Rethink Africa through case studies on the intersection of society, economy and technology by living and studying in Ghana as you develop a critical perspective on mainstream representations of Ghanaian society.
Gain a new perspective on Africa.
Eurocentric representations of Africa have downplayed the continent’s diversity and prosperity and have emphasized narratives of deprivation and backwardness. Learn to critically examine these representations and their effects on the ways Westerners engage with Africa. The program further draws attention to the ever changing conditions in Ghana in ways that unsettle discourses that freeze Africa in space and time, just as they situate these transformations within a larger globalizing context in which Africans continue to thrive.
Engage with Ghana's present social and political realities through an interdisciplinary approach.
The program focuses on technologies and social realities, bringing them within a single frame of analysis. You will examine the ways in which technological change and innovations are impacting social and political realties in Ghana and will be exposed to a wide variety of field sites and topics on the intersections between technology and health and technology and farming. The program draws on work by leading Africanists in ways that will appeal to students majoring in a variety of areas, including African studies, globalization, economics, technology, anthropology, sociology, and communications.
Study Africa’s changing landscapes from Ghana, the first African country to achieve independence.
Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, was a leading icon of African decolonization movements, and Ghana plays a leading role in African popular culture and politics to this day. Ghana has a thriving liberal democracy, which it continues to develop, and has aggressively implemented structural adjustment programs, which have led to massive capital inflows that have correspondingly produced new social realties.
Ghana is also an excellent setting in which to study Africa more broadly. The changes unfolding in Ghana today parallel changes occurring in many other African countries. Ghana’s structural adjustment programs, inflow of foreign direct investments, democratization and liberal politics provide an excellent introduction to transformations in Africa today.
Gain proficiency in spoken Asante Twi.
Learning Asante Twi will help you connect with your host community and gain deeper knowledge and appreciation of Ghana’s rich and complex cultures and society. Classroom instruction lasts eight weeks, and the learning process continues throughout the semester during homestays and several structured field assignments.
Go on multiple excursions throughout Ghana.
Site visits and excursions are carefully designed to give you a firsthand look at the topics you’re examining in the classroom. You’ll visit government departments, museums, markets, sites where new technologies are being implemented, and upper- and lower-income neighborhoods to get a feel for the changes and innovations taking place in Ghana today.
Choose between an internship and independent research.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- The ways in which Africa is represented in mainstream discourse
- New and emerging technologies in Ghana and how they are impacting Ghana’s social landscapes
- Technologies such as social media and money apps, solar energy, and rural and urban water supply systems
- The impact of new technologies on livelihoods in rural vs. urban Ghana
- Processes that are simultaneously facilitating and inhibiting technological application
- How class structure in Ghana is changing and the processes that are driving this change
- How changing class structure is transforming Accra’s spatial formations and use of public space
- Changing gender relations and the status of women
- The ways in which contemporary global power relations are implicated in constructing discourses of despair about Africa and elsewhere
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
In Accra you’ll visit museums, Ghana’s Parliament, and various government departments. At the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, you’ll explore the history and nature of Ghana’s current development policy and practice, its theoretical underpinnings, its origins, and its influence on both how Ghanaians perceive themselves and how they are perceived.
You’ll be able to speak to local food vendors, craft shop operators, mobile phone retailers, and other entrepreneurs. You’ll also visit solar power companies to better understand the changes unraveling in Ghana and solar power’s place in Ghana now and in the future.
You’ll visit various upper-, middle-, and lower-income areas to see how class structure in Ghana is changing. At Makola market, you’ll explore the evolving status of women and gender relations and what they reveal about a changing political economy and social dynamics in Ghana. You’ll also visit the Ghana Textiles Printing factory located in Tema and various cocoa processing companies and retailers to consider what changing patterns in the production and consumption of cocoa/chocolate reveal about contemporary Ghana and the future prospects of Ghanaian society.
During the ten-day Kumasi excursion, you’ll stay for five days with a local family and visit the city’s sites, including the Royal Palace and Kejetia, the local market. You’ll also visit Adanwomase, located outside Kumasi, a village known for its traditional weaving and cloth-making techniques.
The city of Cape Coast served as the original capital of the Gold Coast until 1877 when the capital was moved to Accra. In Cape Coast and the nearby town of Elmina, you’ll visit two extremely important sites that originally functioned as trade forts before being turned into slave dungeons during the transatlantic slave trade.
At the conclusion of the excursion to Cape Coast, you’ll visit Kakum National Park to explore Ghana’s rich biodiversity.
Tamale and Mole National Park
Tamale, one of the fastest growing cities in Ghana, will give you insights into the country’s changing class structure and cultural diversity and transitions. As part of this excursion, you’ll visit Mole National Park, Ghana’s largest wildlife refuge.
The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
- Africa in a Globalizing World: Technology and Social Realities in Ghana – syllabus
- (AFRS3000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Massive social and technological transformations are unfolding in Ghana. The country’s growing middle class is adopting globalization’s multi-national capital and transforming it on its terms. This course draws upon theoretical and analytical perspectives in African studies in ways that illuminate, complicate, and unsettle these frameworks, thus equipping students with new terms and concepts with which to analyze contemporary Africa. Site visits to a broad spectrum of social class sites and rural and urban spaces draw attention to the fast paced change in Ghana, ahead of the still images and perceptions perpetuated by popular media. The course emphasizes the need to understand multiple and complex technologies and their social realities as well as how they evolve in relation to local and global politics and power. By the end of the course, students should be able to explain the limitations of popular contemporary perspectives in taking stock of social realities in contemporary Ghana, describe the forces that are transforming Ghanaian society, and demonstrate a critical awareness of the complexity of Ghanaian society.
- Contemporary Africa Re-Represented: Perspectives from Ghana – syllabus
- (AFRS3500 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Drawing on theories of representation, this course brings a critical perspective to how popular images and discourses have represented the social realities in Africa today. The course will connect back to the frameworks of imperial and colonial representations and then explore how western imaginations, colonialists and colonization, development discourses, and the popular media have contributed to constructing a space and place called “Africa” and an identity of “Africanness.” The course exposes students to alternatives frameworks for conceptualizing African social realities and equips them with a knowledge base and with new ways to engage with international or “exotic” locations. By interrogating contemporary popular discourses on Africa and how policy and development theory and practice frames and engages with Africa, students obtain new insights and perspectives on Africa’s social realities and students’ positionality in relation to them.
- Asante Twi – syllabus
- (TWII1003-3503 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- This course is designed to help students obtain oral proficiency and enable them to adapt to the host culture. Language instruction begins during orientation and quickly introduces students to basic vocabulary and sentence structure and encourages students to immediately begin using Asante Twi. Students will develop strong listening, comprehension, and communication skills and learn use the language confidently and effectively in everyday situations as well as within the context of the demands of the Independent Study Project or internship.
- Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
- (ANTH3500 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Drawing upon myriad in-country experiences, cultural encounters, homestay conversations, and community observations, this research methods and ethics course is primarily designed as a field-based course complemented by classroom lectures, assigned readings, and discussions facilitated by the academic director. The course relies on SIT’s in-country professional network and academic and socio-cultural resources to structure assignments and field activities through which students practice and hone their skills in gathering, managing, and analyzing primary data. Students learn qualitative and quantitative approaches of gathering, managing, and analyzing data from primary sources. The course emphasizes ethical considerations that guide primary data collection and culturally appropriate ways of building rapport, initiating purposeful dialogue, forming constructive relationships with organizations and/or individuals, recording and analyzing primary data, and writing a scholarly academic report. By the end of the course, students will produce an Independent Study Project or internship proposal.
In addition to taking the above courses, students will also need to enroll in one of the following two courses:
- Independent Study Project – syllabus
- (ISPR3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
- This four-week independent study project, scheduled in the final portion of the program, gives students a unique opportunity to study in depth a key aspect of the program’s themes in Ghana. The ISP draws upon the knowledge and various skills gained from the thematic, language, and research methods and ethics seminars.
- Internship – syllabus
- (ITRN3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
- This course consists of a four-week internship with a national or international organization that is working in the broad area of social change in Ghana. SIT will use its extensive network to place students in internship organizations, or students may petition SIT for approval of internship placements that they find on their own initiative. Ultimately, each student takes responsibility for making optimal use of resources available at the organization and for being proactive in engaging with local experts to achieve their internship objectives. An internship seminar, conducted via weekly two-hour reflection and assessment sessions are held with the academic director or internship coordinator.
The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.
You will experience two homestays: one in Accra and one in Kumasi. The homestays are an essential part of the program. In living with a host family, you will experience the realities of daily life and learn about family dynamics, including family structure, gender roles, eating habits, household chores, notions of space and concepts of belonging, education of children, and celebrations and other rituals. The homestays also provide an excellent opportunity for you to immerse yourself in Asante Twi.
The program center is based in Osu, a vibrant suburb of Accra with a bustling commercial and entertainment district surrounded by interspersed residential neighborhoods. Oxford Street, Osu’s main thoroughfare, offers a rich blend of local and foreign cultures, small enterprises and multinational companies, and local food vendors and internationally known fast food restaurants. Osu’s close proximity to government offices, Accra’s city center, and Makola market make it a frequent destination for Ghanaian youth and international travelers.
Your homestay will be with a family that is within 30 minutes’ walking distance to the SIT program center, in either Osu or the nearby Labone cantonments or airport residential areas. This urban homestay begins after orientation and lasts throughout the program in between the various excursions and during the final week of the program. You may also opt to stay with your homestay family during the Independent Study Project or internship as well.
The city of Kumasi is the heart of the Asante nation and an outstanding example of a pre-colonial urban center. Despite the city's urban feel, Kumasi has retained its rich history and cultural heritage. The five-day Kumasi homestay is part of a larger ten-day excursion in and around Kumasi. In between intensive language classes you will also have the opportunity to experience the sites in and around Kumasi, including the Royal Palace and Kejetia, one of West Africa's largest markets.
Cost and Scholarships
Cost and Scholarships
SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
- Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
- Africa in a Globalizing World
- Contemporary Africa Re-represented
- Research Methods and Ethics training in preparation for the Independent Study Project or internship
- Intensive language instruction in Asante Twi
- All educational excursions to locations such as Adanwomase and Kumasi, including all related travel costs
- Independent Study Project or internship (including a stipend for accommodation and food)
- Health insurance throughout the entire program period
Room & Board: $2,800
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
- All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Accra), on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project or internship, and during the final evaluation period. Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.
- All homestays
- All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.
Estimated Additional Costs:
International Airfare to Program Launch Site
International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
Visa Expenses: $160
Books & Supplies: $150
International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.
You may choose to complete an internship during the last four weeks of this program. You will be placed with a Ghanaian organization, where you will gain work experience related to the program’s theme and develop professional skills you can use in your career.
SIT internships are hands on and reflective. In addition to completing the internship, you will submit a paper in which you describe, assess, and analyze learning. The paper will also outline the tasks you completed through the internship, professional relationships you developed, and challenges you encountered and how you overcame them.
Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project
You have the option to spend four weeks engaged in an Independent Study Project (ISP), with the opportunity to pursue original research on a topic of particular interest to you. The ISP is conducted in Accra or in another approved location in Ghana appropriate to the project.
Sample ISP topics:
- Water projects in rural Ghana
- Solar energy and social transformation
- Mobile phone application in the health sector
- Organic and inorganic rural farming systems