Wisconsin's Public Liberal Arts College

Study Abroad: Ghana


Communicating Arts Department

Study Abroad: Ghana

Study Abroad in Ghana:

Program Description

1.     Criteria for Acceptance into the Program

·      Students must be Juniors, Seniors or Graduate students.

·      Must have a GPA of at least 2.5. (Must seek program coordinators approval with lower GPA's).

·      Must submit an application and an essay stating why they are interested in the program.

·      Program will be opened to Distance Learning students as well as students from other institutions.

This program is designed to cover an academic year. There are three parts to it:

A.   Fall Semester: One- credit course to introduce students to the Africa and Ghana specifically. This course will be offered online.

B.    J-Term: A four -credit residential study abroad program in Ghana

C.    Spring Semester: A one- credit reflective activity and presentation. This credit will be offered online.

2.     Specific Course Description

The inter connectedness of the world makes it imperative for students to expand their knowledge of other cultures to develop intercultural competence.  The knowledge and skills that come with intercultural competence is required in every aspect of life.  Cultures have different ways of dealing with education, health and business and understanding these differences is essential in preparing students for life.

This course introduces students to one of the rapidly growing part of Africa, Ghana. Ghana, as the first sub-Saharan country in Africa to gain independence, has a rich cultural heritage, nurtured by multiple ethnic groups. As a leading voice in African liberation, the country has always been at the forefront of harnessing the potential of Africa for its development. The country is currently one of the most stable democracies in Africa and boasts of one of the most rapidly growing economies in the world.

As a country in transition, Ghana offers students an opportunity to explore the dialectics between tradition and change. In this course, students will have the opportunity to work with a community based organization located in the capital Accra. Students will also take field trips to cultural heritage sites in Cape Coast, Akosombo and Aburi. 

Students will have the opportunity to reflect on the evolutionary processes that countries such as Ghana are going through as they struggle to negotiate between their traditions and modernity. Students will be required to write reflective papers on their experience interacting with people in specific fields, the history of the country and new initiatives that are being undertaken by the government, communities and individuals. The reflections will require students to critically examine their experiences on the study, compare it to what goes on in the United States and draw lessons that will be useful in their communication with people from Ghana.

Academic Year Course Components

Fall Term

Preparing before entering a new culture is important to be effective and to get the best out of the experience. As part of preparation for this course, students will be required to take a one-credit course that will introduce them to Study Abroad, Africa and Ghana.  The course will be offered through D2L. (See attached document for course syllabus). At the end of the course students must accomplish the following:

i.               Have a basic understanding of the history and attempts at economic development of Africa.

ii.              Understand the history, political, social and economic structures of Ghana.

iii.            Students will be exposed to the history, social and economic structures of the community they will be conducting research.

iv.            Students will have an understanding of the history and objectives of the organizations that they will work with as they work on their projects.

v.               Students will gain insight into the culture of Ghana and how to develop intercultural communication competence.

vi.            Be able to draw on research skills and information gained from other courses to conduct research in Ghana.

On-Campus Orientation

As I have indicated the, preparation course for this study abroad will be offered online. The reason for this choice is to offer DL students an opportunity to have study abroad experience. Also, it will provide an opportunity for students in other schools in the UW System to gain advantage of the program. It is however, to have a face-to-face orientation for students to interact with each other before traveling to Ghana. Part of the Fall orientation will be opened to parents/guardians of students who may have some questions or concerns about the program.

J-Term

A four week stay in Ghana to conduct research will take place during the J-Term following the Fall course. Students will leave to Ghana on December 26, 2012and return to the United States on January 20, 2013. (See attached study abroad itinerary for full schedule). During the four week stay in Ghana students are required to accomplish the following objectives:

i.               Develop intercultural competence through interactions with the people of Ghana.

ii.              Conduct research in one of the following areas: women empowerment, community development, education and transportation.

iii.            Experience the rich diversity and cultural heritage of Ghana through sites visits and direct interactions with the people of Ghana.

iv.            Develop intercultural communication competence

In Country Orientation

            As a means to maximize the experiences of students, there will be a series of orientations and seminars for the students throughout their stay in Ghana. The day after they arrive, there will be an orientation during which a representative of La Mansaamo Kpee the host organization and an Asst. Professor from the University of Ghana. This orientation will aimed at helping students to understand the community, the organizational culture of the organizations they will be partnering with as well as how to best maximize their stay in Ghana from someone who recently relocated from the United States to Ghana. The orientation and debriefing will continue each week of the stay of the students in Ghana. 

Spring Term

The study abroad experience will be concluded in the Spring semester with a reflective paper and a presentation. This one credit course will offer students the opportunity to write a paper based on their research in Ghana. A forum will then be organized for students to share their experiences with the rest of the campus community. This concludes the study abroad experience of the students. 

3.     Descriptions of the Organizations

La Mansaamo Kpee (LMK): http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/ghana-community-health-care-center/people/

LMK was established in 1979 in response to the sanitation challenges facing the La community in Ghana. Since then the organization has evolved into a community development organization with multiple branches.  Some of the branches within the organization include:

a.     Youth Wing: this branch of LMK is focused on developing leadership skills entrepreneurial spirit among the youth of La. The members of this branch are made up of social clubs organized around various causes such as environmental campaigns. This will be a good opportunity for students interested in issues related advocacy and youth and development. 

b.     Women's Group: This group is organized for the empowerment of women. Working closely with the community bank, this branch of the organization works to provide members with capital to promote trade and other entrepreneurial ventures among women. Working with this group will give students the opportunity to explore issues related to gender, small businesses and women empowerment.

c.     Schools K-12 and vocational training: As part of a way to promote education among the people of La, LMK has established schools for the poor people in La. These schools have been a welcome resource for those who cannot afford to send their children to private schools. Students can choose to conduct research in these schools to explore topics such as different styles of teaching and learning, organizing community schools as well issues related to human development etc.

d.     La Community Development Bank: As a means to mobilize resources for the development of La, LMK has established a community development bank to provide banking services to the community. The bank has over the years received capitalization from the Swedish International Aid Development Organization etc. The bank boasts of being one of the most thriving community development banks in Ghana. The La Community Bank will offer students the opportunity to explore issues related to micro lending and community development.

e.     Community Health: LMK also operates a community health clinic that provides pre and post natal services for women. The health clinic also provides immunization and first aid treatment to vulnerable people in the community. Students interested in issues related to public health could conduct research with the community clinic.

f.      Community Sanitation: This is one of the major services that LMK provides in the community. The organization has public bathrooms and organizes regular sanitation programs to keep the community clean and healthy. This branch of LMK offers an opportunity for people issues related to sanitation and environmental protection.

GPRTU- La Branch:

The Ghana Private Road Transportation Union (GPRTU) is an umbrella organization made up of members who own and operate private transportation vehicles such as taxis and mini vans. The role of private transport operators in the country is an intriguing phenomenon that offers a lot of opportunities for research by students interested in issues related to transportation in to developing world.

 

4.     Accommodation

The students will be housed in a hostel in Accra, close to the place they will be conducting research. They will be allocated the hostel rooms for the whole duration of their stay in Ghana. See the site below for possible places for students to stay at:

 

http://www.hostels.com/accra/ghana

While on the trip to Cape Coast the students will stay at Hans Cottage:

 

http://www.southtravels.com/africa/ghana/hanscottage/index.html

5.     Transportation

To facilitate the movement of students throughout their stay in Ghana, we will rent a bus for the durations of their stay. The bus will be used to transport students from their hostels to their research sites. It will also be used for the weekend trips. Additionally, students will have access to taxis and mini vans (trotros) which are popular forms of transportation in Ghana. They will be given information about how to use these means of transportation during the orientation sessions. Below are reviews of the transportation system in Ghana by virtual tourist.

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Africa/Ghana/Greater_Accra_Region/Accra-2039506/Transportation-Accra-TG-C-1.html

 

6.     State Department Travel Information on Ghana:

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1124.html

 


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