Finding Family in Accra, Ghana - Incredible Experience Past Review

By (International Affairs, University of Nevada - Reno) for

USAC Ghana: Accra - African Studies, International Development Studies, and courses offered directly by the University of Ghana

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience was definitely worthwhile - I only wish I could have stayed for longer than 6 weeks.

Review Photos

USAC: Accra - University of Ghana Undergraduate and Graduate Courses Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The two professors that I had both fully took advantage of the fact that we were in a foreign country in order to deepen our learning experience. While research papers in the United States often involve doing research through reading journal articles, we were able to gather our data firsthand. In one class, we had the opportunity to draft our own survey, implement it, and analyze the results. In another, we took numerous field trips to supplement what we learned in the "readings." The courseload was perfect - not so much that we had no time to go out and experience Accra, but enough to learn a good deal.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program director in Ghana, Abigail, was always available by phone, no matter what time of the night, and did everything she could to ensure our comfort, health, and safety. The rest of the staff in Accra were equally amiable. They made sure that we had an amazing experience and helped everything run smoothly.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We stayed in the international student hostel (which is basically a dorm). Because it was a summer program, many Ghanaian student had left Accra for vacation, and we had other roommates from USAC. The rooms were pretty large, but it took some creativity to figure out how to hang mosquito nets.There were some concerns about theft, so be sure to lock doors. There are small stovetops (think camping cookware) in the kitchen, so if you want to cook you can buy some cookware at the markets. You should definitely bring your own sheets, but the beds are pretty comfortable. The staff at ISH are wonderful, and Aunty Peggy will always greet you by name.

* Food:

It's tough to be completely vegetarian in Ghana, but not impossible. Most of the vegetarians on the trip introduced some fish into their diet to make life easier. Fish oil or dried fish is used in quite a few of the staple foods in Ghana. The night market outside of ISH has great egg sandwiches, and there is a small restaurant/kitchen on the bottom floor. Be careful when buying food from hawkers, be careful if buying bagged water instead of bottled. There are a few international restaurants in Accra (Thai, Lebanese, etc.), but you pay a little bit more for them. All in all, the food was delicious.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Our resident director told us USAC was our new last name when we arrived in Accra, and she was right. Barring a few small spats between individuals, all of us on the study abroad trip became a family. We watched each others backs and lended support when needed. The one thing lacking in the summer program was more interaction with Ghanaian students, as quite a few were out of town for summer vacation. However, we were still able to meet people when outside of campus, talking to our cabbies, building relationships with women at the market, and interacting with the local USAC staff.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Make sure you get all your shots, take anti-malarials, and I'd suggest also taking probiotics. There will be a public health presentation early on to cover all of the risks with different foods. Ghana is no more dangerous that any foreign country. The traffic is absolutely awful in Accra and drivers (especially tro tro drivers) do not follow the rules, but I remember thinking the same thing about drivers in Rome. The rules are the same as anywhere: don't travel alone, don't flaunt cash, you probably want to avoid walking down dark allies. Average Ghanaians hate thieves, just like in any country.

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)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

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  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be patient and do not be afraid to try new things, because they will be the most rewarding. Everyone should experience living in a country so different from their own at least once (both in terms of economics and culture).