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Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression

Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression

Explore social change in Ghana through an exploration of its dynamic cultural heritage and contemporary society.

In this program, students explore Ghana’s rich artistic heritage through deep and meaningful engagement with Ghanaian scholars, artists, dancers, musicians, painters, sculptors, weavers, writers, and other in-country experts. Students learn about the historical and contemporary circumstances that have shaped Ghanaian society and the artistic outputs of this complex and highly diverse West African country.

Major topics of study include:

  • Religious diversity in Ghana, the importance of religion to Ghanaians, and the relationship between society, the arts, and religion in different Ghanaian communities
  • The impact of local and global influences on Ghanaian artistic and cultural phenomena at national, regional, and local levels
  • A broad spectrum of artistic and cultural forms in Ghana from diverse cultural and geographic spaces
  • Political and economic development and the commodification of the arts in present-day Ghana
  • The ways in which arts, migration, and identity are intertwined
  • Colonialism in Ghana
Between traditional craft workshops, trips to various religious ceremonies and places of worship, dance and drumming classes, and homestays, my exposure led to a lot of cultural learning and self-discovery.

Program alum

Meeting with local midwives in ghanaStudents in the Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression program examine societal change in Ghana from cultural and artistic perspectives. Through meaningful engagement with different knowledge systems, students acquire both the theoretical frameworks and practical experience necessary to understand Ghanaian society as well as the country's rich artistic and cultural outputs.

Ghana in Multidisciplinary Contexts

Topics of inquiry include religion, identity studies, migration, political and economic development, and colonialism.

  • Religion – Students discover that Ghanaians are a very religious people and signs of their different faiths, including Christianity, Islam, and traditional religions, are highly visible in the streets of Ghanaian cities and villages. Churches and mosques are found on most street corners, and the signs on shops and public transportation are often testaments to the owner's faith. Students explore the dynamic and often complex relationship between society, the arts, and religion in different Ghanaian communities.
  • Migration and Identity Construction – Students discover how arts, human mobility, and identity are very much intertwined by examining the performance arts of various ethnic communities in Ghana. Migration gives artistic traditions movement, often in both a literal and figurative sense. Students explore the ways in which new contexts and identity factors get embodied in performance practice.
  • Popular Ideology – Excursions to multiple arts centers around the country reveal the various effects of popular ideologies, such as nationalism, on the arts. When learning about popular culture in Ghana, students are challenged to transcend modern/traditional culture binaries to develop a more nuanced understanding of processes that shape culture, society, and the arts.
  • Development – Students examine and are often confronted head-on with the commodification of the arts in present-day Ghana. Economic factors and a shift in patronage of various artistic phenomena reveal the relationship between art and economies.

Accra (Program Base)

Community gathering in GhanaStudents spend the first two weeks of the program living with a host family in Accra and attend lectures at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, located next to the university's School of Performing Arts. The school is home to the university's music, drama, and dance departments and also serves as the main residence of many prominent arts groups and institutions including the Ghana Dance Ensemble, the International Centre for African Music and Dance (ICAMD), and Abibigroma.

While in Accra, students have the unique opportunity to interact with various Ghanaian musicians, artists, and craftspeople to experience firsthand the defining features of Ghana's contemporary arts and music landscape. Students return to Accra during the final week of the program to present their independent research findings and for evaluation.

Accra can be characterized as a megacity as it continues to expand past Tema in the east, the Ga districts in the north, and Kasoa in the west. Its cosmopolitan and urbane feel is easily juxtaposed with markers of "traditional" Africa including shrines, stools, and skins depicting political authority and music traditions often associated with more rural Ghanaian communities. In the 1950s, Accra functioned as the ideological center of the struggle for independence throughout Africa.

Dance and Art Workshops

Students have several opportunities for hands-on learning including Ghanaian traditional dance and drumming at the University of Ghana, bead making in Krobo Odumase as well as batik and sculpture workshops.

Research Methods and Ethics

The Research Methods and Ethics seminar focuses on the concepts of learning across cultures and from field experience, while providing students with the essential tools needed to perform research on visual and performing arts in the Ghanaian context. Material includes:

  • Cross-cultural adaptation and skills building
  • Topic selection, refinement, and framing
  • Research traditions
  • Culturally appropriate use of field methodologies
  • Research ethics and the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy
  • Developing skills in observation and interviewing
  • Gathering, organizing, and communicating data
  • Interrogation of issues of identity construction and the relationship between anthropological narratives and on-the-ground experiences

Assigned papers provide an opportunity for students to test the tools introduced during the course, while providing opportunities for discussions on ethics and intercultural readings. Throughout the course, students work to properly develop their research topics for their Independent Study Project. Students significantly advance their initial ideas, assumptions, and drafts, in close consultation with their academic director.

Independent Study Project

Student presenting in ghanaIn the final month of the program, students complete an Independent Study Project (ISP), which provides each student with an opportunity to pursue original research on a situation or topic of particular interest to them. Students may focus on topics revolving around the visual and performing arts in both practical and theoretical terms. Alternatively, some students conduct their original research project on issues relating to economics, history, colonialism, gender, or other topics in the Ghanaian context to which they have had exposure during the semester. Students choose research topics with consultation and support from the academic director and other in-country experts. Students conduct their Independent Study Project in Accra, Kumasi, or in another approved location appropriate to the project.

Sample topic areas include:

  • Divination storytelling
  • Beads and adornment in contemporary Krobo society
  • Power asymmetries and globalization
  • Theatrical performance for social change
  • Girls’ education in Tamale
  • Gendered approaches and strategies toward contraceptive use in urban Kumasi
  • Rasta identity and practice in Ghana
  • Use of fertility dolls and magic in Ghanaian society
  • Modern African theater
  • Ghanaian film industry
  • Art education for disabled students
  • Religious expression in traditional art
  • Craft production for the tourist trade
  • Water security in the Northern Region

Access virtual library guide.

The interdisciplinary coursework in the Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression program examines Ghana's artistic heritage in the context of the country's historical and contemporary socioeconomic development. Lectures are held at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, or at appropriate locations in Ghana. The Research Methods and Ethics course focuses on culturally appropriate and ethical field research methodology, in preparation for the Independent Study Project (ISP).

The Twi language course is designed to prepare students for daily social and academic demands and to provide access into the host culture through Asante Twi. Students are thus enabled to enrich all aspects of their experience abroad through greater ability to function in the host language in lectures, during field methods exercises, while conducting fieldwork for the Independent Study Project, and when interacting with host families and local contacts.

Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on 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.

Social Transformation and Cultural Expression – syllabus
(AFRS 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
An interdisciplinary course taught in English that explores a broad spectrum of artistic and cultural forms in Ghana from diverse cultural and geographic spaces. The course aims to provide a critical examination of the impact of local and global influences on Ghanaian artistic and cultural phenomena at national, regional, and local levels.

Visual and Performing Arts in Ghana – syllabus
(ARTS 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
An interdisciplinary course conducted in English that exposes students to Ghana’s rich diversity of artistic traditions through a series of performances, workshops, and lecture demonstrations by lecturers, artisans, and/or other individuals recognized as expert practitioners in their respective fields. This course actively engages students with multiple artistic expressions from across Ghana. An emphasis is placed on participation and active involvement.

Twi – syllabus
(TWII 1000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This intensive course in Asante Twi is designed to prepare students for daily social interaction and to provide access to the local culture. Students are thus able to enrich all aspects of their experience abroad through the ability to function in Asante Twi during field methods exercises, while conducting fieldwork for the Independent Study Project, and when interacting with homestay families and local contacts.

Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ANTH 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
The Research Methods and Ethics course provides students with the essential tools required to conduct independent study in the visual or performing arts in Ghana from a multidisciplinary perspective. Material includes cross-cultural adaptation and skills building; project selection and refinement; appropriate methodologies, including arts-based research practices; field study ethics and the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy; developing contacts and finding resources; developing skills in observation and interviewing; gathering, organizing, and communicating data; and maintaining a field journal.

Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in Accra, Kumasi, or in another approved location appropriate to the project. Sample topic areas: meaning of kente and adinkra cloth; Ghanaian drumming, dancing, and/or singing; divination; storytelling; Islam, Christianity, or “traditional” religious expression in Ghana; use of traditional medicine; modern African theater; the Ghanaian film industry; religious expression in traditional art; weaving; craft production for the tourist trade; contemporary Ghanaian art.

Browse this program’s Independent Study Projects / undergraduate research.

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

Excursions are a central component of the program and provide students with experiential learning opportunities for a broader and deeper understanding of course content. Excursions include visits to museums, artistic performances or studios, shrines, and other locations of interest; students also have multiple opportunities to engage directly with local experts in the production of Ghanaian art forms.


Students learning drumming in GhanaNicknamed the Garden City, Kumasi is both the heart of the Ashanti nation and an outstanding example of a precolonial urban center. Despite the city's urban feel, Kumasi has retained its rich history and cultural heritage. During this two week excursion, students are based at Kumasi Anglican Secondary School (KASS) where they learn the Twi language directly from community experts. Additionally, students take classes on research methodology and conduct site visits to Bonwire and Atonso, the capital of Ashanti kente weaving and the adinkra symbols, respectively. Students also have the opportunity to experience Kejetia, one of West Africa's largest markets. During their time in Kumasi, students live with a homestay family.


Students spend one week in Tamale, Ghana's third largest city and capital of the country's Northern Region. This excursion immerses students in the homes of Dagomba people and their unique style of music. It also provides an opportunity to compare and contrast the Northern Region's distinct political, economic, and social characteristics with what they have experienced along the coast. The central mosque in the heart of the city is a reminder of the importance of Islam in this part of Ghana, a country in which a large portion of the population identifies as Christian.

Cape Coast and Elmina

ElminaThe city of Cape Coast served as the original capital of the Gold Coast until 1877 when it was moved to Accra. During this excursion, students examine a transformative and highly turbulent period in Ghanaian history. Both in Cape Coast and in the nearby town of Elmina, students visit two extremely important edifices that originally functioned as trade forts before being turned into dungeons during the transatlantic slave trade. Frequently during this excursion, students begin to draw important connections between watershed moments in Ghana's history and the country's contemporary socioeconomic and cultural conditions. Rabbi Kohain Halevi, the executive secretary of PANAFEST, a bi-annual festival designed to unite Africa and African diaspora communities, leads the lecture and discussions after these important site visits.

While in Cape Coast, students also take a day trip to the University of Education, Winneba, to attend lectures by Kwakuvi Azasu. Time in Winneba exposes students to many of the artistic styles taught at the university's Department of Art Education.

At the conclusion of the Cape Coast excursion, students visit Kakum National Park, where they get a bird’s-eye view of local flora and fauna from the forest canopy walkway. They also attend a performance by Kukyekukyeku, a bamboo stamping-tube orchestra comprised of residents of a small community in Kakum Forest.

Volta Region

This excursion exposes students to the distinct performing arts of the southern Volta Region, home of the Anlo Ewe. The region has been an area long admired for its religious institutions and performing arts. Students are initially based at Vume, an important center in the production of handmade clay pots which students, over their two days there, build with guidance from female artisans. Time spent in locations closer to the Togolese border, such as Dagbamete, Klikor, Aflao, and Kopeyia, provides students with the opportunity to witness powerful religious experiences in Afa and Yewe shrines. Students learn, and may also have the opportunity to drum and perform, well known regional pieces such as agbadza, adzogbo, gahu, and atsiagbekor.

The staff was constantly giving support to the students. Individual needs were always taken into consideration. The academic director and main staff members created a warm and safe environment for us.

Program alum

Olayemi "Yemi" Tinuoye, PhD, Academic Director

YemiDr. Olayemi "Yemi" Tinuoye is a Nigerian citizen who resided for many years in the United States. Yemi received his MA in special education and psychology and his PhD in psychology from New York University. Dr. Tinuoye's professional experience includes serving as director of educational programs at Shule ya Mapinduzi, a New York based secondary school devoted to African American intercultural education; associate director of undergraduate programs at Oceanic Schools in New York; and director of TeleVideo, a film production company in Lagos. He has written and published numerous articles, research reports, and books on behavioral psychology and Yoruba traditions. Two of his recent books in the Yoruba language (with English translation) present the work of a precolonial African icon, “Orisa Ogun,” and its relevance to governance in contemporary African states. Yemi began his work with SIT Study Abroad in Nigeria from 1990 to 1992 and subsequently served as academic director of the SIT Nigeria program from spring 1993 to spring 1994. He has directed the SIT Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression program since fall 1994.

Philip Yaw Adu Gyamfi, Senior Student Support Staff

GyamfiPhilip Yaw Adu Gyamfi, a Ghanaian citizen, obtained his BA in religions and political science at the University of Ghana in 2004 and his MA in international education at SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont in 2010. His work experience with SIT Study Abroad began during his high school days in 1996, when he led US students in Ashanti Village Camp activities. Yaw has risen in rank over the years, holding positions including homestay coordinator and program assistant. From May 2009 through June 2012, he was director of the SIT/Princeton Bridge Year program. He has been senior student support staff for the Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression program since fall 2012. His responsibilities include program administration and logistics as well as student homestay and health support.

Akwesi Attah, Program Assistant

Born in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, Attah is a gifted and professionally trained teacher, holding a teacher's diploma certificate obtained in 1985. With almost 25 years of teaching experience, Attah also has worked closely with a number of organizations including Voluntary Workcamps Association, for which he is a leader. In 2005, Attah represented the Ghana Arts and Culture program for SIT's African Languages Project workshop, held in South Africa, and designed to develop teaching capacity in African languages. Often referred to as "Papa Attah" by students, Attah's role as program assistant with SIT includes coordinating and overseeing various aspects of the program, helping students with their Asante Twi language skills, and providing overall program support.

Fatimat Mutari, Program Coordinator in Tamale

Fatimat Mutari has been with SIT in Ghana for over 10 years, supporting the program in Tamale, in Ghana's Northern Region, as a coordinator and advisor on logistics, academic, and programming issues. Fati holds a BSc in administration and is currently both a steering committee member of the Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA) and a member of the oversight committee in UNICEF/GDCA microcredit scheme in Tamale.

Akua Abloso, Homestay Coordinator

“Auntie Akua” is a dance lecturer and head of the department of dance at the School of Performing Arts (SPA) at the University of Ghana. She has been the Accra homestay coordinator of the SIT Study Abroad Ghana program since 1997. She helps students arrange practical dance hours on and off the campus when the need arises for performing arts students either for their ISP or for special drills occasionally required for dance professionals. She also helps students to study dance with professionals in different regions of Ghana and has been an ISP advisor for many semesters.

Efo Kwakutse, Student Support Assistant

Efo Kwakutse has been a student support assistant with the SIT Study Abroad Ghana program since 2001. A master kente cloth weaver with years of experience in the fabric industry, he has a loom-weaving workshop in Ashaiman, near Accra. He has had several SIT students serve as apprentices in his workshop during the ISP period. He also leads SIT student groups during tours of the southern regions, which last two weeks every semester. He speaks Ewe fluently, which is one of the reasons he leads tour groups to Ewe-speaking communities in Greater Accra and Volta Regions and other southern regions, and he has helped several students as an interpreter field assistant during fieldwork periods in Accra, Ashaiman, Klikor, and Dagbamete, where many students study African drumming, dance, herbal practice, and traditional African religion.

Kwame Owusu, Student Support Staff Member

Kwame Owusu is a student support staff member in Ashanti Region. He helps students with homestays and small group activities during their first two weeks in this region. He helps to introduce students to village surroundings during the village participation weeks where he supervises one of up to four villages where students are placed. He has been a support staff member since the spring of 2003. He speaks both English and Asante Twi fluently and has helped individual students settle into their ISP fieldwork locations in Twi-speaking communities.

Lecturers for this program include:

Salifu Mahama, PhD

Dr. Mahama has been with SIT in Ghana since 2003 as a lecturer, research advisor, and language coordinator. He holds a PhD in linguistics from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom and is currently a lecturer and research fellow at the University of Development Studies (UDS) in Navrongo. Prior to joining UDS, Dr. Mahama served as assistant director for the Tamale Institute of Cross-Cultural Studies (TICCS) and a researcher for Associates for Change (AFC), and he spent three years with the Ministry of Education in the Tolon Kumbungu District in the Northern Region of Ghana. Dr. Mahama speaks nine languages, including Russian and French, which he studied in Russia and France respectively. Recently he joined the University of Development Studies, where he continues assisting SIT Study Abroad students in developing ISP topics and conducting their fieldwork.

John Collins, PhD

Dr. Collins obtained a BA in sociology and archaeology from the University of Ghana in 1972 and his doctorate in ethnomusicology at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1994. Since 1995, Dr. Collins has been a senior lecturer in music in the School of Performing Arts at the University of Ghana. From 2003 to 2005, he served as head of the department of music. Dr. Collins has given lectures and led workshops in Canada, the US, the UK, Scandinavia, Holland, Germany, France, the Caribbean, Ghana, and the Cote-D'Ivoire. He has been a resident research fellow at Dartmouth College (Arts Department) and Northwestern University, Evanston (African Studies Department). During the 1990s, Dr. Collins was technical director of a three-year joint University of Ghana African Studies Department/Mainz African Music Re-documentation Project.

Dr. Collins first came to Ghana in 1952 and has been very engaged with West African music since 1969. He is a guitarist, harmonica player, and percussionist and has worked, recorded, and played with numerous Ghanaian and Nigerian bands. In the 1970s, his Bokoor highlife guitar band released 20 songs. Since 1982, Dr. Collins has been running Bokoor Recording Studio just north of Accra; the studio has released nine records and 60 commercial cassettes and is currently releasing three highlife compact discs.

Prof. Gilbert Amegatcher

Professor Amegatcher is a lecturer of visual art and museum studies at the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. He has been a lecturer in SIT seminar classes since 1996 and an ISP advisor to several students. Professor Amegatcher teaches field study techniques and has helped many students develop their ISP topics and find community craft workshops and art studios where they could serve their apprenticeships. During the week of the program’s stay in Ashanti Region, he introduces students to the museum and studio facilities of the College of Arts and Social Sciences and prepares students to visit traditional Ashanti craft workshops specializing in gold, wood, iron, lead, clay, and fabric.

Dr. Richmond Tete Ackam

Dr. Ackam is a professor of art and museum studies at the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. He serves as the general coordinator of SIT’s academic program in Ashanti Region, where the program spends four continuous weeks during the first half of the semester. He lectures in both the arts seminars and research methods and ethics course in Kumasi and also helps students to develop ISP topics and locate art studios for apprenticeship or practical experience. He has supervised several student ISPs and supported many in presenting oral exhibitions.

Prof. Nathan Damptey

Professor Damptey is a lecturer at the School of Performing Arts at the University of Ghana, Legon, where he teaches ethnomusicology and popular music. During the SIT orientation period, he meets SIT students to help outline the relatedness of excursions, class meetings, and research study in the field. He later teaches field study techniques and how to best prepare for the ISP field experience. A fluent Asante Twi speaker and well-travelled individual, Professor Damptey helps direct students to field study locations and has been an ISP advisor to several students since the fall of 2001.

Dr. Owusu Brempong

Dr. Brempong is a professor of anthropology with the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. He teaches about traditional religion, festivals, and funeral rites in seminars on social transformation and cultural expression. He is a friendly counselor who advises on field experience placements and the use of participation technique in the study of traditional religion — particularly herbal medicine and shrine rituals. He has been an advisor to several ISP students since 1996.

Prof. John Nabila

Professor Nabila is a lecturer in the Faculty of Geography and Population Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. A “Best Teacher” award winner, he has the reputation of making orientation to Ghana as simple as it can ever be. Thus, he is one of the first lecturers SIT students meet at the beginning of the seminars on social transformation and cultural expression. A senior scholar and elder statesman, he is currently the chairman of Ghana’s Council of Traditional Chiefs, a parliamentary position that has kept him busy traveling, but has not stopped him from attending classes. He still lectures on population studies and the geography of Ghana. Although he is no longer a constant ISP advisor, he has continued helping students locate communities for ISP studies.

Nene Sakite

Nene Sakite is the Konor, King of the Manya Krobo of the Eastern Region. He was a college faculty member in Massachusetts (US) before he ascended to the throne of his forefathers. He still lives half of the year in the US and the other half in Ghana. During the fall, the Krobos celebrate the Nmangyem annual festival, or Thanksgiving, in which this king leads his group in a grand traditional ceremony. The SIT group is normally privileged to meet him and his palace chiefs during this festival week and to participate in the fall festivities in the town of Odumase-Krobo. The king or his spokesman-chief leads our student group in a discussion of Ghana and the Krobo traditions, and he responds to any questions students may have and also helps arrange contacts with those whom students can study any aspect of Krobo art and culture. He has also been an ISP project advisor to several students since 2006.

Rabbi Kohain Halevi

Rabbi Halevi is the executive secretary of PANAFEST, a pan-African festival featuring art and culture from all of Africa and the African diaspora. He lived much of his youth in New York and, in the mid-1990s, repatriated to Ghana, where he now resides. A motivational public orator and advocate for unity of the African people worldwide, he mobilizes people of African descent to engage African leaders to embrace unity across African states and communities for understanding and rapid development of the continent. He runs Cape Coast Ghana, a spiritual return organization where African Americans can reestablish touch with their roots, a reverse of the transatlantic process where Africans taken as slaves passed through a “gate of no return.” SIT students visit this scholar every semester after the tour of the slave dungeons in Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle in the towns of Elmina and Cape Coast. His discussions with SIT students center on the meaning of emancipation in the context of transatlantic slavery and current world politics as these affect Africa. He takes time to listen to students discuss what they have observed during their stay in Ghana and how they are processing the experience. He has been an ISP advisor to several students since 1995.

Antoinette Kudoto

Antoinette Kudoto is the best known female drummer in Ghana. Based in the old capital of Ghana, Cape Coast, she is a prominent music maker among tourists as she concentrates on promoting the cause of disadvantaged youth (“street kids”) by teaching performance skills to young people who have dropped out of school so they can earn a living. During the program’s tour of the Central Region in the south, she performs for the group and discusses the position of the female musician in Ghana and her struggle to make changes. In 2011 and 2012, she traveled to the US for performance engagements more often than ever before. A number of SIT students have apprenticed with her either to study dance and drumming or to write an ISP on the rights of the disadvantaged, and she is very open to students who would like to work with her in order to gain dance skills or to explore employment prospects for youth.

Kofi Setordji

Kofi Setordji is one of the best known contemporary artists in Ghana. He has been a friend to SIT for many years, and SIT students visit him in small groups every semester to hear him speak on art in Africa and to engage in a hands-on practicum at his studio. Because he specializes in using various mediums including wood, metal, waste wire, acrylic paint, paper, plaster of Paris, clay, and fabric, he is recognized as one of the most versatile artists in Ghana, and his work is well known all over West Africa and Europe, particularly Germany, where he often presents workshops. He helps SIT students to fashion specific ISP topics from general interests in visual arts. He supervises student projects every semester and maintains contact with a wide variety of past students whom he had taken on tours of Accra art studios or whose ISPs he had supervised. He runs several art establishments in Accra, including the popular ArtHaus, where he hosts artists from various parts of the world.

Togbui Addo VIII

Togbui Addo VIII is the traditional ruler of Klikor in Volta Region a few miles away from Aflao, a border town near Togo. During the program’s tour of this region, usually for four days, the group stays all or much of the time in Klikor where this traditional ruler plays the role of patron to the SIT group. He introduces the group to the community and to any of the shrines the group may particularly wish to interact with. Since this location is one of the few communities where traditional religion is prevalent, a visit here is a special privilege for students seeking to understand traditional African values as transmitted to the current generation. Togbui Addo also meets with students for an open discussion in which they have the opportunity to ask questions on traditional worship, divination, dance, and herbal practices, all of which are prevalent in this section of Ghana’s Volta Region. A retired math teacher, Togbui Addo is always ready to help SIT students study and complete their excursion and ISP in his territory.

Dr. Delali Badasu

Dr. Badasu is a lecturer at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana. She specializes in migration, population, and gender studies. She lectures on the rights of the child, the rights of women, and gender issues in Ghana, and has been an ISP advisor to many students since 1998. Because she is a gender study specialist, many students in this discipline use her help not only to develop a specific ISP topic but also to locate community resources for their field study.

Dr. Twerefuor

Dr. Twerefuor is a lecturer at the economics department at the University of Ghana, Legon. For his interest in simplifying instructions to students, Dr. Twerefuor serves as a speaker during the program’s orientation, and his speech usually centers on key factors in the economic growth of Ghana and how best to analyze Ghana’s socioeconomic challenges in the context of contemporary politics and interactions with the interests of Western partners. He has helped many students develop themes for their ISPs and has supervised many students’ projects since 1998.

Dr. Takyiwaa Manuh

Dr. Manuh was, until recently, the director of the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. During her tenure she initiated several innovations that have made this institute a school highly regarded by both the government and donor agencies in Ghana. She is very vocal in the media, where she speaks for good governance and the rights of women. She normally speaks to SIT students on the rights of women and gender issues in Africa. Although retired, she is widely sought after by NGOs and students doing studies in migration and gender issues. She has been an ISP advisor to several SIT students since 2007.

Prof. Seth Abloso

Professor Abloso is a popular commentator on the political scene in Ghana. A former labor union leader and secretary to the CPP, the ruling party during the Kwame Nkrumah era, he is a well-respected observer and political analyst of the state of the nation in Ghana. He lives in Accra and speaks to the SIT student group in the seminars on social transformation and cultural expression. He has also been an ISP advisor to several students since 1999.

Kofi Gademe

Kofi Gademe is one of the best known Accra-based performing artists. He speaks Twi, Ewe, Ga, and English fluently. Originally trained in Togo and the Volta Region of Ghana as a traditional (Ewe) composer, dancer, and drummer, he moved to Accra years ago and still practices his trade as an artist there. He has included dances from Senegal, Nigeria, and Benin in his repertoire of performances and has been a teacher of traditional dance at several schools and cultural centers in Accra. SIT students meet him in their first two weeks in Accra. He gives students a training performance session in which they learn agbadza, gawu, and war dance movements. He has supervised many student ISPs since 2000.

Of all the places I have been, I have never experienced such warmth and support. The homestay families are incredible. I celebrated my 20th birthday with my homestay in Kumasi. They held a special birthday celebration for me, and even though it was different from the usual way I celebrate at home, I was totally embraced by them as family.  My experience with SIT in Ghana was absolutely invaluable.

Jessie Lavintman, University of Wisconsin

homestayStudents have three distinct homestay experiences in Accra, Kumasi, and an Ashanti village. Time in both urban and rural areas gives students exceptional insight into the diversity of Ghanaian identities and perspectives as well as the country's rich cultural heritage. By sharing daily activities with their families, students are fully immersed within the local culture and community; homestays also provide students with an ideal opportunity to practice their language skills, enjoy home-cooked Ghanaian cuisine, and experience Ghana's unique and revered style of hospitality. During the homestay, students tend to be struck by the role of religion, the phenomenon of the extended family, and the role of migration in contemporary Ghanaian society.

Accra and Kumasi (two weeks each)

Homestays in both Accra and Kumasi, Ghana's two largest cities respectively, give students the chance to engage with Ghanaian families within an urban context. Both Accra and Kumasi are sites of rapid migration similar to many other urban locales across Africa. Ghanaian families from a cross-section of economic, religious, and social backgrounds graciously open their doors and hearts to program participants, granting students a far deeper understanding of Ghana and its people. Students often attend important religious and social events with their host families in both Accra and Kumasi.

Ashanti village (12 days)

During their time in Ashanti region, students also experience Ghanaian daily life in a rural environment. Students have the opportunity to improve their language skills by speaking Twi with their host family and other community members in a rural Ashanti village. During this twelve-day period, students sharpen their research skills through completion of a short-term project on a topic of their choosing, directly immersing students in the research process. Past projects have focused on Ghanaian farming, political systems, religion, education, seamstress work, batiking, and music. During this period of the program, students experience community storytelling, support community-initiated projects, and undertake excursions to observe the work of farmers and palm wine tappers.

Other accommodations during the program include hostels, private homes, or small hotels.

Program Dates: Fall 2015

Program Start Date:  Aug 28, 2015

Program End Date:    Dec 10, 2015

The dates listed above are subject to change. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.

Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.

Application Deadline:   May 15, 2015


SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.

Tuition: $13,610

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
    • Social transformation and culture in Ghana
    • Ghanaian history, politics, economics and geography
    • Visual and performing arts
  • Research Methods and Ethics seminar in preparation for the Independent Study Project.
  • Intensive language instruction in Asante Twi
  • All educational excursions to locations such as Cape Coast, Volta region, Kakum National Park, Tamale, and Mole National Park, including all related travel costs
  • Independent Study Project (including a stipend for accommodation and food)
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

Room & Board:$2,240

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) and Kumasi, on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project, 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 (two weeks in Accra, two weeks in Kumasi, and 12 days in an Ashanti village)
  • 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: $ 60

Immunizations: Varies

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.

Discretionary Expenses

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.


SIT, 1 Kipling Road, PO Box 676, Brattleboro, VT 05302-0676
802 258-3212, 888 272-7881 (Toll-free in the US), Fax: 802 258-3296 

SIT was founded as the School for International Training and has been known as SIT Study Abroad and SIT Graduate Institute since 2007. SIT is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education

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