Ghana: Slow down, Appreciate, Enjoy Past Review

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CIEE: Legon - Arts + Sciences

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Being in Ghana really made me appreciate life and see what is really important. Children in Ghana have so little, yet they are so happy. The people are welcoming, helpful, and generous. People always take the time to stop and chat on the streets with acquaintances. In the U.S., people can go a whole day without another human interaction, but in Ghana, life is centered around small interactions with people. Ghanaians are the kindest people. You can tell them once that you have a brother, and everytime they see you thereafter they will ask you how your brother is doing. There are many lessons that Ghana could teach the rest of the world. Slow down, appreciate, enjoy.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The CIEE-run classes were great - very interesting, small class sizes, and great professors. The program director, Kwasi, taught a seminar on living and learning in Ghana, and that was definitely my favorite class - it taught me a lot about the culture of Ghana and about myself and my own values. The University classes were very different. The classes are mostly all very big and there is little personal interaction with the lecturers. A lot of the professors expect the class to take notes on every single word that they say in lecture and regurgitate it on exams. For the most part, the classes did not require critical thinking, as critical thinking is not encouraged in Ghana - but if the student is willing to put in a little extra effort, they can learn a lot. Also, the cultural experience of going to class is a very interesting one!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Kwasi Gyasi-Gyamerah, the program director, was absolutely amazing. He was able to answer all questions, he was supportive when a student got sick, he was there to help us out of any trouble we got into, and he was there just to talk to. The CIEE Ghana program also had Ghanaian students at the University who worked for the program, called UPals. These students became our best friends. They would come out with us, show us safe and fun places to go, help us learn about the campus, help us in classes, and just be there as friends.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The dorms were very adequate - definitely more than I was expecting. The bathrooms were always clean, though the water would occasionally go off. There was 24 hour security and help desk. A seamstress and a painter came to the hostel every week to sell products. There was a woman who did laundry for a small fee. The dorm was directly next to the 'Night Market' - stands with food, supplies, etc.

* Food:

The food is amazing. It can be really spicey and flavorful. It might be a little difficult for vegetarians - but some stands sold plain rice with a vegetable stew which is very recommended. TRY EVERYTHING ONCE! A lot of the foods looks SO different - Fufu, Waakye, Red Red, Banku, etc. But try it once. You might love it. Also, there is always fresh fruit - amazing.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

Every speaks English in Ghana - at least very basic English, so the native language is NOT needed to get around. However, students are required to take Twi. Most people in Accra speak Twi along with English, and they LOVE it when you try to use their language. We would practice our Twi with cab drivers, shop owners, and local friends.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You need to be able to be taken out of your comfort zone. People obsessed with personal hygeine might have some trouble. It is not necessarily a dirty place - but it is very hot out, and with sweating and walking around, you get pretty dirty during the day. There is no hot water, but after a hot day, all you want is a cold shower. There is a lot of litter on the streets and you will see a lot of dirty places. There are not many public bathrooms - there are female urinals. To benefit from this program, you need to be willing to be taken out of your comfort zone and live in a very different environment. You need to be open-minded and observant - try to understand why things are they way they are in Ghana rather than complain about differences.