The first week of April, students of the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Sant Ignasi, the Pere Tarrés Faculty of Social Education and Social Work and the Blanquerna School of Health Sciences travelled to Senegal with the support of the UNESCO-URL Chair.
During their stay in the African country, students:
- Got a closer look at Sub-Saharan Africa and Senegalese society in the areas of tourism development, healthcare and social action.
- Discovered some of the social welfare and health needs present and the means used to try and meet these needs through both outside health and local action.
- Discovered the possibilities for tourism development in the north of Senegal, including potential responsible and sustainable tourism initiatives.
- Had an intercultural and inter-religious experience (Christians are present in Senegal, although the majority of the population is Muslim) in order to “see the world through the eyes of another.”
- Stepped out of their usual comfort zone and experienced different living conditions in terms of food, transportation, housing, etc. Exposed themselves to being impacted by new experiences.
Students visited the Island of Slaves (Gorée), the colonial city of Saint Louis, the Lompoul Desert and the fishing port, the Piarist school in the marginal Sam Sam neighbourhood, the Sam Sam School of Hospitality for Women, the Maison Rose NGO for women and children in need and the Hahatay NGO in Gandiol, among other sites.
Specifically, during their trip to Senegal, students:
- Participated in sessions involving theory and reflection on the three fields of interest (tourism, social action and health), and on the history, politics and culture of Senegal with professors from Ramon Llull University and the Senegalese who took part in a round table discussion.
- Visited different development centres, civil NGOs and other centres for social and educational work associated with the Piarists and the Sisters of the Child Jesus, where they received information on the current reality of the country. They also received information on each of the three schools’ fields of interest and shared experiences with professionals working in social development.
Upon returning, participants evaluated their experience and organized a seminar to share what they had learned during the trip. More than 90% of students were “very pleased” with their trip to Senegal, while 100% declared that the trip “contributed to their personal development”.
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