AFR/LING 397 African Linguistics in Benin

AFR/LING 397 African Linguistics in Benin
AFR/LING 397 African Linguistics in Benin

This two-week trip will take students to Benin, Africa, to study linguistic practices in both urban and rural settings.

The continent of Africa is home to almost a third of the languages of the world, and the linguistic and cultural landscape across much of the continent allows for uniquely African approaches to languages and their role in society. Of particular interest is the fact that most Africans speak multiple languages on a regular basis, often both indigenous and colonial languages. This course will introduce how languages function in a wide variety of African cultures, including case studies from northern, eastern, western, and southern Africa. The capstone of the course will be a two-week trip for interested students to study linguistic practices in Benin, West Africa, in both urban and rural settings.

Program Dates: May 1126, 2024

Students must be enrolled in AFR/LING 397 for the spring 2024 semester. Participating students will be enrolled in a 0.25-credit course in the summer for the travel portion.

Deborah Morton (

  • Program Fee: $6,095 (includes $1,897 group airfare)
  • In-Country Costs: Around $200 (meals, spending money, etc.)
  • Optional Travel Protection Plan: $279 (can be purchased at time of trip registration)

NOTE: The embedded program fee will be billed to participants’ Penn State Office of the Bursar accounts in late April, and payment will be due Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

  • The embedded program fee includes: airfare, hotel accommodations, transportation to/from the airport to the hotel in Benin, transportation and fees related to program activities, some meals, emergency and administrative support
  • The embedded program fee does NOT include: course tuition, domestic transportation to/from the airport, some meals, spending money (souvenirs, gifts, etc.), gratuities, fees related to visa or passport, optional travel protection plan

If you are not taking a full-time credit load in the summer semester, the 0.25-credit summer course will be an additional cost of tuition at a flat rate of $200.

Students should also review their academic term plans to determine any financial implications, especially if you plan to take over the maximum 19 credits in a semester. Students can anticipate actual charges using the University’s updated Tuition Calculator.

To offset student fees, we have set up a Penn State Crowdfunding page for this program. Please note that all funds raised will be divided equally among the students participating in the Benin experience, and if the trip does not go ahead, the funds will remain in the Linguistics program for student research or education abroad in other contexts.

Please indicate your interest to Deborah Morton, the faculty leader, by submitting the interest form. This form does not commit you to the program.

To officially commit to the program, please thoroughly read and submit the Official Financial Commitment Form by Monday, January 15, 2024.

Students with questions may email Deborah Morton.

There are several official avenues for embedded program funding within the University. The primary ways are through the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network and Penn State Global, but students can also explore funding opportunities through their academic department, the Student Engagement Network, or Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring.

Learn more about funding for embedded programs

Get career ready!

Embedded programs help students to gain key skills that employers are most looking for in college graduates, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Below are 1–2 major competencies students can start to develop by participating in this program.


Enhance your understanding of communication though language—verbal and written—in the context of Benin’s diverse linguistic background and its indigenous and recent colonial history.


While exploring and learning about Benin and African linguistics, gain hands-on experience engaging with a nonprofit that focuses on promoting local languages and cultures, interacting with a diverse team of students and staff.

Want to hear more? Meet with a Liberal Arts career coach in the Career Enrichment Network to discuss your experience and identify even more ways that this program can enhance your personal and professional development!

An aerial view of the Benin coastline, near the Togo border.
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