CIEE Arts + Sciences in Legon, Ghana

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Immerse yourself in Ghanaian life by enrolling in courses with local and international students at CIEE’s partner school, University of Ghana – ranked 7th best university in Africa for its focus on humanities, basic and applied sciences, education, and health sciences. Other subject areas include biology, dance, economics, history, music, political science, public health, sociology, and more. Students can take a full course load at University of Ghana or combine courses with CIEE electives including options for internships. All courses are complemented with CIEE co-curricular activities and excursions beyond the city to enhance classroom learning and provide intercultural understanding.

  • Learn about West Africa outside of the classroom by living with a Ghanaian family or on-campus housing, volunteering, interning, and observing day-to-day life.
  • Take classes at the University of Ghana - ranked 7th best university in Africa - in humanities, basic and applied sciences, education, and health sciences.
  • Explore beyond Legon with field trips and excursions around this equatorial region.

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Questions & Answers


9.57 Rating
based on 7 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 85.71%
  • 7-8 rating 14.29%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 6
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.6
  • Housing 8.7
  • Safety 8.7
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
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Yes, I recommend this program

Deep learning, in and out of the classroom

This is a great opportunity to expand your horizons and grow a lot as a person. CIEE's direct enroll program at the University of Ghana is an amazing opportunity to study a huge variety of subjects while being well supported as an international student by the wonderful on-site Ghanaian administrators and UG students who will be your friends right from the start of orientation.
The university is located in Accra, the capital of Ghana, which I really enjoyed as as place to learn about daily life and Ghanaian food through a homestay, many day trips around the city, a wide variety of street food, and making friends with fellow students. It is also an international city with internet cafes and international restaurants that can help to ease the transition stress and homesickness of any abroad experience.

Moving beyond Accra is not difficult; you will have three CIEE-organized trips to various cultural sites around Ghana built in to the program. For the more adventurous, public transportation to and from Accra is easy to find, I have greatly enjoyed the independence, confidence, and experiences of traveling with a few friends on my own.

Through CIEE's cultural trips, my classes, conversations with Ghanaian students, and forming friendships with the other CIEE students of very diverse backgrounds, I learned so much about Ghanaian and West African history and present-day politics, especially with respect to the slave trade and colonialism, past and present. This is a critical topic for our time as injustice born of this history continues to dominate and oppress both here and at home. This program has given me invaluable new perspectives far exceeding the limited (and rather one-sided) information I received in school, and is understanding I will treasure and use for the rest of my life.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Two friends and I had found a few days together to travel to the mountainous and cooler Volta Region on the east side of Ghana. We were staying at the highest village in the country, in a guest house with amazing views over the valley and to adjacent mountains. The next morning, I got up at 5:30 (just before sunrise) to watch birds (this is the best time of day). As I was walking down the two-track road by our hostel, I heard rhythmic thumping that I thought might be a very early carpenter. However, when I rounded the corner, I saw dozens of college students hacking at the village football field with machetes, some students holding flashlights to light others' work. Although the sight was totally unexpected and made me laugh quietly, I had been there long enough by then to know that a) Ghana gets up really early, and this was by no means unusual even for college students to be awake at this hour and b) machetes are regularly used to mow lawns and fields. Although I didn't see many birds that morning, I was certainly glad I had gotten up and out early just for that particularly unexpected sight!
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Yes, I recommend this program

An Enriching, Educational Experience!

Traveling to Ghana has been a rewarding experience like none I've had before. I enjoyed it mostly because of my continuous interactions with Ghanians throughout my stay that allowed me to learn more about our understanding of each other's cultures as well as our cultural differences. Studying in Legon I've had the opportunity to try many delicious meals, explore the city of Accra (and others included in the program), and to create new international networks and friendships that I hope to keep up! Before arriving, I was skeptical about getting around, bargaining, and making new friends in a new environment where I knew no one. However, the overwhelming support of the CIEE staff here in Legon made it impossible for anyone to be lost or left out throughout the entirety of the semester! After arriving, I felt as if I had found a whole new family of friends and colleagues. There were some troubles and bumps along the way as is expected when in a navigating a new environment. Nevertheless, this semester in Legon has been unforgettable and I look forward to returning in the future!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
When I first came to Ghana, I wasn't expecting to stand out so much, being that I am African-American. People would often see me and stare because of the way I dress and my skin completion being somewhat different. There were even times when people made me feel unwelcome because of the way they reacted to my presence. These responses made me less willing to ask questions and talk to other students and people around the city. Along the way, there were some friends I made who explained to me that a lot of people have preconceived notions about foreigners and so they may act a certain way or feel less inclined to speak to me as they would another Ghanian. After making more friends and taking some time to adapt to the culture, I became more assertive and confident in my interactions with others. If I did this program all over again, I would make more of an effort to ask questions and make new friends.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Enabler of great experiences

CIEE Arts and Sciences in Legon offers all that one can wish for to get profound insights into the local political, economic and social environment in Ghana and beyond. The program offers a few very valuable features: CIEE lets students choose their preferred type of accommodation (either to stay with a local family or to live in residence halls). The program also ensures that students are engaged in learning about Ghana's history and traditions through excursions and cultural events. Furthermore, everything which is needed to frame the students' experience - such as safety, logistics and administrative matters - are largely taken care of or made significantly easier by CIEE. Students who know what they want to get out of their experience and are eager to engage as much with the locality and its people as possible will find this program particularly suitable since it gives students significant freedom in shaping their own experience. For instance, I traveled relatively often during my stay in Ghana, and local staff was always happy to provide resources, tips and other support for whatever I planned to do. Lastly, what stands out as one of the most unique features of CIEE in Legon is the ability to take courses at the University of Ghana, thereby enabling students to engage with academic material as local students would. While this is one of the best features of the program in my view, it is also one of the most challenging aspects since academic norms and expectations are very different from those in the U.S. During my time in Ghana, I have found that the best way to maximize one's learning experience is by taking local context-related courses which are unavailable elsewhere, and to look beyond the classroom for academic fulfilment. Overall, it is therefore up to the student to take advantage of CIEE's great enabling environment and to take initiative in maximizing one's experience according to one's own expectations.

What would you improve about this program?
The study experience could be enhanced by allowing CIEE students to be spread out in the various halls of the University of Ghana since it would enable them to engage on a deeper level with local students.
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Yes, I recommend this program

GMT means Ghanaian Man Time

A land of great food, loud music, and dancing bodies, one cannot define Ghanaian culture without mentioning it's richness. With a loving and caring staff such as that of CIEE Legon, it is hard to find yourself in any sort of predicament without someone there willing to guide you. The people of this country are welcoming and generous. Although ladies, keep in mind that sometimes this extroversion can lead to persistence to get romantically involved with you, to exchange numbers, or to be your friend. Especially if you are from an English speaking country. Be ready to gain a bit more self confidence in bustling market places where you must bargain and hold your ground against people who are willing to grab you to gain your attention. It may overwhelm a few at first, but soon you'll be able to stand your ground if you couldn't already do so. This experience may get you slightly uncomfortable if you are weary of dust especially during dry season, but it will allow you to also appreciate a life without A/C at all hours of the day.

What would you improve about this program?
There could be more information of race relations for people of color coming to a country where they will call you "white" regardless of your background. This can be upsetting and is frankly rude, but it is the way that they view the rest of the world.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I Think I'm Ghana Like it Here

I loved going abroad, and I am so happy I was able to experience the beauty, adventure, and history to Ghana. I woke up and saw the sunrise all but maybe 10 mornings in the four months I was there. I am NOT a morning person but I embraced the no AC, woke up with the sun and didn't regret it once. I was hot and uncomfortable constantly for the first couple weeks. But change is uncomfortable and growth is uncomfortable. It's much easier said than done, but go out of your comfort zone. Grab a friend and take the tro-tro to the mall your first weekend. You'll never master the tros without practice. And if you are comfortable taking tros, then the adventures are endless! CIEE shows you how to do it the first time and will tell you the route to any destination you want--but it's up to you to go out there and apply it! CIEE is so supportive and will help you with nearly anything you need. It is cheesy, but they become your family. The program staff are your aunties and uncles for your entire time in Ghana. If your U-Pals are amazing as mine, they are also your lifelines. Their support is priceless, especially for knowing the stuff CIEE staff wouldn't (about classes, college life, etc). I would argue that CIEE has the best program out of all the semester programs at the University of Ghana. Compared to other programs, they took us on the best excursions and overnight trips, provided the space for program-wide bonding and the people in charge are the best of the best!

Whatever you do, do not study abroad in Ghana with the intention to change the world or the situation of other people. Go for yourself, your self growth and education (not necessarily academic), and you will get 1000x more out of the experience. Show just as much kindness to Ghanaians as they show you. Going abroad in Ghana changed my perspective of how to travel and see the world--it challenged me to do it in a way that is authentic to the local people. Lastly... wear normal clothes. Unless you wear chocos and cargo shorts at home, you don't need to in Ghana.

What would you improve about this program?
Small things -- better relay of cost information for the VISA extension, better debriefing after orientation (maybe hold sessions on certain topics like 1) getting around, 2) gender relations, 3) traveling within the country, 4) making the most of your experience while abroad, etc.).
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Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing

My study abroad experience in Ghana completely changed my life. My experience changed my life so much that I am unsure of how I could imagine my life without having travelled to Ghana. I will first say that if you are looking to be academically challenged in terms of course content that this program isn't the best for that particular reason. The courses at the university are interesting but I found that they did not academically challenge me in any significant way. However, if you are looking for an overall experience that changes you as a person, then this program is perfect for you!

I stayed at the International Students' Hostel on campus. The conditions of the hostel aren't the best (bathrooms aren't that nice, sometimes it's too loud, interesting porters, etc) but the experience living in the hostel makes up for the problems with accommodation. I met people from all over the world and since I was living in the hostel, I had a lot of freedom. I didn’t have to be back at a certain time, I could go out as much as I pleased, and I was able to experience living independently in an international setting. Aside from meeting people in the hostel, I had an internship at an advertising and marketing agency which allowed me to get a glimpse into a whole new side of Accra/Ghana. I met Ghanian and other African creatives who were extremely talented and ambitious. I was introduced to a world full of graphic designers, photographers, marketing specialists, and other talented individuals which was a great experience. I learned a lot about advertising and marketing in Ghana and Africa at large which was crazy and cool and fun at the same time.

The excursions provided by the program were really amazing as well. We visited the Volta region, Kumasi, and Cape Coast. Each excursion was fun, interactive, and allowed us to learn more about the country and its history. Not to mention the fact that Ghana is a beautiful country. We were able to see beauty not only in the country’s capital of Accra but in the mountains and waterfalls of the Volta region, the historical Manhyia palace of Kumasi, and the historical sights near the Cape Coast castle and seeing Cape Coast castle itself. I really appreciated the excursions that were planned for us as they helped make my experience more well-rounded.

The people that I met during this time changed my life. I met amazing women in the CIEE program, at the hostel, through my Ghanaian friends, and while at my internship. I learned so much about life from each person which helped me gain a deeper understanding of myself as a person and what my goals and visions are for the future. I honestly had a life-changing experience and I am beyond happy and grateful that I was able to experience this program and Ghana. I loved my experience so much that when I had the opportunity to stay for the summer and intern full-time, I took it!

As another girl who attended my program said, “Ghana is love,” and she is absolutely right. Ghana is love and I think that everyone should travel to Ghana if given the chance.

What would you improve about this program?
I think more time during orientation should be spent outside of the CIEE room so that students can get more acclimated to the university and city.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Ghana is LOVE

Africa was a place I always wanted to go, and my time in Ghana was the best time I've ever had! I would do it all over again. I was the first student from my University to participate in the CIEE Ghana program. I did a homestay, and my host family was amazing! They were very helpful with day to day routines,and when it came to me learning Twi! That was a definite advantage of homestay, especially since I was taking Twi as a course. My brothers would help me with homework and study for exams, and Mom wouldn't walk away unless I responded back in Twi appropriately. I took a couple of other courses, and I didn't have the same experience I had in my Twi course. My Twi course was amazing. Professor Kofi was awesome!! My other professors or how class was was very disorganized to me, and it was hard expressing myself in class when it seemed as if they were closed minded about anything except their own culture, or alternative ways and ideas things could be. Nonetheless, I went to class. It was still interesting to hear their views on the things we were learning about. My classes met once a week with the exception of Twi, we met twice a week. I had time for an internship where I spent my time at Anani teaching math. There, I met some of the most beautiful and smartest children, and their curiosity was so engaging.
I met some amazing people on the program with me who I still talk to, and they are just as supportive if not more since we've been back. It is very true about Ghana being friendly. I've met some of the most friendliest people while studying there. They have stopped to give directions, food, money, and just some friendly conversation. It was awesome! I plan on going back to Ghana because the amount of love I received from everyone I've encountered there has been nothing short of phenomenal! The CIEE staff did a superb job pairing me with my host family and being so accessible. I would come into the office having had a bad class and they would talk me through it and help me to see the silver lining in it all. They were nice and knowledgeable about all the ins and outs.
The weekend excursions were also fun whether it was with CIEE or on my own. Mountains, waterfalls, festivals, trips to Kumasi and so much more created an everlasting beauty of love.
My favorite food to eat was fufu with peanut soup! (If only I can make it here) Red Red is another favorite that I have made since I've been back in the states! It's really simple! My host Mom's son has a online store with Ghanaian goods that I plan on buying from. I even WhatsApp my hostfamily about ingredients! Ghana was good to me and the few iffy moments I had doesn't compare to the love and joy I felt while there. Ghana is love!!

What would you improve about this program?
More bonding time with all the CIEE students before classes start so we aren't opperating as 2 groups (homestay and hostel)
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