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 and African 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, Asians, and other foreigners 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 practical engagement with the topics you’re examining in the classroom. You’ll visit government departments, museums, markets, start-ups, industries, multinational companies, 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
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:
- Internship and Seminar – 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.
- 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.
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, private start-ups, 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 a local jeweler to understand the engagement between local entrepreneurs and the mining industry.
You’ll visit various upper-, middle-, and lower-income areas to see how class structure in Ghana is changing. At Madina 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 seven-day Kumasi excursion, you’ll visit the city’s sites, including the Royal Palace, the new Kumasi mall, 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 and the industry it has spawned.
Ghana found oil in commercial quantities off the coast of Takoradi in 2007. Since then, the city has witnessed a boom in multinational companies that have boosted the local economy. Visit one such company — General Electric — and tour their factory to see the ways in which they are a major player in Ghana’s oil industry. You will talk to workers about the roles expatriates play in Ghana’s socio-economic fabric. Finally, you will spend some time with the UNHCR to see how Ghana contributes to hosting and caring for refugees from the Ivory Coast, Sudan, Syria, and Liberia.
Tamale and Mole National Park
Tamale, a historical city in the north of Ghana, is a blend of tradition and modernity. Here, you will get insights into the country’s changing class structure and cultural diversity and transitions. You will witness the work of NGOs and come to understand the role these organizations play in the empowerment of marginalized communities. As part of this excursion, you’ll visit Mole National Park, Ghana’s largest wildlife park.
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.
The homestays in Accra is 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 program center is based in North Legon, also known as Haatso, a bustling and safe suburb in Accra. It is a 25-minute drive north of the airport and is strategically located near the University of Ghana, Wisconsin University College, Academic City, and the University of Professional Studies. North Legon is a rapidly evolving place that demonstrates the development of Accra outward from its traditional center. With central Accra becoming increasingly business-like in its outlook as more and more homes are converted into offices, places like North Legon have come to house a largely middle-class demographic that forms the working core of Ghana’s formal sector.
Your homestay will be with a family that is within 30 minutes’ walking distance to the SIT program center, in the West Legon, North Legon, Madina, or Adenta 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.
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
The faculty/staff team shown on this page is a sample of the individuals who may lead your specific program. Faculty and coordinators are subject to change to accommodate each program’s unique schedule and locations.
Kwabena Opoku-Agyemang, PhD, Academic Director
Kwabena holds a PhD in English literature from West Virginia University, where he also taught undergraduate courses in the Department of English. His research interests revolve around African literature, and he has authored publications that have focused on African electronic literature, video gaming, literature and gender, and oral literature. He teaches various undergraduate and graduate level courses in the University of Ghana’s Department of English, where he enjoys mentoring and interacting with students.
Thelma Ohene-Agyei, PhD, Academic Coordinator
Thelma was born in Takoradi and grew up in Obuasi, a mining town that is responsible for most of the gold that Ghana exports. She got her PhD in pharmacology from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom after earning her undergraduate and master’s degrees in pharmacy from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. She teaches in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Ghana and enjoys reading and writing.
Kwasi Atta, Student Services Coordinator
Kwasi, popularly known as Wofa Atta, started working with SIT in 1997 as the village homestay coordinator. He has since worked in other capacities, and thus brings a wealth of experience to the program. He is popular with students and keeps in touch with alumni. He is Catholic, and enjoys traveling and listening to traditional African music.
Juliana Sarfo, Homestay Coordinator
Juliana is affectionately known as Nana Ama and has worked with SIT since 2011. She coordinates the homestay, assists students with their cross-cultural adjustment challenges, and oversees the general welfare of students. She has a certificate in catering and participated in an international exchange program where she spent six months in Dingan, China. She loves to sing and cook.
Emmanuel Essel, Office Manager/Program Assistant
Emmanuel likes to be known as Joe. He got his undergraduate degree in agricultural engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, where he worked as a teaching assistant. He is from Cape Coast and used to produce fresh yoghurt for commercial purposes.
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.
Interning in Ghana
Ghana’s stable democracy has liberalized the formal sector, thus creating space for all kinds of organizations ranging from large multinationals that drill oil to small start-ups interested in creating apps for female empowerment. Internships in Ghana thus give you the opportunity to understand the work ethic and corporate environments that inform the formal sector. You might find yourself in an urban space like Accra or Kumasi; alternatively, you could work in Tamale or Takoradi.
- Nyaho Medical Center
- Center for Democratic Development
- African Center for Economic Transformation
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:
- Ghana-China relations in the service industry
- Evaluating the use of mobile phone apps to combat counterfeit drugs
- Life histories of female entrepreneurs
- The impact of West African contemporary music on the youth of Ghana
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: $2,926
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:
Airfare to Program Site
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 bring a smart phone that is able to accept a local SIM card with them to their program, or they must purchase a smart phone locally.
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.
In order to make study abroad more accessible, SIT's partner colleges and universities may charge home school tuition fees for their students participating on an SIT Study Abroad program. If your institution has an agreement with SIT and charges fees different from those assessed by SIT, please contact your study abroad advisor for more details. The SIT published price is the cost to direct enroll in the SIT program. Tuition fees may vary for students based on your home college's or university's billing policies with SIT.