Studying abroad can be a more meaningful and invigorating learning experience than at home—both inside and outside of the classroom. You may be more curious and alert than you usually are so use this heightened energy to enhance your studies as well as your cultural and geographical explorations. You may also encounter different teaching styles and course processes; be prepared to adapt and to learn.
You will enroll in 12-18 credits per semester comprised of courses taught specifically for USAC students and courses selected from an array of offerings at the University of Ghana. All students will enroll in Twi Conversation and Culture I which increase your understanding of the Ghanaian culture and equip you with language and cross-cultural skills that will be of assistance in your day-to-day life abroad. Course availability is contingent upon student enrollment and is subject to change.
Enhance your studies through non-credit workshops designed to provide opportunities for deeper engagement with unique aspects of Ghanaian life and culture.
Deepen your academic experience by turning the optional Kumasi and Volta Eco tours into a 1-credit field study by completing additional academic requirements (readings, research, written assignments, reports, etc.) on the historical, cultural, and natural features of the region. Participation in both tours is required to enroll in the Field Study.
You have the unique opportunity to experience Ghanaian culture and society through a service learning course and work in a variety of settings, which includes opportunities like teaching/tutoring at an elementary school, working at a local orphanage, assisting with advocacy and awareness programs at the West African Aids Foundation, training and fundraising opportunities at a community development NGO, working at the Accra Zoo or West African Primate Conservation Action, assisting at a local dance or theater company and others based on request. Some organizations may charge a one-time fee for the service learning or volunteering placement. You will learn more about the available opportunities during your on-site orientation and your placement will be confirmed at that time based on your interests and organizations' needs.
USAC internships are considered courses and count as part of your credit load. They can be time-consuming, but are very worthwhile. Students are placed in an environment with high exposure to culture. Interns earn credits but no financial compensation. The schedule and the number of work hours will be determined by the schedule of USAC courses.
Accra internship opportunities fall into broad categories. Prior placements include: elementary schools, social service organizations and community development organizations. Other sites related to student interests may be possible upon request. Placement is not guaranteed by USAC, rather it will be determined by your application and supporting materials and an interview on site with the internship sponsor.
Eligibility: enrollment in the Accra program, minimum 3.0 GPA and junior standing at the time of the internship. A refundable fee of $100 is charged by USAC and returned upon successful completion of the internship. Some organizations in Ghana will charge an additional non-refundable administrative fee for the placement, and this is the student's responsibility.
Local faculty teach most USAC courses; however, the following US professors are also teaching as Visiting Professors.
Dr. McGadney, Fulbright Scholar alumni, has engaged in innovative student-centered-teaching and participatory research in the U.S., Africa, and Canada. In Ghana, Dr. McGadney conducted field research on indigenous health-related practices of grandmothers for malnourished children and peace-keeping strategies of war-displaced women. She is a strong advocate for applied collaborative inclusionary-student-centered-learning.
Contemporary Social Issues in Ghana: Examinations of Problem Solving Strategies
Fall (Social Work, Sociology; 300-level; 3 credits)
This course introduces students to social issues and a range of philosophical problem-solving approaches allowing a critical examination of values and assumptions used to resolve ethical dilemmas of authenticated Ghanaian case narratives. Students will be introduced to indigenous practices and social issues where proposed resolutions will be informed by Ghana’s constitution, professional codes and ethics, international rule of law, and customary beliefs. Practices/Issues: Trokosi System, Kayayoo girls, child labour, hawkers, Sakawa boys, child marriages, widows rites, witchcraft, FGM, trafficking, HIV/AIDS, internal displacement, mining foreigners, and poor sanitation, and plight of the homeless, orphans, elderly, refugees, and mentally and/or physically challenged.
Development in Africa: Indigenous Push and Pull Issues in Ghana
Fall (Social Work, Sociology; 300-level; 3 credits)
Course content will include an overview of change theories and principles for relief, rehabilitation, and development to confront poverty by building economic opportunity and social inclusion in Africa, with attention to Ghana. Contemporary cultural issues which promote or harm sustainable development such as language, ethnic violence, notions of familiarity and kinship, marriage systems, and associated practices, gender issues (witchcraft), foreign aid, workplace ethics, and values, standards, and norms of westerners in Ghanaian organizational life will be addressed. Critique of case studies, documentaries, and indigenous cultural beliefs/practices will enhance student competency to use a framework to conduct a holistic asset-based analysis of a development project in Ghana.
Family, Society and Development in Ghana/Africa
Spring (Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)
The characteristics of the family and society in Africa (sub-Saharan Africa in particular, including Ghana) are quite distinct in several aspects. Social Anthropologists have studied and recorded these among the various peoples in the region. The study of African families and societies has been of interest since its contact with the West. In more recent times, the attention of students and scholars in Africa and elsewhere who study African families and societies has been on the socio-cultural transformations that have been taking place in them. To a large extent, the transformations have been consequences of the processes of modernization or development.
Ghanaian Culture and Natural Resources Field Study
Fall (Political Science; 400-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Political Science; 400-level; 1 credit)
USAC offers a one credit field studies course in Ghanaian culture and natural resources. USAC encourages every student to participate in the field studies course. However, this segment of the program is optional and enrollment in the field studies course is necessary to participate on the trip itself. A fee is charged for the field trip to cover transportation, and room and board.
Historical Perspectives on Political and Economic Development in Africa
Fall (400-level; 3 credits)
This course will analyze the social, cultural, political and economic issues in Ghana, which have originated from historical circumstances but have impacted the current status of the country and its people. We will examine how Ghana and its people were shaped by their history, as well as how their status both on the African continent and globally is affected by their culture, politics, and continued economic stability. This course will provide an opportunity to explore Ghana’s culture and prosperity through contact with members of its business and political community.
Fall (Service Learning, Social Work, Sociology; 400-level; 1 - 3 credits)
Spring (Service Learning, Social Work, Sociology; 400-level; 1 - 3 credits)
Service learning combines community service with academic instruction, focusing on critical, reflective thinking and personal and civic responsibility. Service learning programs involve students in activities that address community-identified needs, while developing their academic skills and commitment to their community.
Strategies for Social Development
Spring (Sociology; 300-level; 3 credits)
This course is intended to help students understand various strategies employed to achieve social development. Strategies for social development involve complex processes, and while some may be effective, other strategies may be ineffective. The course will explore a number of these strategies, provide students with some capacity to appraise the roles of development organizations in the development processes, and assess the intent and consequences of international aid. It examines major social issues, emphasizes the social consequences of globalization, North/ South power relations and structural adjustment programs. It analyses the dynamic relationship between social issues and development.
The course explores differences between effective and ineffective strategies for social and community development. It examines the context of development in Ghana, the role of NGOs and government agencies and relationships between the two sectors. Additionally, it focuses on a cross- section of strategies employed by government agencies and the NGO sector in areas of reproductive health, food security and poverty alleviation and community development.
Twi Conversation and Culture I
Fall (Twi; 100-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Twi; 100-level; 3 credits)
This language course is designed to provide basic communicative competence in oral and written Twi for beginners. It will focus on the structure of the language as well as the culture of the people. The areas covered include:
• parts of speech, e.g. nouns, verbs, pronouns, particles, determiners
• greetings and responses, bargaining, giving directions
• elements of Akan culture and acceptable behavior
Twi Conversation and Culture II
Spring (Twi; 100-level; 3 credits)
This class builds upon your basic knowledge and communication skills in Akan language. You will learn more about the social contexts of greetings, how to talk about time, the family, food, games, travel and more. Cultural lessons are part of language learning and you will learn how to appropriately find out information from others, understand various symbols used in specific social contexts and how one is expected to behave in a given social context. You will also learn more about the pattern of pronunciation of Akan words, how to produce and recognize tonal contrasts, forming, understanding and using different kinds of complex sentences, complex tense/aspect/mood combinations.