the event your student needs to withdraw before travel due to a covered reason, loses baggage in route or encounters an emergency while traveling, among other unforeseen circumstances. Please see a summary of a plan below and follow the link for a more detailed explanation or to purchase the plan for your traveler.

Trip Cancellation Up to 100% of Trip Cost
Reimburses your prepaid, non-refundable expenses if you must cancel your trip due to a covered reason.
Maximum coverage: $100,000.

Trip Interruption Up to 150% of Trip Cost
Reimburses for the unused, non-refundable portion of your trip and for the increased transportation costs it takes for you to return home or to continue your trip due to a covered reason. Maximum coverage: $150,000.

Missed Connection $1,600
Reimburses for covered expenses resulting from a covered delay that causes you to miss your scheduled flight or cruise.

Travel Delay $1,600
Receive up to $200 per day per person to cover additional accommodation/travel expenses and lost prepaid expenses due to a departure delay of six or more hours.

Medical Protection: 
Emergency Medical and Dental $50,000
-This primary coverage provides reimbursement for expenses incurred during your trip due to covered medical and dental emergencies. No deductible.
-$750 maximum for emergency dental care.

Baggage Protection
Baggage Loss/Damage $2,000
Covers loss, damage or theft of baggage and personal effects.

Baggage Delay $600
Covers the reasonable additional purchase of essential items during your trip if your baggage is delayed or misdirected by a common carrier for 24 hours or more. Receipts for emergency purchases are required.

Assistance Services
Emergency Medical Transportation $1,000,000
Provides medically necessary transportation to the nearest appropriate facility following a covered injury or illness. Also covers the cost of your transportation back home following a covered injury or illness.

24-Hour Hotline Help Included
Help is just a phone call away with Allianz Global Assistance. Our staff of multilingual problem solvers is available to help you with a medical, legal or travel-related emergency.

*Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Insurance benefits underwritten by BCS Insurance Company (OH, Administrative Office: Oakbrook Terrace, IL), rated “A­” (Excellent) by A.M. Best Co., under BCS Form No. 52.201 series or 52.401 series, or Jefferson Insurance Company (NY, Administrative Office: Richmond, VA), rated “A+” (Superior) by A.M. Best Co., under Jefferson Form No. 101­C series or 101­P series, depending on your state of residence. Plan(s) may not be available in all jurisdictions. Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are marks of AGA Service Company or its affiliates. AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of this plan and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company. The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage due to the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson InsuranceCompany. Non­Insurance benefits/products are provided and serviced by AGA Service Company. Consumer may be responsible for charges incurred from outside vendors for assistance or concierge services. Contact AGA Service Company at 800­284­8300 or 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233 or customerservice@allianzassistance.com.

Global Leadership Curriculum

WTT has developed a curriculum that helps each of our travelers mature as global leaders before, during, and after their travel program. These simple, engaging tools are meant to spark discussion, frame the experience, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on our programs and in the future.

For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.

Learn More About the GLC

To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit our online portal at the button below.

Pre-Program Activity Portal

Language Resources


Want to learn a new language and be better prepared for your travel program? Duolingo is the easiest, most entertaining way to start learning and using a new language right away! The more you practice, the more you’ll be able to communicate with locals in your host country and help your fellow travelers navigate a foreign environment.

Tap the Duolingo owl to get started, or download the app to your mobile phone.

duolingo owl logo

Continue to the next section

Travel Day Details

Group Flight Information

Walking Tree will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the group organizer before departure. Nevertheless travelers will need to meet at IAD at 7:00pm at the Royal Air Maroc airport counter. For further details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure, please contact your teachers/Group Organizers.

Airline: Royal Air Maroc
Flight: AT219
Date:  July 30th, 2018
Departs: Washington DC – Dulles (IAD) at 9:55pm
Arrives: Casablanca, Morocco (CMN) at 10:05am on July 31st

Airline: Royal Air Maroc
Flight: AT505
Date:  July 31st, 2018
Departs: Casablanca, Morocco (CMN) at 1:15pm
Arrives: Dakar, Senegal (DKR) at 3:40pm


Airline: Royal Air Maroc
Flight: AT500
Date:  August 10th, 2018
Departs: Dakar, Senegal (DKR) at 6:25am
Arrives: Casablanca, Morocco (CMN) at 10:55am

Airline: Royal Air Maroc
Flight: AT218
Date:  August 10, 2018
Departs: Casablanca, Morocco (CMN) at 4:30pm
Arrives: Washington DC – Dulles (IAD)  at 7:55pm

Air travel is unpredictable. Although we can ensure that our groups arrive to the airport with ample time and follow all airline instructions, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, mechanical problems, labor strikes, etc. Please note that in such an event WTT is not financially responsible for unexpected costs incurred by travelers. Our programs officially begin and end in our host countries. That being said, our travelers’ well-being and safety is our number one priority, so please know that should flight delays/cancellations occur we will do everything we can to get travelers home in a timely manner and will do our best to keep family members updated on developments.

WTT is not responsible for fees associated with checked baggage. Please also make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the final day in country.

To see more about  Delta’s baggage policies, please click here.

Please confirm with your air travel provider as some airlines may require that travelers under a certain age have completed an unaccompanied minor parental consent form. Please consult the airline website to confirm if this is required on your flight.

Program Staff

WTT will send a minimum of one experienced Program Leader on every program. In addition to this Program Leader, we also have a support staff in our host countries that are available to the group for additional help when necessary. Below you’ll find a list of the Walking Tree staff involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program. Meet your support team!

  • Isabella Escalona
    Isabella Escalona Program Leader

    University of Florida – B.A. French and minor in Business Administration

    Isabella was born in Venezuela and moved to Florida at the age of seven. The summer after her fifteenth birthday, Isabella spent five weeks in Barcelona where she discovered that travel and exchange would become a driving force in her life. Since then, she has studied in Paris, France for a semester and backpacked around Europe; volunteered in a Q’eqchi Mayan NGO in the remote Izabal region of Guatemala for six months; taught English as a Foreign Language in Guadeloupe, French West Indies and Saint-Louis, Senegal; and worked as a teaching assistant in Dakar, Senegal. As a result, she is fluent in English, Spanish and French, and is learning Wolof, the most widely spoken local language in Senegal. During her Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant to Senegal in 2015-2016, Isabella found her new home after spending six months in a host family and teaching in a public girls’ secondary school. She is now addicted to eating ceebu jen diaga, yassa ak jen buñu lakk and fatayas, so she rides her bike to work in Dakar traffic to compensate. In her free time, Isabella can be found at the neighborhood beach reading and drinking a bissap juice, or attempting to body board if the water is not too cold. She is excited to share Senegalese teranga with Walking Tree Travel students this summer!

    • Fina Senghor
      Fina Senghor Program Leader

      University Gaston Berger of Saint-Louis – M.A Applied Foreign Languages (English and Spanish), Tourism and Conference Interpreting. Nursery assistant in private kindergartens.

      Fina born and raised in Dakar, the Capital city of Senegal. Later, due to her passion for languages, she went to Saint-Louis another region for studies. After her master’s degree in 2008, she joined a British organization arranging travels around the world for foreigners, in developing countries. Fina was in charge of welcoming in her country, young students, coming to help and support local people in hard living conditions. With 9 years experience, she used to work in a multicultural environment, allowing her to be open-minded and very involved in social action. Furthermore, Fina is a member of cultural and social associations that give priority to children and women’s well-being in Africa.

      Group Roster

      Please have all travelers check below to ensure their name is spelled exactly how it appears on your passport. For edits, email lacey@walkingtree.org.

      1. Fatoumata Magassa (Group Organizer)
      2. Christopher Merriman (Group Organizer)
      3. Chikezie Nwachukwu
      4. D’Jhanir Harris Smith
      5. Josie Reich
      6. Lilianna Becker-Benton
      7. Markus-Joseph Voltaire
      8. Maximilian Biscarr
      9. Michelle McDaniel
      10. Mosi Zephyr
      11. T Tambe
      12. Victoria Newson
      13. William Carter
      14. Zoe Trice
      15. Medina Benn

      Community & Project Details

      Located between Mbodiene and Joal, Ndianda is an agricultural village in the Thies region of Senegal. Ndianda has a population size of around 900 and a majority of the inhabitants are Serer, one of the ethnic groups common in Senegal. Many of the inhabitants are involved in agricultural activities: farming comprises the main economic activity in this village. Ndianda grows a variety of different vegetables that are eaten throughout the country. Like many villages in Senegal, Ndianda has an equal population of Muslims and Christians

      Homes – the community of Ndianda has a mix of types of homes. Some homes are the more “traditional” homes made of mud bricks, dirt floors and a thatched roof. Other homes are “modern” constriction made of cinder blocks, concrete floors and tin roofs. Throughout the community, you will see both styles of homes. The homes that students will stay in are the modern style homes – most of which have electricity. The construction of the homes is very basic, and most time includes just one or two rooms for sleeping. These buildings have electricity and toilets (mostly western style, but some are squat style toilets made of porcelain). Toilet paper is also not available, so students should bring toilet paper with them. There is no running water at homes, so students will need to use a bucket of water to flush the toilet and take a shower. The kitchen is almost always a separate building, and cooking is almost always done over a wood fire. Some homes however use gas.

      Eating – eating is a very communal and fun experience in Senegal. People always sit together in a circle on the floor on top of a carpet. There is one large communal dish that everyone eats out of together. Eating is always done with your right hand, but you will find that westerners will almost always be given a spoon or fork to use during mealtime. If you decide to use your hand to eat, it’s important to never use your left hand, as your left hand is typically used to clean yourself and is always seen as dirty. The great part about eating in a communal style setting is that you can eat however much you want without worrying about wasting food. It is important however to be conscious of the other people you are eating with ensuring to leave enough food for everyone to go around.

      Project -The DCI group will be working in the primary school for their service project.  The school is located on the main road that runs through town, and the community has asked that we construct a wall around the premises in order to ensure the safety of students. This is a big safety concern for the school because when students leave for the day, they excitedly run out and cross the street without looking. By constructing a small wall around the property, this will make students safer. DCI students will work making mud bricks, which they will use to construct the small wall.

      Communication & Blog

      Travelers will be able to keep in touch with family and friends at home by using Wifi (when available at hotels and restaurants) via Whatsapp, Skype, and Wechat for free.

      During the program we keep families and friends updated on the group’s adventures as frequently as possible with text and photo blogs. If parents would like updates regarding the group beyond these blog posts and email updates, please direct all general inquiries to info@WalkingTree.org. We are always checking this email inbox and will respond promptly to inquiries. You can also reach us by dialing 303-242-8541 from the U.S. In case of an emergency, please dial 303-997-0310.

      To access the group’s blog, click here.

      Photos which appear in the blog will become available after the program ends. We will send out a link to the photo gallery, where you will have access to view and download as many of the photos as you like!

      Packing List

      What follows is a sample packing list, which will be updated for each program. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on hikes, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

      Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT and STUDENT ID.

      Senegal Packing List


      6-8 pairs of underwear
      6-8 pairs of socks (a mixture of good hiking socks and casual socks)
      2 pairs of soccer socks to cover your legs during the day at the work site
      4-6 t-shirts (some quick dry)
      2-3 light-weight, long sleeve shirts
      1 light sweater or sweatshirt
      1 light rain jacket
      2-4 pairs of travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
      2-3 pairs of comfortable/hiking/everyday pants (NOT all jeans)
      1 nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions)
      1 pair of durable athletic/hiking shoes
      1 pair of sandals (optional for beach)
      1 pair of work gloves
      1 swim suit
      1 good sun hat
      Important Note for Female Travelers: In the interest of being respectful while still allowing travelers to be comfortable under the heat, (in public at least) shirts should cover shoulders and shorts or skirts/dresses should be conservative- that is, thighs, shoulders and decollete should be covered.


      Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
      Mosquito repellent (you will use a lot)
      Band Aids and Neosporin
      Hand Sanitizer
      Prescription medication in properly marked original container
      Tampons/maxi pads (if applicable)
      Biodegradable soap, shampoo, etc. That is to say, vegetable based, biodegradable, and phosphate-free.


      Mosquito net (just in case the one provided isn’t ideal)
      Journal and pen
      Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
      Power Converter and Adapter: Senegal runs on voltage of 230 Frequency of 50 Hz. Power sockets types: C / D / E / K
      Alarm Clock and watch
      Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
      Durable water bottle
      Water filtration device
      1 quick-dry towel
      Toilet paper/wet wipes
      Extra batteries
      Deck of cards or other portable games
      Host family gift
      French/English Dictionary


      Travelers often contact us regarding what an appropriate gift might be for their student’s host family. Host families are often curious about where our students come from and their families in the U.S. As such, we recommend a simple gift that describes, represents or depicts your home. Well-received gifts in the past have included calendars or picture/coffee table books from your city or state, a framed picture of your family, paraphernalia from a local sports team, toys, soccer balls, school supplies, or something produced or grown in your hometown, like chocolate, local candy, t-shirts, etc. The most important thing to keep in mind is not to worry about this…  Anything, no matter its value, will be well received!

      Tuition Details

      Program tuition includes: All accommodations, 3 meals per day, drinking water, ground transportation, group activity and entry fees, full-time leadership team,  taxes, tips and estimated airfare*.

      Program tuition excludes: Baggages fees, airline minor fees, personal shopping, passport or visa fees, and activities not listed in the itinerary.

      *Estimated Airfare: In order to give our travelers the best possible price, we break out airfare from the Program Tuition. We will still handle all booking and ticketing via our flight partner who has access to special fares not available to the general public. We will provide full transparency in cost so that families pay what the flight costs and nothing more. You will be invoiced for the flight once we are able to secure the group’s airline contract.

      Insurance:  If you are traveling on a program that is completed before September 1, 2018 your basic travel insurance is included. If you are traveling on a program that departs after September 1, 2018 you must purchase travel insurance if you want to have any supplemental coverage beyond what your family’s package may provide. This change is due to new federal regulations.

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