This program is not currently being offered.

ML/IC 299, EC 299, or SC 299G

Walter Simmons, Ph.D., Program Director

Ghana is a leading pan-Africanist democracy on the continent. It was the first sub-Saharan nation to attain political independence from Britain in 1957. Ghana is a beautiful country, famous for its hospitable and friendly people. English is the official language, which most people speak.

Ghana, while the size of Oregon, is home to 20 million people and hosts over 20 distinct ethnic groups, each with its own language and allied dialects, history, customs, and traditions. Batik art, cloth-making, and the political institution of chieftaincy are still as much a part of Ghanaian life as they were generations ago.

The University’s outstanding faculty and distinguished alumni have earned it considerable national and international prestige. The University hosts over 20 programs with about 1,200 students from overseas each year.

Program Focus

The focus of this interdisciplinary study incorporates classroom work with a profound field experience. The goal is to expose participants visually to the cultural reality of West Africa in order to expand their intellectual horizon beyond the Western world.

Participants will gain an understanding of African life, especially life in a post-colonial setting. As program participants are immersed in Ghanaian rural settings, they will also come to appreciate the difference between life in a pre-industrial culture and life in a contemporary urban setting. Participants are expected to come away with a sense of the vast differences manifest in the way human societies work but, at the same time, develop a sincere respect for these differences.

Credits and Eligibility

This four credit-hour course may be taken to fulfill one of the following core requirements:

  • ML/IC 299: Divison II: International Cultures (CMLC)
  • EC 299: Division III: Economics
  • SC 299G: R (Asian, African or Latin American Society)

This course also fulfills three of the 12 elective credits of the Africana Studies Concentration.

To be eligible, students must have completed at least one year of college-level study and attain a minimum GPA of 2.5. The program is for all majors. Students, faculty, and administrators from other institutions are welcome to apply.

Course Requirements

At John Carroll University, students are required to attend cultural orientation sessions and seminars on the theoretical foundation of development in the post-colonial context.

In Ghana, students will participate in seminars with faculty from the University of Ghana as well as local experts. Students will take part in excursions designed to familiarize them with various dimensions of Ghanaian culture.

At the end of the institute participants will submit a journal and a final paper.

Lecture Topics

  • Trans-Atlantic Stave Trade
  • Pan-Africanism and the African Diaspora
  • Social Structure of Modern Ghana
  • Women in Development
  • Issues of Socio-Economic Development in West Africa
  • The Institution of Chieftaincy
  • Health and Environmental Issues
  • Technology & Development in West Africa
  • Models of Peace-building, etc.

Field Trips

Program field trips include the following (subject to change):

  • Accra: expositions on Pan-Africanism (Home of W.E.B. Du Bois, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, etc.)
  • Kpetoe: lessons in kente-weaving
  • Cottage industries, e.g. batik making
  • Communal activity in Kpando or Anfoega
  • Kumasi Cultural Centre: lessons in African music, pottery, and textile manufacturing
  • Kumasi: research on chieftaincy (Asante King’s Palace)
  • Wli Waterfalls
  • Cape Coast and Elmina: research on slave trade
  • Kakum National Park: ecological exploration

Fees: What is Included?

The program fee of $4,570 – $4,970 includes the following (depending on enrollment, amount may be lower):

  • Tuition
  • JCU Administrative fee
  • Round-trip airfare from Cleveland to Accra
  • All ground transportation in Ghana
  • All accommodations, in Accra and during trips
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • All guided tours and excursions
  • Any cultural activities or performances

What is Not Included?

Students are expected to cover the following:

  • U.S. passport
  • Ghanaian visa fee
  • Travel insurance
  • Immunization and anti-malaria medication costs
  • Lunch
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not specified in the program fee


Students stay in paired housing at the University of Ghana’s Guest Centre. Rooms are air conditioned, with mosquito-proof nets, a mini fridge, TV, and private bathroom. Hotel rooms are provided during all field trips.

Financial Aid

Check with the Office of Financial Aid to see if there is aid available to you for summer study abroad. The Financial Aid Office is located on the second floor of Rodman Hall.

Scholarships may be available for students of color. Contact the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion. You should also check the funding resources compiled by the Center for Global Education.

What the 2006 Institute Participants Said:

“I will never forget this experience. This trip certainly reduced many irrational perceptions of Africa … The summer institute changed my outlook on life and introduced for me a possible career in international relations and development.” —J. Yusz

“It was absolutely the trip of a lifetime! I’m SO happy I had that experience! It was well organized and I was impressed by how little shocked me – I think the preparation for the trip was exceptional” —L. Fielmeier

“Taking a trip to a place like Ghana gives me a whole new perspective on happiness. It was truly nice to see how Ghanaians’ faith has such a large role in their happiness. I also feel that taking the course ‘Understanding Africa through Film’ helped a lot in preparing me for the actual journey.” —J. Bednar

“Excellent program; valuable experience. This program should definitely be repeated.” —J. Hammock

For further information about traveling to Ghana with John Carroll University, please contact the following:

Applications are available at the Center for Global Education.

Useful links for Ghana