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Globalization, Cultural Legacies, and the Afro-Chic

Experience West Africa through immersion in Ghanaian cities, which challenge stereotypes of Africa and position the continent as a global economic, political, and cultural force.

At a Glance





Language of Study

Asante Twi

Courses taught in



Aug 30 – Dec 12

Program Countries


Program Base


Critical Global Issue of Study

Identity & Human Resilience

Development & Inequality


Why study abroad in Ghana?

From Ghana, you’ll gain a new perspective on Africa’s cosmopolitanism, one that complicates and defies Eurocentric representations that emphasize narratives of deprivation and backwardness. The central motif undergirding this program is Sankofa, a Ghanaian concept that encourages a strong engagement with the past in order to ensure informed and sustained progress into the future. You’ll also be introduced to the intricacies of hiplife music, media houses, and institutions across the country that highlight Ghana’s position in a hyper-globalized world.


  • Experience Afropolitanism and the Afro-Chic through fashion, music, and cuisine.
  • Learn about the continuities and discontinuities between Africa and the African Diaspora.
  • Learn to speak Asante Twi, a language spoken by more than 2 million people.
  • Visit Nzulezo, one of the few villages in the world built on stilts in water.



program map



You’ll visit different suburbs of Accra and learn to navigate the city like a local. Spend time in various upper-, middle-, and lower-income areas to see how class structure is changing. At Madina market, you’ll explore the evolving status of women and gender relations and notice what these reveal about a changing political economy and social dynamics in Ghana. You’ll also visit museums, art galleries, private start-ups like Soronko Solutions and mPedigree, and think-tanks such as the Center for Democratic Development.

Ashanti Culture in Kumasi

Famed for its craft villages, Kumasi, in central Ghana, is the country’s second-largest city and is rich in Ashanti culture. During this week-long excursion you’ll visit the Manhyia Royal Palace, the seat of the Ashanti King, which houses a museum. You will also explore Kejetia, a sprawling, vibrant, open-air market, and the new Kumasi mall, a modern complement to the traditional Ghanaian market. You will engage with young artists who imagine Ghana through contemporary lenses.  A visit to Incas Diagnositcs shows how digital technology is being used in locally relevant ways. A stop at Adanwomase offers an in-depth look at kente-weaving, and you will visit Asamankese, a cocoa-growing village with an eye to ecotourism.

Cape Coast & The Slave Trade

At Cape Coast, once the capital of the Gold Coast, and the nearby town of Elmina, you will visit sites where enslaved people were held before being shipped to the Americas during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The area is an important focal point of pan-African history.

At the end of the excursion, you’ll visit Kakum National Park known for its breathtaking Canopy Walkway suspended more than 1,000 feet above the ground. Walk along the treetops to spot endangered mammals such as forest elephants, bongo antelopes, and the Diana monkey.

You will spend time in the Western Region of Ghana as you visit the Shama Fort, the Takoradi Mall, and Nzulezo, a village built on stilts on the water.


Large quantities of oil were found off the coast of this industrial and commercial city in 2007, spurring an economic boom. You’ll see how multinational companies like General Electric have boosted the local economy. You’ll visit a GE plant and speak to workers about the role expatriates play in reshaping Ghana’s socioeconomic fabric. Finally, you will spend time at the UN High Commission for Refugees to learn how Ghana hosts refugees from Ivory Coast, Sudan, Syria, and Liberia.

Tamale & Mole National Park

In Tamale, a historic city in the northern region, you will gain insights into Ghana’s changing class structure. One of the fastest-growing cities in West Africa, it is a culturally diverse blend of tradition and modernity. You will go to Larabanga and see a mosque that was built in 1421. In addition, visit NGOs such as norsaaac, which deals in gender advocacy and ending child marriages, to understand the role NGOs play in empowering marginalized communities. During this excursion, you will again visit Mole National Park, Ghana’s largest wildlife refuge.

The trip to the north of Ghana is also steeped in history, specifically related to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. After a trip to Paga, home of tame crocodiles, you will visit the Pikworo Slave Camp and the Salaga slave market.

Ada and Volta Region

In Ada, near the coast of Ghana, you will visit Nkyinkyim, an open-air museum that celebrates the richness of African history. Walk through and interact with the creative installations accompanied by the curator.

In the beautiful Volta Region in eastern Ghana, you will climb Afajato, the highest peak in the country, and cool down at the Wli waterfalls, which is one of the highest waterfalls in West Africa. You will also visit a monkey sanctuary where you can feed the monkeys.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.


Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to: 

  • Contextualize the vitality, resilience, and creativity of African urban cultures. 
  • Articulate continuities and discontinuities between African, African American, and Caribbean urban cultures. 
  • Analyze the ways in which urban African voices challenge contemporary understandings of modernity. 
  • Evaluate the social intersections that underpin urban Ghanaian society. 
  • Interrogate colonial representations of Africa through interactions with local actors. 
  • Synthesize the learning acquired on the program in an Independent Study Project or internship experience paper. 
  • Develop communicative skills in Asante Twi. 

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.


Access virtual library guide.

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.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • How Africa is represented in mainstream media discourse
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  • Impact of new and emerging technology on Ghana's social landscapes
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  • Changes in class structure and processes driving change
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  • Changing gender relations and the status of women

Sankofa: Cultural Legacies and Afro-Futures

Sankofa: Cultural Legacies and Afro-Futures – syllabus
(AFRS3000 / 3 credits)

This seminar revolves around a central question: how are visions of the present and future of Africa crafted through a thoughtful interrogation of its past? The central motif that undergirds this seminar is Sankofa, a Ghanaian concept that encourages a strong engagement with the past in order to ensure informed and sustained progress into the future. Sankofa is often associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi” (“It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.”). After framing an African epistemological relation to Africa’s presents and futures in light of the concept of Sankofa (module 1), we will revisit our painful past in order to create a framework for understanding the cultural, socio-political, and economic particularities of Africa, Africans, and Africans from the diaspora (module 2). Students will, subsequently, rethink the political particularities of Ghana and the continent in light of the concept of Sankofa (module 3). In the concluding module, we will use the concept of Sankofa to engage with one of the most timely frameworks for thinking of Africa today: Afrofuturism.

Urban Cultures, Social Innovation, and the Afro-Chic

Urban Cultures, Social Innovation, and the Afro-Chic – syllabus
(AFRS3500 / 3 credits)

This course involves an immersion into Ghanaian cities as sites for not only countering existing stereotypes of Africa, but also for positioning the continent as a global economic, political, and cultural force. Students will be introduced to the intricacies of hiplife, media houses, and institutions across the country, which highlight the position of Ghana in a hyper-globalized world. Through these aspects of urban culture, students will understand how the reshaping of continent narratives by local actors has implications for the global flow of information. This seminar brings together concepts connected to hiplife, food, and the Afro-Chic to engage critically with Ghanaian urban cultures.

Asante Twi

Asante Twi – syllabus
(TWII1003-3503 / 3 credits)

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

Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ANTH3500 / 3 credits)

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.

Independent Study Project or Internship

In addition to taking the above courses, students will also need to enroll in one of the following two courses:

Internship and Seminar
Internship and Seminar – syllabus
(ITRN4000 / 4 credits)

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.

Sample internships:

  • Nyaho Medical Center
  • Center for Democratic Development
  • Java Museum, Elmina
  • L’Oréal West Africa


Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits)

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.

Sample ISP topics:

  • Ghana-China relations in the service industry
  • African-Futurism and Afro-Futurism in Ghanaian Oral Folktales
  • Drivers of Perception:An Introductory Glance at Ghanaian Public
  • Opinion of Jamaica through Public Transportation
  • Food for Thought: Understanding Ghanaians’ Food Shopping Choices and Strategies
  • Ghana’s Green Revolution: Globalization and Smallholder Farming



You will live with a host family in Accra and experience the daily flow of life. Your homestay is a powerful immersive learning experience during which you’ll explore dynamics such as family structure, gender roles, food customs, household chores, concepts of space and belonging, and education of children. You’ll have a front-row seat to celebrations and rituals. You’ll gain confidence practicing Asante-Twi with your host family and through the connection of language get to know your host family on a deeper level.

Your homestay family will live in the West Legon, North Legon, Madina, or Adenta residential areas, typically within 30 minutes’ walking distance to the SIT program center in the bustling Accra suburb of North Legon, also known as Haatso. The area, strategically located near a number of universities, has become a hub for middle-class families. Your urban homestay begins after orientation and lasts throughout the program, in between various excursions and during the final week of the program. You may also choose to stay with your host family during the Independent Study Project or internship.

Excursion & Orientation Accommodations

During excursions students will stay in hostels and modest hotels.

Faculty & Staff

Ghana: Globalization, Cultural Legacies, and the Afro-Chic

Kwabena Opoku-Agyemang, PhD bio link
Kwabena Opoku-Agyemang, PhD
Academic Director
Juliana Sarfo bio link
Juliana Sarfo
Office Manager/Program Assistant
Thelma Ohene-Agyei, PhD bio link
Thelma Ohene-Agyei, PhD
Academic/Homestay Coordinator

Discover the Possibilities

  • Cost & Scholarships

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    SIT Study Abroad Ghana: Africa in the 21st Century

  • Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

    Fall 2018 alumna Jodi Ann Wong describes a day in the life of SIT’s Ghana program on the Kenyon College blog.

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