Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression
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“SIT was an invaluable experience for me. It is so rare that you are put into a situation where you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a totally new culture, language, and way of life while being surrounded by incredibly talented and caring people. SIT gave me the perfect balance of freedom and support to learn amazing things about my surroundings.”
-- Peter Glidden, Wesleyan University
Explore Ghana’s rich cultural heritage and contemporary society. Engage with Ghanaian scholars, writers, and artists.
A country of approximately 20 million people, Ghana boasts an outstanding artistic heritage that manifests itself in all aspects of cultural performance and craftworks. Students explore this rich heritage through deep and meaningful engagement with Ghanaian scholars, artists, dancers, musicians, painters, sculptors, weavers, writers, and other in-country experts. Interdisciplinary coursework, held in the classroom and in the field, reveals to students the historical and contemporary circumstances that have shaped Ghanaian society and the artistic outputs of this complex and highly diverse West African country.
Lecturers are drawn from institutions such as:
- University of Winneba
- University of Cape Coast
- University of Ghana
- Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Exploring Ghana through Multiple Lenses
A portion of the program examines Ghana's social, economic, and political features. Broad contextual lectures give students the necessary foundation to understand the country as a whole, while location-specific seminars reveal to students the importance of understanding local circumstances. Topic areas considered in southern Ghana range from education and religious traditions unique to Africa, to the impact of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, to the role of Queenmothers in Krobo. Thematic seminars in northern Ghana examine topics such as the contrast between Western and traditionally trained midwives to the role of local markets in the global economy.
The program is based in Ghana's capital, Accra, a cosmopolitan city of nearly 3 million people. Accra is the political and economic heart of Ghana, and home to cutting-edge, forward-thinking visual and performing arts circles. Students attend lectures at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, where they acquire knowledge of the historical factors impacting Ghana's present-day political, economic, social, and artistic processes. Ghana is a country still very much impacted by its colonial history, as evidenced by the country's current institutions. With a particular emphasis on society, transformation, and the arts, students on this program discover the way Ghanaians have negotiated, and continue to negotiate, their history in finding their place in today's increasingly interconnected world.
Educational excursions are a central component of the program. Visits across the country— to museums, shrines, and other locations of academic interest—are carefully designed to enrich seminars and language study. Deep immersion in Ghana's highly distinct regions gives students a thorough understanding of the multiple factors— local/global, urban/rural, economic, political, religious, and social—shaping Ghana's contemporary circumstances. Students explore different locations, from Accra in the south to Tamale in the north, continuously examining contemporary and "traditional" art forms.
Homestays in three different Ghanaian communities provide students with invaluable learning experiences and cultural insight. Language study at Kumasi Anglican Secondary School (KASS) further facilitates cross-cultural dialogue and understanding.
|Spotlight on SIT Ghana Alumni.
Peter Glidden works to create social change in his homestay village
SIT Ghana alum helps Philadelphia youth come of age through art:
"My experience studying abroad in Ghana has had a huge influence on me since, including influencing my paintings in graduate school and inspiring me to apply for a Fulbright fellowship so I could return to Ghana to recharge creatively." (PDF)
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