Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content
New Mexico

Semester Programs: Ghana

Find yourself standing in a crowd full of surprising contrasts: a young woman wearing traditional clothing is text-messaging a friend while a suited businessman can be seen carrying a traditional offering to a tribal chief. This is Ghana, where the country's diverse peoples and cultures are finding ways to coexist in a rapidly modernizing country.

Studying in Accra, Ghana for a semester will introduce you to this country with opportunities to learn a local language, learn some African drumming techniques and much more. You'll spend part of your time in classroom, but much of your learning will happen visiting the main geographical and cultural regions of the country. And don't forget the beach—the city of Accra lies along the Atlantic coast.

This video is from the 2012 Fall Semester:

Wope Laif--You Like Life from Caitlin Saupe .


You must have achieved sophomore status with a grade point average of at least 2.5. to study in Ghana. Preference is given to juniors and seniors when there are more applicants than spots in the program.


This program is switching to the Spring Semester. The Spring 2016 program cost is expected to be within $1500 of Calvin tuition and room and board on campus. More specific cost information will be sent with your acceptance letter. The final program cost is based on many factors and is not known exactly until the number of students in the group has been identified. The financial information page covers the details that go into the cost of the program and rough estimates for each. The cost includes:

  • Tuition
  • Roundtrip air transportation Grand Rapids/Accra
  • Full room and board
  • Administrative fee
  • Program-related excursions

Additional expenses not included in the program fee: passport, visa, medical insurance and immunizations (required), books and spending money.


international dorm at University of GhanaYou will live on the campus of University of Ghana at Legon (about 7 miles north of the center of Accra) in an international dormitory. You can stay with a Calvin roommate, but you may also choose to live with an international or Ghanaian roommate.


The following courses are required: (STGH 100 and STGH 101 are taught by instructors at the University of Ghana at Legon).

STGH 230 Ethics of Development and Cultures of Africa

In this course students will learn about the goals and methods of international development, about how to evaluate them from an ethical standpoint, and about how development affects and is affected by local cultures. Readings will include nonfiction works describing development initiatives, fictional writings about the history and culture of Africa, and writings by philosophers exploring the moral values that development should advance.  Class topics will also be integrated into community visits and volunteer work.  

4 semester hours, fulfills Global/Historical Studies core

Can fulfill International Development Studies and African and African Diaspora Studies requirements.

STGH 312 - People and Cultures of Ghana
A multi-disciplinary course aimed at an appreciation of the rich and diverse culture and history of the peoples of West Africa. Excursions to sites such as slave forts, the Fante homeland, and historic city of Kumase, and the Museum of Ghana are included. 3 semester hours, fulfills Cross-Cultural Engagement (CCE) and Global Historical Studies core
STGH 100 - TWI Language Study (pronounced Che-Wee)
An introductory course in the dominant local language, designed to help students communicate on a basic level as they interact with the people around them. 2 semester hours, general elective credit
STGH 101 - African Drumming and Dance: Practice and Context
This course provides instruction in several traditional dances of the ethnic groups of Ghana, instruction in some patterns of traditional drumming, and lectures on the social and religious meaning of African dance, including its use in Christian worship. 1 semester hour, fulfills PE level I or II

Choose one or two elective courses, taught by instructors at the University of Ghana at Legon:

STGH 279 - Government & Politics in Africa
An historical as well as analytical and comparative study of government and politics in selected African countries, with particular attention to the trends and problems of government and politics in Africa. 3 semester hours, general elective
STGH 217 - West African Literature and Drama
An introduction to African oral literature and drama. Study of dramatic themes and trends will focus on those related to colonial rule and the post-independence period. 3 semester hours, literature core credit

All courses may be applied to the Africa track of the African and African diaspora studies minor. Some courses may be used to fulfill elective requirements for the international development studies (IDS) major and minor. The program qualifies to satisfy the study-abroad requirement for the IDS major and minor.


To apply for the program, please follow the directions to apply through our Horizons online system at this link.


Program Director, Spring 2016:
Spring 2016 - Tracy Kuperus, International Development Studies

Past and Future Program Directors
Fall 2009 - Beryl Hugen, Social Work, Emeritus
Fall 2010 - David Hoekema, Philosophy
Fall 2011 - Stephanie Sandberg, CAS
Fall 2012 - Roland Hoksbergen, Economics
Fall 2013 - Stephanie Sandberg, CAS
Fall 2014 - David Hoekema, Philosophy
Spring 2016 - Tracy Kuperus, International Development Studies
Spring 2017 - Stephanie Sandberg, CAS
Spring 2018 - Joseph Kuilema, Social Work




Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nulla ut nibh.


Location: In southeast Ghana in western Africa; on the Atlantic Ocean

History: Founded in the 1600s by the Ga people and called Accra because of the many ant-hills (ants="nkran") in the area. Became the capital of the British Gold Coast in 1877 and then capital of Ghana after Ghana established independence from Great Britain in 1957.

Population: 1.6 million

Languages: English, Twi (che-wee), Ga and Hausa

Climate:Tropical, with temperatures averaging between 82 degrees and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and moderate (2.5 inches/mo.) rainfall in September and October.

University of Ghana

The university was founded as an affiliate school of the University of London in 1948 and gained full university status in 1961. It now has nearly 24,000 students and is located about 7 miles north of the center of Accra. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was appointed the University of Ghana's chancellor in July, 2008.


You will attend the Odwira Festival in the city of Akropong, and travel to the northern region of Ghana to study the influence of Islam on Ghanaian culture. You will also go to the Volta region to observe tourism and development projects focused on environmental issues.

Read more about Ghana semester at the 2006 program Weblog.