The Middlebury School in Cameroon, based in Yaoundé, affords students true cultural immersion alongside rigorous academic study.
Students on the program come in at the intermediate-advanced level of French and are committed to developing their language skills. By adhering to the Middlebury Language Pledge®, students reap the benefits of linguistic immersion for the duration of their time studying abroad. By living and studying with Cameroonians and involving themselves in the community through volunteer work and extracurricular activities, they have the chance to build authentic relationships and integrate fully into life in Yaoundé.
The City of Yaoundé
As the economic and political capital of Cameroon, Yaoundé is an ideal place for immersion into Francophone African life. Based at the Université Catholique d’Afrique Centrale, with classes conducted entirely in French, students on this study abroad program will be able to take courses at the Middlebury College Center alongside Cameroonian peers at the university in several disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.
Did you know…?
Cameroon is often described as 'Africa in miniature' because it exhibits all major climates of the continent. Home to roughly 240 ethnic groups, with as many distinct languages and dialects, diversity abounds.
The program at the Middlebury School in Cameroon is for College students.
Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0
Language Prerequisite: Grades of B or better in all French courses. Successful completion of at least 4 semesters, or the equivalent, of French by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure, which includes one content course taught in French. Students are required to be enrolled in a French language course the semester prior to departure.
Language of Instruction
Students at the Middlebury School in Cameroon will take a combination of Middlebury-organized courses and courses at Middlebury’s host university, the Université Catholique d’Afrique Centrale (UCAC). Students will take four courses in total - two through the Middlebury Center, and two courses at the UCAC.
Middlebury Program Courses
Every semester, program courses through the Middlebury Center are offered, focusing on culture, social sciences, language, and literature. These courses are required, and taught in French by local faculty.
The Université Catholique d’Afrique Centrale (UCAC) enrolls 4,000 students, and students on the program take intensive courses of 4-6 weeks alongside Cameroonian students in the beginning of the semester. Penn students should enroll in two 36-credit hour courses at UCAC.
Students may also be pursue a local internship under the direction of the Middlebury in Cameroon program director. Penn students should speak with departments at Penn in advance of studying abroad to determine if an internship abroad could count as independent study credit.
As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average. The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s academic policies.
Mandatory orientation will be held for all students in Yaoundé prior to the beginning of classes. Once arriving on-site, the director assists students with housing, introductions to university staff, and will lead orientation.
It is Middlebury's policy that students must live in a French-speaking environment; you may not live alone nor solely with other English speakers. Students will typically live with a host family.
All Middlebury School in Cameroon students are placed in homestays to maximize immersion in the local culture. Students are housed based on information they provide on a questionnaire prior to departure. All hosts have been personally recommended and are pre-screened by the program director.
The cost of room and board is not included in the tuition, but due to the difficulty of obtaining larger sums of cash, this cost is billed to the student along with the tuition. Board includes two meals per day (breakfast and dinner). The cost of lunches is the student’s responsibility. When students undertake independent travel, they will not be reimbursed by the host for meals not taken with the family. During program excursions, some meals will be covered by the program.
The composition of host families and location of the homestays varies. As in the U.S., family structure and lifestyles also differ. Middlebury Cameroon will try to choose hosts with maximum potential for interaction, but cannot guarantee your version of an “ideal” situation. Most home-stays also require lengthy commutes to the Middlebury Center or to UCAC campus, via taxi.
From a cultural perspective, homestays can be both challenging and rewarding. All students will be given their own rooms, but should be prepared for tighter living quarters and less privacy than previously accustomed to at home. Cameroonian families are typically very close, and parents play a much more active role in their children’s lives than is customary in the United States. Families may sometimes appear nosy or domineering from an American cultural perspective. This is done with the most sincere and well-meaning intentions from the Cameroonian point of view, but it can be strange to someone who is used to living on their own at an American college.
Cost and Finance
Penn Abroad Financial Policies
Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs. Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare. Please see the program budget sheets below for more information. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s financial policies.
David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad: Supports undergraduate study abroad focusing on geographical areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to US national security. (Excludes study in US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.) These US government grants entail a service obligation.