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.
Service learning is a particular type of course offering that combines the classroom with the community and academics with action. Prepare to make yourself a part of the city where you study in a way that most visitors cannot experience. It will call for some initiative and a willingness to become involved. Service Learning is a course and counts as part of your credit load. It cannot be taken for audit. Note that non-credit volunteer opportunities may also be available.
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.
Enhance your studies through non-credit workshops designed to provide opportunities for deeper engagement with unique aspects of Ghanaian life and culture.
Local faculty teach most USAC courses; however, the following US professors are also teaching as Visiting Professors.
Dr. Henquinet is a cultural anthropologist, specialized in international development, gender, vulnerability, rights, religion, and West Africa. She has published numerous papers based on her ethnographic research in Niger and other international projects. She directs Michigan Tech-Peace Corps partner programs and enjoys working with students in research and experiential learning.]
A lecturer in Multidisciplinary Studies, Harold Wilson enjoys finding and making the connections between history and our common experience. Time spent teaching in Nigeria and in the United States has given him the chance to explore these connections further, and he is committed to supporting student learning through the experiential practice of skills and service learning.
A Literary Journey into the History and Politics of West African Novels and Nations
Summer Session II (English, History; 300-level; 3 credits)
Like all great literature, West African novels are born out of a specific cultural and historical moment, and a need to capture that moment. Diligent readers strive to understand not only a novel’s plot, characters, and setting, but also the cultural and historical events that authors experience which give birth to the themes in the novel. In this class, we will read, discuss and write about the classic West African novels Things Fall Apart (Nigeria), God's Bits of Wood (Senegal), and The Beautiful Ones are Not Yet Born (Ghana) along with a more recent novel, Ghana Must Go (Ghana and Nigeria); we will learn together how to better place them into their cultural and historical moments, especially the colonization of West Africa and its aftermath. We will also participate in some West African cultural experiences ourselves; our class will visit local West African eateries, markets and other places described in the novels we read. By the end of the class, we will better understand not only some of the great African novels, but also ourselves as well which is the ultimate function of great literature.
African Music and Dance
Summer Session I (Dance, Music; 100-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Dance, Music; 100-level; 1 credit)
This course is to introduce level 100 students to Traditional Dances from Upper East Region, Eastern Region, Volta Region, Ashanti Region and Greater Accra Region in Ghana. The course would give students the opportunity to understand the role of dance in the Ghanaian Society since the dance is part and parcel of our life cycle. Emphasis is placed on the relationship between dance and music, while increasing strength, flexibility, and developing rhythmic sensitivity. Students would learn the cultural and historical context of the various dances taught. By the end of the eight weeks, the student should be able to dance at least three Traditional dances to the drum language.
Dance was, and continues to be, a very important aspect of who we are as Africans. It encompasses all four areas, which make up our living beings. Dance is spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical and dances should be appreciated and accepted as they are presented. Dance in the context of African Tradition is very patent to the life of Africans. To the African, Life with its rhythms and cycle is Dance. We dance to celebrate life, to show appreciation for all the gifts bestowed upon us by the Creator God, in our lives today, and all the generations past since the beginning of time. The dances reflected our daily lives but were represented as bigger, greater and more wonderful.
Contemporary Issues in Africa - Developing Countries
Summer Session I (Political Science; 300-level; 3 credits)
This course takes a critical view of the disappointing social, economic and political situations, especially in relation to peace, security and development that persist in developing countries. Our basic premise is that most of Africa and the rest of the developing world share certain predicaments that have persisted and appear to defy any simple explanation and solution. Among which the serious challenges are extreme poverty, political instability and national and human insecurity.
Today, nations the world over have realized the need for bridging the yawning gap between rich and poor nations. They have recognized that problems of the poor nations have significant effects on developments in rich nations as well. However, tracking and identifying the root causes of the precarious situations in these countries has often proven a daunting task. Several theoretical assumptions have always been postulated as explanatory factors for the crises of development in the developing world, some liberal, others, radical.
Contemporary Issues in Africa - Sustainable Economic Development
Summer Session II (Economics, Environmental Science, Political Science; 300-level; 3 credits)
The issue of how the world economy can continue to develop in a way that is socially inclusive and environmentally friendly is of crucial interest. Economic growth and sustainability must not necessarily be mutually exclusive. Human activities such as farming, land use, urbanization, population growth, pollution, energy production and its use are affecting the environment resulting in climate change, deforestation and land degradation among others which affect economic activities.
The course will introduce students to the interactions between the economy, society and the environment with particular reference to Africa and Ghana. It shall give insights into the key challenges and remedial actions needed to ensure sustainable economic growth in this age of globalization. The course includes examples of how economic activities affect the environment and vice versa, together with mitigating measures and adaptation to the changes occurring. Students who take this course will develop a deeper mindset about how economic growth can be maintained without creating other significant problems for future generations
Summer Session I (Community Health Sciences; 300-level; 3 credits)
This course is directed towards the student who wants to deepen his/her knowledge of global health and how preventive and promotive work can be carried on from an international perspective. This course also provides an introduction to problems involved in assessing international health needs and designing, implementing, managing, and evaluating public health programs in international settings. Topics include: issues in global health; major health problems and concerns of developing vs. developed countries; international health organizations; international health care systems and health development assistance; development of population/demographic transition; the global economy and health; access to medical care; cultural differences; emerging crises in global health.
Histories and Cultures of Africa
Summer Session I (Anthropology, History; 300-level; 3 credits)
The course begins with a general overview of African history: pre-colonial, colonial, and postcolonial periods. We highlight problems with prominent accounts of African histories and cultures from a Eurocentric perspective, and intentionally integrate African voices in class materials to seek alternative perspectives. Students read African Studies ethnographies to engage in theoretical discussions on social change, power, agency, globalization, and other social science concepts. Taking advantage of learning in Ghana, many materials will focus on West Africa and assignments will include not only traditional papers, but reflections on daily discussions and observations in Ghana to draw links with course materials.
Summer Session I (Service Learning, Social Work, Sociology; 400-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Service Learning, Social Work, Sociology; 400-level; 1 credit)
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.
Social Service Delivery Systems in Ghana
Summer Session I (Social Work, Sociology; 400-level; 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 commitments to their community.
Society, Government and Politics in Ghana and Africa
Summer Session II (Political Science, Sociology; 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.
The African Storyteller
Summer Session I (English; 300-level; 3 credits)
This course introduces students to traditional story-telling in Africa. The storytellers do not merely narrate stories; there is performance. The course will examine the art of the African storyteller including image, narrative, rhythm and symbolism. African storytelling from oral to written form will also be discussed. Students will have the opportunity to study the performance and aesthetics of African oral narratives and interpret them within their socio-cultural relevance.
Twi - African Language I
Summer Session I (Twi; 100-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Twi; 100-level; 1 credit)
This is a language course 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:
• written exercises
• translation (from English to Twi and from Twi to English)
• conversation and narration (dialogues, greetings, description of day – to – day activities, bargaining, giving directions)
• Grammar (parts of speech, nouns, e.g., verbs pronouns, particles, determiners; tense, aspect, negation, and questions; and ix ) and the culture.
Twi - African Language II
Summer Session II (Twi; 100-level; 1 credit)
The course will seek to introduce the students to the main features of Akan vowels – classification, description, distribution, vowel sequence, vowel harmony, nasalization. It will also deal with tones, their descriptions and functions – grammatical and lexical.