Education for your soul and brain August 03, 2016

By (University of Massachusetts Amherst / UMass) - abroad from 07/06/2016 to 07/27/2016 with

ThisWorldMusic: Traveling - Study in Ghana: Music, Arts, Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The teaching style is different in Ghana than in America. I definitely appreciated experiencing a different style of teaching as well as a completely different style of life and am humbled to understand the reality of their daily existence more fully.

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.

This program was not only academically rigorous but also emotionally challenging.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Staff at the Dagbe institute were friendly, competent, and available for what we needed individually and ThisWorldMusic's support staff was knowledgeable and supportive with whatever concern we were having...day or night.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Bedding wasn't very supportive but I understand the need to adapt given the country we were living in.

* Food:

Food was always plentiful and delicious but often repetitive and I sometimes left a meal feeling like I didn't get adequate nutrients and energy for expectations of the dance program.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The most culturally immersive program I have ever experienced. We were given so many opportunities to interact with members of the community as well as other participants.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The program guides were readily available and very well prepared to handle ANY health concern that arose. They were in constant communication with health professionals to ensure that the health of every participant was prioritized to ensure a positive but REAL experience.

* Safety:

I felt very safe and well protected both at the Dagbe institute as well as in the hotels we stayed at throughout our journey.

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

The planning, preparation, diversity, and guidance presented in this program is outstanding. The cultural immersion is beautiful and enlightening.

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)

Food was pretty inexpensive. It's difficult to gauge how much a person needs to bring for the trip because everyone has different eating and spending habits, but if you're aware of how much money you've got, you shouldn't have a problem.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $200 - including souveniers

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

Everyone spoke english, so learning the native Ewe language wasn't crucial, but we were encouraged to try common phrases in their native language as a mode of becoming more fully immersed in their culture.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
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? Look up some common phrases in the Ewe language and become familiar with the sounds of the letters in their alphabet so that you can more easily figure out how to say some of the words that are written for you as you're learning words to some of the songs.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • cultural immersion
  • support from the guides
  • diversity in activities
* What could be improved?
  • more outings while at Dagbe
  • a visit to the treehouse at Kakum
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Bring more food from home for in between meals or when you just need something from home to keep your palate satisfied. Easy mac, cup of noodles, instant oatmeal and SLIM JIMS. Also - bring more light pants/long shorts for the towns. Finally - there aren't as many mosquitos as you think - the malaria meds and bug spray are a precaution just to make sure we're safe!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.