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Programs : Brochure

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Program Description:

Program Overview     

The continent of Africa is home to almost 1/3 of the languages of the world, and the linguistic and cultural landscape across much of the continent allows for unique approaches to languages and their role in society. This course will provide an introduction to how language works in Africa from both linguistic and cultural perspectives. The course will explore topics such as African language families, unusual linguistic structures, multilingualism, the interaction between colonial and indigenous languages, linguistic traditions (e.g. storytelling, ceremonies, ethnobotany, etc.), and aspects of language development and literacy issues, along with questions of language and technology. These topics will be explored largely through case studies, covering four major geographical regions of the African continent (North Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, and West Africa). The culmination of the course will be a 3-week trip to Benin, West Africa, for interested students. The trip will allow students to engage with the concepts they have learned on a practical level as they experience the linguistic ecology of Benin in both urban and rural settings. Benin is an extremely linguistically diverse country (it is roughly the size of Pennsylvania, and approximately 54 languages are spoken there), and therefore provides an ideal destination to allow students to experience a very different way of using language from that found in the US. The majority of the travel time will be spent getting to know Beninese people and working with them on a project to explore their approaches to the languages they speak. The students will also be able to tailor the project to their own interests in consultation with the professor. No knowledge of any language other than English is required, but the ability to speak French may open up more opportunities for project topics.

Program Quicklinks     

Housing and Meals
Program Costs
Financial Aid & Scholarships
More Information
How to Apply
Other Useful Links



Any pre-requisite courses are established by the faculty leader or department hosting the course.  The following have been listed as pre-requisites for consideration to enroll in this course and travel on the embedded education abroad program:
  • No pre-requisites
  • This course is open to all majors at University Park only
  • Admission in the course and permission to travel with the group are at the discretion of the faculty leader and/or academic department hosting the course.  Academic standing and disciplinary or conduct issues may impact eligibility.

Housing and Meals

During the embedded travel component, housing will consist of - housing information not available at this time

Program Costs

Students pay regular Penn State tuition (either in-state or out-of-state) for the credits associated with the embedded course.  Travel costs, lodging, meals, excursions, and other fees are determined by the program budget which is set by the program leader.  Please consult the program leader for additional information.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Global Programs administers a scholarship that is specifically designated to support students studying abroad on embedded courses.  The scholarship is competitive, and the deadlines to apply are strictly enforced.  Please review the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Scholarship eligibility, deadlines, and application process.

For More Information

For more information about this course, please contact the program leader: Deborah Morton by emailing

How to Apply

 The process for enrolling in an embedded course varies according to the instructor and/or department.  The program leader has indicated that in order to enroll in the course and travel component, students must contact the program leader.

Studying Abroad with a Disability

Many students with disabilities successfully study abroad each year. Please note that other cultures may have different attitudes and available accommodations regarding disabilities. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged in consultation with our office, the Student Disability Resources office, and our partners abroad. To prepare for success, students are strongly encouraged to research the country and program location to consider if and how they will manage their disabilities abroad in advance of selecting a program. Students with disabilities and other diverse backgrounds can begin their research on our Diversity Awareness Abroad page.



Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer-Embedded 2018 08/22/2017
Rolling Admission 05/05/2018 05/21/2018
NOTE: The application deadline date is NOT as it appears above. Please contact the program leader Deborah Morton by emailing if you are interested in applying for this embedded program.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed