Summer in Ghana

This unique program will take you through a diverse set of locales in Ghana, West Africa. Experience the culture and history of Ghana through song and dance, as well as workshops and performances by local groups. Earn between 6-9 credits for this amazing 3-week program.

Study abroad in Ghana and participate in this 3-week intensive summer program. Experience African cultures through visual and performing arts in this unique introduction to various topics in African Traditional and Popular Culture, Philosophy, and Visual and Performing Arts. 

Tons of excursions and field trips - Enjoy traditional music and dance festivals as well as workshops with the award-winning National Dance Company of Ghana. Participate in local festivals and enjoy visits to Kakum Rainforest, Universities of Ghana, Cape Coast, Winneba, and more! 

Faculty-led. This summer study abroad program is led by faculty from Ohio University who are experts in Ghanian culture, music, dance, and art!

Unique cultural immersion - Using on-site culture as your context, immerse yourself in Ghanaian culture as you learn the African language of Ewe (pronouced A-vay). Ho, the regional capital of the Volta Region of Ghana (and right near the border of Togo) and the location of most of the major ethnic groups in the region, provides a unique program base. 

Great field experience - Field experience will include participation in festivals, visits to historic sites such as the slave castles, museums, and the cultural and art centers. Practical training will involve learning from indigenous artists such as drummers, dancers, and craftsmen.

If you've always wanted to study abroad in Africa, check out our Summer in Ghana program. Here are just a few of the key highlights that make this program unique:

  • Learn from and interact with the National Dance Company of Ghana
  • Practical lessons in drumming, dancing, and singing
  • Learn to make your own African Batik
  • Spend a weekend with a local family
  • Observe and participate in several traditional music and dance festivals
  • Participation in Traditional Music and Dance Festivals
  • Master Classes with the National Dance Company of Ghana
  • Village Study Tours of the Central, Greater Accra and Volta Regions
  • Visits to Kakum Rainforest, Universities of Ghana, Cape Coast, and 
  • Winneba, Kente Village, Kpetoe, Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, Ghana National
  • Museum, Ghana Broadcasting Corporations, etc.
  • Practical Lessons in Drumming, Dance & Singing
  • Learn to make your own African Batik/ Adinkra, etc.
  • Spend weekends with Host families
  • Learn an African Language: Ewe or Twi
  • Instrumental repair workshops, and many more!

In this largely travel-based program, the group moves from one cultural region to another in the extremely diverse setting of Ghana.

Among the places visited are the following:

Cape Coast and Elmina Castles

Both the Cape Coast Castle and the Elmina Castle were once used to house slaves before being transported to the Americas. Both castles were recently restored and offer a glimpse into the life of a slave before they went through the "gate of no return".

Kakum Rainforest 

Just north of Cape Coast, Kakum is mostly undisturbed virgin rainforest. It covers an area of 350 square kilometers and includes over 40 species of mammals, 200 species of birds, and over 400 species of butterflies. You'll also have a chance to walk between the tops of the trees on the canopy walkway!

Greater Accra Region

This region is the second most populous in all of Ghana and holds the capital city of Accra. Within Accra, you can visit Osu Castle, the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, Independence Square, the National Theater, Makola Market, and Jamestown.

National Theater of Ghana

Built in 1992, this imposing structure houses the National Dance Company, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the National Theatre Players. The Theater showcases plays, poetry slams, dances, and more! From a distance, the building looks like a gigantic ship or a seagull spreading its wings.

Kente Village, Kpetoe

The town of Kpetoe is renowed throughout Ghana for its Kente weaving. Kente is the hand-woven cloth that is the best known and most widely recognized African textile. It has been declared a world heritage treasure by UNESCO. As you walk through the village, you'll see the famous weavers in action and maybe even get a piece of your own Kente, the cloth worn by the Asante kings!

Volta Region

The Volta Region is right on the border of Togo and is home to the Ewe (pronouced A-Vay) people. It is known for its extraordinary beauty of rolling hills and valleys, Lake Volta, and numerous lagoons, rivers, and waterfalls. Lake Volta is a source of electric power for the people of Ghana, too!

Traditional music and dance festivals

You'll visit several throughout your three weeks in Ghana.

Students on the Summer in Ghana program will perform, analyze, construct, critique and demonstrate their acquired skills in various African artistic mediums such as music, dance, theater, and visual arts through studio classes, interaction with families, artists, chiefs, governmental art institutions and renowned professors which makes this an extraordinary life-changing experience.

Participants in the program can choose 2-3 of the following courses, each of which is worth 3 credits, for a total of 6-9 credits:

African Music and Related Arts 

This course will explore the significant interrelationships among the arts of Africa, with special attention to music, dance, poetry, storytelling, visual and dramatic expressions. The goal is to increase a deeper understanding and hence better appreciation of the artistic-aesthetic, communal, ritual, and general functions of the arts in everyday life without undermining their essential interrelatedness. Additionally, students will be equipped with analytical tools, ideas, and contextual information drawn from diverse cultural groups, in time and space. Selections will include, among others, contemporary performance traditions, such as popular secular and religious (i.e., indigenous, Christian, Islamic, secret societies, etc.), and those employed routinely in rites of passage. Students will gain close familiarity with specific examples through hands-on, audiovisual and live presentations. The course will also explore in detail traits unique to each category (or genre) of art (such as music, dance, mask form) in order to raise students’ sensitivity toward local creative genius, innovative tendencies, and the communal values that frame the arts and the experiences associated with them. Finally, the course will create a framework that would facilitate the appreciation of the influences of the African arts on other world cultures.


Dance in non-Western Cultures: African 

This course investigates the historical and aesthetic practices of human society in non-western cultures focusing on: dance as a system of communication, dance as part of a social structure, dance as ethnicity, and dance as sacred art. The course also examines dance as a human phenomenon that both reflects and shapes culture. Through a series of lectures, discussions, studio workshops, readings, films/videos and outside performances or guest artists (when possible), students are introduced to a variety of dance forms from different African (and World) traditions. The focus of this course will be on Ghana with general survey of dances from sub-Saharan Africa, and the African Diaspora (and other world dance and music forms.) The course examines the place of dance in its own cultural setting and its relationship to contemporary artistic expressions. Assignments will include both performance work and research papers. This course involves lectures, studio workshop, as well as performance presentations. Participation in the above-mentioned activities is mandatory and therefore attendance is important in each class meeting. Performance Projects will be based on accumulated knowledge from the course, required reading(s), workshop activities and student’s outside research.


African Cultural Values 

This course investigates the psychological, religious, historical and sociological foundations of African cultures. Focusing on selected Ghanaian ethnic groups, students will investigate interdisciplinary strategies for developing cross-cultural understanding of African cultures values and ways of life. Emphasis upon innovative approaches to indigenous learning and teaching will also be discussed and experienced in traditional contexts. Practical activities will be involved.


African Dance-Drumming Ensemble 

This course provides an opportunity for advanced study and performance of African music and dance in an ensemble setting from sub- Saharan Africa. Students will employ various African performance techniques and will demonstrate their skills using the master drum, supporting instruments, singing and dance. Social, cultural and historical backgrounds of various ethnic groups, functions and analytical study of dance movements in ritual, ceremonial, religious, and recreational contexts will also be investigated. Films and videotapes will provide visual examples. Students will have opportunities to perform on campus and also tour with the ensemble.


African Dance Technique

This course provides an opportunity for advance study and performance of African dance as a performance activity from sub-Saharan Africa. Students will employ various African performance techniques and will demonstrate their skills using dance, singing, the master drum, and supporting instruments. Social, Cultural and Historical background of various ethnic groups, functions and analytical study of dance movements in ritual, ceremonial, religious, and recreational contexts will also be investigated. Films and videotapes will provide visual examples.

1. What is the cost of program tuition? What is included in the program fees?

The program cost for the Summer in Ghana program can be found on the Price and Dates page.

2. When are the program fees due?

The Program fees for Summer in Ghana are due on April 1st. CISabroad will email invoices to students approximately one month before the program payment deadline. For example, if your payment deadline is July 15, you should expect your invoice in mid-June. If you are using financial aid, please ensure all financial aid paperwork is returned to our office by the payment deadline. If your financial aid does not cover your entire balance, CISabroad accepts these payment methods.

3. What is due with my application and when is my application due?

There are four easy steps in the Application process.

1. Fill out the online application, which includes your contact information, what program you are applying for, etc.

2. Pay the $200 application deposit in order to secure your space in the program. This amount will be applied toward the final cost. 

3. Complete the Academic Reference Form, Course Selection Worksheet, Personal Statement, Applicant Profile, and Scholarship Application (Optional).

4. Mail in your official Transcript to our office.

For detailed instructions, see application instructions. The application for the Summer in Ghana program is due on March 15th.

4. Do I need a passport or visa? When should I apply for my passport/visa?

For almost all CISabroad programs, you WILL NEED A PASSPORT. Your passport must be valid for 6 months BEYOND the date you return to the United States. For detailed passport instructions, U.S. citizens should check the State Department's Travel Site. For the 2014 Summer in Ghana program, you WILL need a visa. More specific information will be given upon acceptance into the program.

5. Is there a GPA requirement?

Yes! For the Summer in Ghana program, the GPA requirement is 2.5.

6. What are my housing options?

The Summer in Ghana program offers shared housing that ranges from hotels to homestays.

7. Will other students participate in the program with me? How many?

CISabroad programs are not only a great way to meet local and international students, but also students from around the United States. Program size varies each year - if enrollment size is important to you, contact a CISabroad advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

8. How many credits are offered in the program?

For the Summer in Ghana program, you will enroll in 3-4 courses (6-8 U.S. Credits). To see the courses available, go to the course catalog.

9. Can I combine this program with another CISabroad program like intern, summer, or semester abroad?

Yes! A great way to extend your CISabroad experience is participating in another program. Combine semester programs to create a full academic year or if an academic year is just a little too long and a semester is too short, combine a semester and summer session or a semester and a January term program. You can also participate in a semester abroad and combine that with a summer intern abroad. To find out more information on the application process for more than one CISabroad program, contact a CISabroad advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

Spend your summer studying in beautiful West Africa! The Republic of Ghana was established in 1957, and has since become a role model in international cooperation, democracy, education, and socioeconomic standards for other struggling African nations. Ghana is one of the most diverse nations on the continent and is known for the hospitality of its people and the beauty of its landscapes. There are over 100 ethnic groups in Ghana, each with their own traditions, festivals, music, and dances. 

You will be primarily based in Ho, a friendly city with a lively market and a wide range of cultures and cuisines from the rest of Ghana. The region also boasts beautiful textiles, colorful festivals, a love of soccer, the world’s largest man-made lake (Lake Volta), waterfalls, and jungles. 

Your classes will focus on modern Ghana and its various artistic mediums. You will also be able to learn more about Ghanaian culture by trying unique local foods, using batik to dye T-shirts, exploring the beaches and fishing culture of Ghana, and visiting vibrant markets.

Traveling program that stops in Accra, Ho, and Winneba.

Students are housed in shared rooms throughout the program. Housing varies from budget hotels and hostels to student residences and accommodations with local families.

See attachment for housing info. Includes, laundry, swimming pool, 2 buffet meals per day, and much more!

Dr. Paschal Yao Younge, Professor of  Music at Ohio University, was born into an ethnic Ewe family from Ghana; he comes from a long line of musicians and dancers. In addition to his traditional background, Younge’s father was a church organist who worked at integrating drums into the Catholic liturgy, and brought western instruments into his home. As a result, Younge grew up with instruction in both types of music, and performed in brass bands, church choirs, and drumming and dance groups. He had no master teacher, but absorbed what he could from his father and other members of the community. He has also written a book and DVD set that tackles the topic of African music and dance.

Dr. Zelma Badu-Younge, Associate Professor of Dance at Ohio University, one of the most charismatic cultural fusion artists, captivates her audience as she steps on stage. This mesmerizing performer is considered one of the most electrifying choreographers with her high-energy synthesis of West African traditions combined with other world dance forms. 

Did you know that 70% of all CISabroad students receive scholarships or grants to study or intern abroad? You can get a grant for something as simple as applying early, or a scholarship for blogging. 

For details on all scholarship and grant offerings and to apply, please click here.

Unique programs. This summer study abroad program in Ghana is an intensive, travel-based program program that allows you to explore a range of locations in Ghana, a country that is spectacularly culturally and geographically diverse. We combine U.S. and local Ghanaian faculty for unique perspectives and insights while you study abroad in Africa.  

We’re here to support you. While all programs offer exceptional support services, we know you’ll absolutely LOVE our staff in Ghana. We’ll make sure you’re well prepared before you go, help you settle in as soon as you step off the plane, take care of you the entire time you’re in Ghana, then provide some great resources for your readjustment and making the most of your experience once you’re back home. 

We offer a great value. In about 3 weeks you’ll earn 6-9 credits, which is a great deal, especially when you consider all you get when studying abroad in Ghana with CISabroad! Although it appears to be a short experience, we bet it will stay with you longer than you would have ever expected.