Universities are officially controlled by the national government, with the half-dozen or so certified colleges teaching in French, and only sometimes in English. Recently, several English language universities have opened, and they enjoy a solid international reputation. Most local graduates join national public service upon completion, and the Cameroonian university system is considered to have a stable calendar and successful series of programs.
Studying in Cameroon provides a student with a unique perspective of the African experience. The country’s melding of the French and English educational styles has attracted academics from all over the continent, and has caused an influx of non-African students as well. Among the standout educational establishments are Fotso Victor University, International University Bamenda, and the Bamenda University of Science and Technology. Though there is some variation in specific academic calendars, most international universities in Cameroon begin in mid- to late October and conclude their academic year in mid-July.
Tuition and fees for studying at any of the nation’s national or international universities vary widely, with students at national schools paying a much lower rate. However, for the huge majority of non-African students attending an international school, fees and tuition are approximately $500 to $1,500 U.S. dollars per semester.
While science and technology programs are currently at the forefront of international education in Cameroon, the several major institutions offer a well-rounded academic variety of coursework. Non-African graduates typically return to their home countries, having gained a unique educational experience that is comparable to most other nations’ higher educational degrees. In Europe and the U.S., for example, an academic degree that includes a semester or more in Africa stands out. College graduates who have spent time in one of Cameroon’s universities are better prepared to face international academic and business challenges.
Individual, international health insurance plans are recommended for students and other travelers in Cameroon, as the local medical infrastructure is often a pay-for-use arrangement. Although medical facilities are somewhat limited, pharmacies in metro areas are well maintained and offer reasonable prices. Those taking prescription medicines on a regular basis should make plans to have long-term supplies on hand or available by mail.
Compared to many other nations, it is relatively easy to obtain a student visa for Cameroon, provided one has an official letter of acceptance from one of the nation’s institutions of higher learning. Depending upon one’s country of origin, certain immunizations may be required for travel into Cameroon. Check with your local authorities well ahead of traveling to see about specific requirements. In most cases, those who are accepted to Cameroon schools merely need to complete a student visa application and wait approximately four weeks for approval.
Students and other international travelers in Cameroon should keep in mind that the country operates primarily on a cash economic system, especially for day-to-day transactions. Credit cards and travelers’ checks are not widely accepted. For those who plan on long-term residency, it is recommended to open an account in one of the area's major banks. In that case, the bank will typically be able to issue travelers’ checks that can be used in most parts of the local economy. There are, however, several money transfer agencies, especially in the metropolitan areas of Cameroon.