I would live in Ghana September 28, 2018

By (University of Hartford) - abroad from 08/28/2017 to 05/27/2018 with

CIEE: Legon - Arts + Sciences

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned my independence and gained memories that will change my life forever. I've made great friends and even great networking connections. I'd do it all over again if I could.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

As a student with learning disabilities, it's very difficult to get the help you need as its a completely different learning environment. Very lecture heavy, not much dialogue between students and professor so it's easy to feel lost especially in a hard class. Very large class sizes and there's only two grades for the entire semester. Midterms and Finals. However, you can fail your midterm and still pass the class as long as, your finals are good. Also if you know or have a history of a learning disability (i.e. isolated testing, increased testing time) bring documentation from your home school BEFORE arriving, so everyone can be on the same page in accommodating your needs.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Kwesi was unhelpful but, the "Aunties" of the program were absolutely wonderful and work hard to provide each student whatever they needed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in ISH 1 Hostel. Everything was fine with the living arrangement EXCEPT for the porters. They were rude and nasty, the guard verbally assaulted me and another student in the program and was even rude to Aunty Abeena. They need to be fired.

* Food:

Definitely the place to go if you want to put on weight and be "thick." Great good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Being Jamaican, my island and Ghana historically has strong ties to each other. Ghanaians are the most nicest, hospitable, and fun people you could ever meet. I felt like I was at home.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Healthcare... eh they try their best.

* Safety:

Just use your common sense. I wouldn't be overly cautious in Ghana, it's a pretty non violent country for the most part. However, do realize that your an outsider (especially if you're white) and you take up more space than you know. Don't put yourself in harms way. Use common sense. Don't go in places in which English isn't mostly spoken or if you don't know the area comfortably. Put your valuables (phone, money etc.) in the deepest part of your bag when you're traveling throughout the town NOT YOUR BACK POCKET as petty theft is common.

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

Finances

* 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)

It really all depends on your lifestyle. In Ghana I went out almost everyday and traveled every weekend. However, I ate local food from markets which is much cheaper than eating from Western restaurants. Ghana is cheaper than the US if you are trying to live like a Ghanaian. However. if you go with the mindset of a Western person, it can be very expensive.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 50 USD
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? $3000 min is needed for a semester in Ghana (this includes occasional partying, eating out, traveling, buying souvenirs etc) Tip: Eat at the local market, save money on food so you can spend it on other things. LEARN HOW TO BARGAIN FOR EVERYTHING. Nothing has a set price unless there's a tag attached. Get a phone company that has a international plan (I used T Mobile) buying, a local phone and 'topping up' gets expensive.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

Most people in Accra speak English so to speak Twi isn't critical.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Twi 101
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Become friends with locals, practice at the market, study.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Location
  • Excursions
* What could be improved?
  • Preparation
  • Kwesi
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Bring more party clothes.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.