Ghana | How My Experiences in Ghana are Preparing Me for Global Citizenship


Globalization was all the rage of the early 2000s, and it is still of major importance today. As our world becomes increasingly more connected, different cultures meet and merge, economies become highly interdependent, and access to the internet is expanded to even the most rural and restricted areas, the idea of global citizenship has taken on new importance. Understanding places, social systems, peoples, languages, and cultures other than your own is highly valuable and can be readily used in the work place as well as personal daily life. I believe that studying abroad is one of the best ways to adopt a global outlook and prepare yourself to be a global citizen, and so I thought that in this post I would share some of the key experiences I have had in Ghana that have prepared me for global citizenship. This post will be comprised of ten individual photos that each have a caption fulfilling the statement: “Studying abroad in Ghana has prepared me for global citizenship by…” Each photo was taken during my time in Ghana and corresponds directly to its caption! Enjoy!

Studying abroad in Ghana has prepared me for global citizenship by…

  1. Exposing me to new people, places, and ways of life and improving my intercultural communication skills (Pictured: Fisherman at Bojo Beach)

2. Helping me to understand different philosophies and perspectives outside of my native culture (Pictured: Adinkra symbols)

3. Developing my knowledge, appreciation, and value of other groups and regions of the world (Pictured: An African style building)

4. Giving me experience learning a new language and participating in other culturally immersive activities (Pictured: Flower at the University of Ghana International Programmes Building, where I am learning Twi)

5. Providing me with outstanding research opportunities (I am researching democratization in Ghana) (Pictured: The Independence Arch)

6. Increasing my awareness of historical injustices that have modern implications (Pictured: The Elmina Slave Castle).

7. Increasing my knowledge of how globalization has impacted Ghana and how globalization affects the international community (Pictured: Cocoa in Ghana)

8. Developing my capacity to think creatively and imaginatively about solutions to the challenges of globalization (Pictured: The art of kente)

9. Pushing me outside my comfort zone and developing my personal character (Pictured: Heights at the Kakum National Forest Canopy Walk)

10. Allowing me to reflect on my own position and involvement in the world as a global citizen (Pictured: A Cape Coast sunrise)

Ashley Young studied abroad in Accra, Ghana in 2018:

South Africa | Post Program Reflection


This is so bittersweet in many ways. I was sad to leave, but I also missed In N Out and Trader Joe’s. Studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, for the past four and a half months was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. As I sit here, writing a reflection piece on my time abroad, I realize how grateful I truly am to have been able to study abroad in South Africa, and travel across the rest of Africa while doing it. It is at this time, that I want to say thank you to everyone. Thank you to my parents for making this possible, thank you to UCEAP for being a constant resource, thank you to IDACA for all the hard work you put into making studying abroad an enjoyable experience, thank you to UCT for accepting me as a student, thank you to everyone I met while in Africa, for you have truly changed me and my life for the better, and thank you Cape Town, South Africa, for being the gem that you are.

I had so many wonderful experiences in the past few months that I cannot narrow them down to just a few. However right now, I am thinking about going to the squash team’s formal, looking at the entire city from UCT’s campus, having an impromptu going away party at the Soweto Towers, high tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel, going skydiving, turning 21 in Namibia, going white water rafting, hanging out with my South African friends after class, participating in Food Jam’s Cooking Class with other UC students, exploring Table Mountain, meeting awesome people on airplanes, and watching the sunset from Signal Hill, a site that always took my breath away.

Studying at UCT and in S. Africa has been magnificent, to put it into one word. It was not without its challenges, however, such as the water restrictions, due to the drought, the fickle weather, and the different educational system, but eventually, I figured everything out. Cape Town is now out of the drought phase, I adjusted to school abroad, and the weather settled down a few months in. I now know a little Afrikaans, and through learning at UCT, a lot more about South African politics and history, and the economics and politics of Africa as a whole, which will certainly be important as globalization expands and Africa’s population continues to rise.

I made friends here who I consider to be such special people that I will stay in contact with as far into the future as I can see, South Africans, Americans, and other internationals alike. Closing the door to my house on Grotto Road for the final time brought a wave of emotions, but I am not too sad, because I know I will be back and Cape Town will be as good as ever when I return. So to you Africa, I bid you adieu, but just know, this is a not a goodbye, but a see you later, and I mean that, no matter how corny it may sound. Lastly, my piece of advice to anyone reading this is, if you are thinking about studying abroad, Cape Town or elsewhere, JUST DO IT. But seriously, Cape Town is an experience you don’t want to miss out on.

Love Always,

Kelli Hamilton

Kelli Hamilton studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa in 2018:

Ireland | The Southwestern Wild Atlantic Way


We finally rented a car and were able to explore parts of rural Ireland. This trip we focused on the southwestern coast and we found some incredible spots. Plus, they’re all free since we avoided the major tourist sites in favor of lesser visited but equally beautiful spots! We saw a lot of beautiful nature, but also encountered old churches, ancient ruins, and a castle.

Cliffs of Kilkee

These cliffs rival the Cliffs of Moher, but they’re free, don’t have any ugly barriers, and virtually no one is there to impede the view so in my opinion they’re definitely superior. There’s a nice scenic drive along the Kilkee coast with incredible views that will make you want to pull over every other minute to just revel in the beauty. This is probably the most beautiful place I’ve been in Ireland and the town of Kilkee is a great place to stop for lunch besides.

Dingle Peninsula

There are two major scenic peninsulas in southwestern Ireland, the smaller Dingle Peninsula and the vast Ring of Kerry. We only had time to drive the Dingle since that drive alone (with plenty of stops) took a full day. First, we went through Conor Pass, the highest drivable mountain pass in Ireland. You can see the foundations of some ancient town down below.

It was freezing and windy out, but even so the beaches just looked so inviting. The color of the water everywhere was just unreal and the cliffs were stunning.

We stopped by at a cool exhibit called the Famine Houses that overlooked the ocean. It’s an abandoned rural homestead full of information on the famine that I highly recommend going to see. They also have lots of sheep in the area and they give you free food to treat them with.


We encountered lots of old churches, especially around Lough Gur, many of which were between 400-600 years old. Many conveniently had placards with information on site. These had fascinating graveyards with really old graves and the remaining detail on the crumbling structures was really interesting.

This church had something in the graveyard called a marriage stone which looks like a plain gravestone with a small hole in the middle. If you and your sweetheart touch index fingers through the hole, you’re married for a year, according to tradition.

We didn’t have time to go farther, but if you hike two miles from this Lough Gur church you’ll find the ruins of a whole prehistoric village. Even without time for this, driving around you’ll come across prehistoric beehive houses and slab tombs.

Legend has it that if you squeeze through this tiny church window you’ll make it to heaven- a reference to the “eye of the needle” scripture- so we did it just in case.

In addition to churches, you’ll encounter random beautiful shrines like this one we saw right before hitting the westernmost point in all of Ireland.

Rock of Dunamase

The Rock of Dunamase is a ruined castle with truly fascinating history that’s too lengthy to go into depth here so read about it here instead. Briefly, it has been a defensive fortress since the 9th century, although this structure was built around 1200. The pictures don’t capture the grandeur of this ruined fort set atop a huge hill with commanding views of the countryside so just go see for yourself and climb around the 800 year old castle!

Alexis Harmon studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland during Spring 2019:

Ghana | Transportation in Ghana


When I first arrived at Kotoka International Airport in Accra, I was picked up, along with some other UCEAP students, by one of the UC Study Center Staff, who we call Uncle Solomon. He helped us get our luggage into the UCEAP van and then drove us to our new dorms at the University of Ghana. This was my first experience of transportation in Ghana, and wow was it exciting! Upon exiting the airport, we were immediately immersed into a whole new world. Hawkers (people selling goods and food) swarmed the streets, walking in-between cars and passing their goods through car windows to local buyers. Young men stood at street corners selling fresh coconuts alongside women roasting plantains to eat with salty groundnuts (local peanuts). People were everywhere – walking, talking, selling, living. I had never seen anything like it.

Apart from all the people, I was also struck by the traffic in Ghana, which at first seemed incredibly chaotic and unorderly. Many intersections did not have proper stop signs or traffic signals, and when they did, they were often ignored. Cars cut in and out of each other without any hesitation, driving bumper to bumper, and car horns honked incessantly to notify each other of their passing. It seemed as if there were no rhyme to reason to the traffic patterns, and yet, we somehow made it to the University relatively smoothly.

This characteristic of Ghanaian driving is rather interesting. In the U.S., traffic seems to be much more orderly, and I would argue that in fact, it is. But in Ghana, although the way people drive seems at first sight to be absolutely nuts, it works. I did not once see a car accident during my time in Ghana, though I see these frequently in the U.S. I also did not often see individuals driving while using their phones – they were generally more focused on the task at hand than American drivers. However, this does not mean that transportation in Ghana is notably safe. Because vehicles are often in poor condition, because drivers take more risks, and because passengers often do not wear seatbelts, when there are accidents, they are often very bad. It is advisable to use a seatbelt whenever possible and to avoid travelling at night when roads may be poorly lit and drivers may be especially tired.

Public transportation in Ghana is also a beast. Public transportation includes tro-tros, shared taxis or cars, and large, longer distance, government operated buses. Tro-tros are the most common form of public transportation. They are minivans that can carry between 12 and 20 people at a time and are almost always operated by two men – a driver and a mate. The driver operates the vehicle while the mate calls out the direction of the vehicle and makes hand signals indicating the vehicle’s direction to collect new passengers alongside the road. The mate also handles payments, which are always in cash. Unlike in the U.S., where scheduled buses make their way around set routes and arrive at and depart from bus stops at pre-determined times, tro-tros in Ghana are unpredictable and irregular, though fairly constant. While they do not follow set schedules, they travel along set routes and are always operating and readily available for use. To ride a tro-tro, you simply walk to a tro-tro stop (or even just stand at the side of the road) and look for mates calling out or motioning the direction of your travel. If you are not sure what direction to look out for, it is helpful to ask a local who will be glad to help you get on the right tro-tro. Tro-tros and are often packed to the brim with passengers. They are generally very beat up, hot, loud, and lacking seatbelts. However, they are a cheap, efficient, and frankly amusing way to get around. Riding in tro-tros also provides opportunities to meet locals who you might sit next to. Learning a few phrases of Twi is especially useful for these instances as it immediately shows locals that you are making an effort to better understand and appreciate their culture.

All in all, getting around in Ghana can be quite the experience! At first, it can seem a bit confusing and overwhelming, but once you get used to it, it is actually great fun!



Complimentary Twi Lesson:

Fa benkum / nifa. (Take a left / right.)

Ko w’anim paa / tee. (Go forward a lot / a little.)

Mepakyew, gyina ha! (Please, stop here!)

Woreko* hene? (Where are you going?)

* Woreko is pronounced wo-ko; extend the o sound in place of re

Ne boo ye sidi edu. (The price is 10 cedis.)

Mepe se mefa tro-tro Tema. (I want to take a trotro to Tema.)

Ashley Young studied abroad in Accra, Ghana in 2018:

Ghana | Academic Culture at the University of Ghana


When choosing where to study abroad, academic concerns are very important. While many students initially begin considering study abroad programs in order to travel, experience another culture, or have other sorts of experiential opportunities, they quickly realize that this is only possible if their chosen study abroad program can align with their academic needs and the requirements that they must fulfill in order to graduate. Unfortunately, comprehensive information on academics at perspective host institutions is sometimes difficult to find; some international institutions lack easy-to-navigate websites that would otherwise be used to find valuable information on academics. Thankfully, UCEAP has a wealth of information on academics at the University of Ghana, especially regarding courses, registration, and special study opportunities (research and internships). I will provide links to these resources at the end of this blog post. However, information on the academic culture at the University of Ghana is sometimes lacking in detail and accuracy. This blog post seeks to provide helpful information on this topic for students that are considering studying abroad in Ghana.

Academic Culture

The academic culture at the University of Ghana is very different than in the United States, at least in reference to the University of California. In some ways, the academic culture is more serious, and in other ways it is substantially less serious. This makes for quite an interesting and new dynamic for study abroad students!

Academic culture at the University of Ghana is more serious than at the University of California in that there is a certain added layer of formality to the way that classes operate and students interact with their professors. For example, most students dress nicely to their classes. It is rare, if not looked down upon, for a student to wear athletic or leisure-based clothing to class. Additionally, language between professors and individual students appears to be very formal; students may address professors as ‘Sir,’ and tend to approach authority figures very politely. Finally, finals at the University of Ghana are usually worth 70% of a student’s grade, and assessment is sometimes based on information broader than what has been taught in class. Students may be required to draw on information from supplementary texts and individual studies rather than solely on information provided by the professor, which is common in the UC.

However, academic culture at the University of Ghana is in many ways less serious than at the University of California. While finals may be heavily weighted and may require more individual studying to compile the appropriate information, it is also common for professors to distribute the questions to a final or give an outline of the topics that will be on a final a week or two in advance. This can make studying for an assessment extremely streamlined and simple. Additionally, from my personal experience and the experience of other students in my UCEAP program, the curriculum presented in University of Ghana classes is altogether less rigorous and comprehensive than the curriculum presented at the University of California. However, this may not be the case across the board for all disciplines or courses.

Professors and students at the University of Ghana also come across as less serious to University of California students because of their lax handling of time. This is a Ghanaian cultural feature that spills over into University operations. Professors and students alike are often, if not usually, late to or absent from class. It is common for students to request extensions for assignments and be granted these extensions. It is also common for professors to skip or disregard items on their syllabus due to their being absent from class. Finally, information is passed between professors and students rather informally – often by word of mouth through class group chats. It is imperative that international students make sure to be included in such chats and pay close attention for changes in readings, meeting times, locations, and assignments.

These differences make studying at the University of Ghana quite different than studying at the University of California. However, my experience was altogether a positive one! While some differences do take some adjusting to get used to, they are by no means insurmountable. Studying abroad in Ghana is a great experience and of extremely high value; I would certainly recommend it to anyone considering going!

Useful links

UCEAP University of Ghana Program Website:

UCEAP Ghana 2018-2019 Program Guide:

MyEAP Course Catalog (lists previous UG classes taken by UC students):

University of Ghana Course Descriptions:

Complimentary Twi Lesson:

Me w) asembisa. (I have a question.)

Deεn? (What?)

Da bεn? (What day?)

Bere bεn? (What time?)

Ashley Young studied abroad in Accra, Ghana in 2018:

South Africa | Post-Finals Trip to Rwanda and Uganda


Finals at UCLA are a big deal, as are finals everywhere, but nothing compares to the way finals occur at UCT. In my three courses at UCT, no final was worth less than 50 percent of my grade. For finals there, you are assigned a seat number. You put stickers on your test booklet and your name is sealed, so that there is no bias when your test is graded. Additionally, you have two hours to take your test and can not leave within the first hour or last twenty minutes of the exam. After the first test, I got used to the procedure, but it is still daunting to me that tests I took count for half of my grade. Here is to hoping they all went well!

After finals, I decided to treat myself. Knowing that my time in Africa was coming to an end, I figured I needed to cross off a few more things on my bucket list. I have always wanted to visit Rwanda because not too long ago, they experienced a horrific genocide, but today, it is one of the cleanest and friendliest countries in Africa, according to various reports. With this knowledge, I booked a flight to Kigali, Rwanda and stopped in Uganda and Kenya on my East African journey.

After three flights, I finally arrived. At night, the air was lukewarm and the city was vibrant. At the airport I saw an advertisement for GoKigali Tours and decided to make a reservation for the next day. In all honesty, I can say that was one of my top ten decisions during my time in Africa. Along with about 10 other people from across the world, I went to a milk bar (unique, I know), the top of Mount Kigali (even though it was raining, the cloudy view was amazing), coffee tasting, to the largest market in Kigali, the Genocide Memorial, and on a boat ride to a local town. To end the day on the perfect note, I went to a rooftop restaurant with some people I met on the tour and we tried various African teas that were all delicious. I rode home on a moto-taxi, the most popular mode of transport in Rwanda, and smiled as the night breeze hit my face, in the beautiful city of Kigali.

The next morning, I headed off to Musanze, about two hours from Kigali. My host graciously upgraded me from a dorm room to a private suite for free! From there I went to the Twin Lakes, which are stunning. I took a boat ride across the lakes and went to a restaurant and played with some children. The next day I was set to hike Mount Bisoke, an area known for its gorillas. Unfortunately, about halfway into the hike I experienced altitude sickness and had to come back down. However, I was escorted all the way back down by two lovely park rangers and it made the experience worth it. I also saw an antelope! I will have to come back in the future and try again (or live vicariously through pictures).

The next day I headed to Gisenyi, where Lake Kivu, a famous Rwandan lake, is. This was to be the perfect ending to my Rwandan journey. Knowing it was the last leg of my trip, I decided to splurge and stay at a private resort near the lake for one night. LAKE KIVU IS STUNNING.

The people in Rwanda, are the nicest people I have ever met, and I am not exaggerating. Also, the country has an extensive amount of passion fruits, making it the ideal destination. The sites I saw literally took my breath away, from the lakes, to the volcanoes, to Mount Kigali. It has become my favorite country that I have visited in the world. Kenya and Uganda were also great, and I kissed a giraffe and touched elephants in the former, and went to the ‘Switzerland of Africa,’ while ziplining, seeing rhinos, and exploring local places with fellow travelers in the latter (shoutout to the crew – Frank & Marvin). I stayed with family friends in Uganda and my South African friend Leanne’s family in Kenya (both were amazing)! Also, I met up with a friend from NYC, who was studying abroad in Rwanda! East Africa is a special place, and everyone should come see it for themselves. (Who doesn’t want to ride motorcycles in various countries while backpacking?) Even

Kelli Hamilton studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa in 2018:

South Africa | Expeditions to Johannesburg, Cederberg Mountains, Muizenberg Beach, and Noordhoek


As much fun as it is exploring other countries, South Africa is a beautiful country in its own right, and my housemates and I took the opportunity to explore it whenever possible. Perhaps my favorite expeditions were as follows: Johannesburg, Cederberg Mountains, Table Mountain, Muizenberg Beach, and Noordhoek (and of course, Signal Hill).

Since Johannesburg was where my love of Africa started, I knew I had to revisit it when I came back to South Africa. Luckily my housemates, Matthew and Ekshika, were also excited to go to Joburg, as the locals it. International Women’s Day, which took place August 9th, was a holiday, so we decided to use that weekend to go to Johannesburg. I experienced nostalgia being there and remembered why I loved it so much, for its vibe is not replicated anywhere else. Additionally, in the spirit of urban renewal, we stayed in an up and coming area, called Maboneng, which is being crafted into an arts district. While in Johannesburg, we went to the Soweto Towers. There, we met South Africans who invited us to join their goodbye party and served us endless meat and chakalaka (spicy South African vegetable mix that is delicious). Another cool thing we got to experience in Joburg, was being featured on a television show. We were eating breakfast at a cafe when we were approached by a film crew. I am hoping to see that footage on the internet soon so that I can finally tell my mom that I made it!

A few weeks after Johannesburg, we went to the Cederberg Mountains. We rented a car and drove about 4 hours to a cottage in the middle of nowhere. It was so cozy and beautiful. Having no wifi or electricity made the experience even more special than it was already set to be. We also watched the most beautiful sunset (I know I say everything is stunning and beautiful, but I am not exaggerating this time). That same day, we explored rock paintings (what my hand is touching in the first picture in the middle row) that were so unique. We also hiked and chilled in an outdoor hot tub. Furthermore, I saw more stars there than I have ever seen in my life and let the sound of geckos lull me to sleep (it was a little jolting to be honest lol). It was truly a cottage to remember.

Muizenberg Beach is known for surfing. Although I am from California, I have never been surfing. Genesis, a friend from NYC, and I, headed out there to go for a surf, but since she can’t swim, she decided against it and became my personal photographer instead. We had a blast, and I that learned surfing is really hard! The beach doesn’t have much of a shoreline, but the cotton candy and colorful houses along the water make up for it.

Lastly, Noordhoek Beach was a favorite spot of mine. Unbeknownst to me until a day before we got there, it has white sand and beautiful views. My friends Julia and Genesis went with me on a sunny Friday afternoon to ride horses on that very beach. We ended the day with a lovely view at Cape Point Vineyards that I reminisce about quite a bit.

In the quest to be global while in Africa, don’t forget to be a local explorer too, for the coolest places could be right under your nose!

Kelli Hamilton studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa in 2018:

Ghana | Mole National Park


Our final program excursion of the year was to Mole National Park in the Savannah Region of Ghana. The Savannah Region of Ghana is in the north-western part of Ghana. It is most immediately south of the Upper West Region, and diagonally south of the North East and Upper East Regions. Mole National Park, the largest game reserve in Ghana, is a total area of 1,869 miles squared. It is home to great varieties of plant life and animal species and is especially well known for its many elephants and beautiful birds. Visitors can go to Mole for day trips to hike and observe wildlife, or they can stay at one of the local lodging options for a longer safari-type experience.

Our group was lucky enough to stay at Zania Lodge, the first luxury safari lodge in West Africa. Zania Lodge is situated on the ridge of a long hill, overlooking the savannah below. Two large watering holes can be seen from the property where elephants, antelope, and other wildlife can be easily observed. This outstanding view can be enjoyed from each individual chalet as well as from the main lodge, where there are patios, nice places to sit, and a beautiful infinity pool. During our few days at Mole, we spent much of our time floating in the pool looking out over the savannah. We were also lucky enough to enjoy multiple colorful sunsets from this wonderful vantage point!

Of course, the primary attraction of the lodge was its guided safari tours. The lodge offered three varieties of such: daytime walking tours, daytime driving tours, and nighttime driving tours. Each tour was about two hours to two and a half hours and included two trained guides. I chose to go on one daytime walking tour and two daytime driving tours – unfortunately the nighttime driving tour was an extra cost for our group.

Each tour had its own unique features. Because they were on foot, the daytime walking tours did not see quite as many animals as the driving tours, but it was fun and adventurous to walk through the bush and at least attempt to track animals. While hiking, we had the opportunity to see some unique things – including elephant bones, awesome anthills, and huge elephant footprints.

The driving tours provided the opportunity to see animals with greater frequency – elephants, antelope, warthogs, monkeys, alligators, birds, and more. The morning driving tour also had another awesome perk – a coffee break! The guides took us to a little platform that had been built overlooking a pond, and there we enjoyed freshly roasted coffee and tea biscuits. This was especially nice and unexpected because fresh coffee in Ghana is so rare (powdered stir-in coffee is more common) – it was a real treat!

All in all, the trip to Mole National Park was an outstanding introduction to a new area of Ghana. It provided an entirely different landscape to that of the coast and offered us great opportunities for experiencing African wildlife. I will not forget it!

Complimentary Twi Lesson:

Hye (To wear)

Mpaboa (Shoes)

Kasa (Shirt)

Duku (Scarf)

Ahuhuro de me (I am hot)

Ashley Young studied abroad in Accra, Ghana in 2018:

Ghana | Tips for Staying Healthy and Maximizing Your Experience Abroad!


In the statement of purpose that I submitted to UCEAP before coming to study abroad at the University of Ghana, I wrote, “As I understand it, studying abroad is a wholly exciting and immersive experience, a commitment of oneself to engage with all that is around them and to pour into the culture and people of their chosen country. While studying abroad, living and learning are fully integrated, inseparable functions.” Having completed over two months in Ghana, I now know that this hypothesis is correct, and I am working each day to fulfill the great potential that my study abroad experience has. Specifically, I have been using certain strategies to help me prevent avoidable problems, relieve stress and remain resilient, and integrate myself into the Ghanaian culture. In this blog post, I will be sharing some of these strategies – I hope you find them helpful!

Strategies to Prevent Avoidable Problems:

  1. Eat a healthy diet.

While it may seem simple, this one thing can make a huge difference in your day to day wellbeing, and is important not just to your physical health, but also your mental health. Eating well gives you energy, helps you to feel good about yourself, and allows you to be productive and well-focused in other areas in your life, such as academics. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, take time to shop, plan meals, thoughtfully prepare food, and eat with others!

  1. Sleep well.

Getting 7-8 hours of sleep, during the same period of each night, is fundamental to maintaining a positive attitude and preparing yourself for each day. It’s not always possible but certainly worth a shot!

  1. Stay on top of your work.
  2. Plan ahead.

When you stay on top of your work, you are able to avoid the unnecessary stress caused by procrastination and develop a cushion for unexpected events that require your time. When you plan ahead, this sort of time-management only becomes easier.

Strategies to Relieve Stress and Remain Resilient:

  1. Exercise.

The University of Ghana gym is very small, but is an option for exercise, as well as other activities such as running and yoga. These activities give you time to clear your head, help you to let out unwanted tension, and improve your mood, appetite, and self-esteem. Additionally, setting goals in these activities gives you something to work towards and is enjoyable as you see yourself make progress and accomplish new things.

  1. Make your room an enjoyable and relaxing place.

Clean and organize your room well. When you walk in, you should not have to look at a bunch of misplaced things. You can just go in, sit down, take a breath, and have an environment immediately conducive for relaxing and/or studying.

  1. View your time as a learning experience.

At times, you will be faced with challenges that you have never encountered before. Know that these challenges are opportunities to learn and to grow! A positive outlook will help you to mitigate your stress as you take on challenges with an open mind and remember to view difficulties in the context of learning.

Strategies to Integrate into the Ghanaian Culture:

  1. Learn the local language.
  2. Make a point to regularly talk to and interact with Ghanaians.

Before I came here, I did not intend on taking a Twi class, but I have realized that not only is this fun, it helps me to feel more comfortable during my stay. Learning Twi is an excellent opportunity to actively participate in the culture, rather than just observe it. In a similar way, interacting with Ghanaians, especially students, gives you more opportunities to participate in the University of Ghana community and learn from the people who live here.

All of these strategies have been useful in ensuring that my study abroad experience is the best that it can be. I hope some can help you as well!


Complimentary Twi Lesson!:

Aduane a mepε paa ne _____! (The food which I like best is _____!)

Atosodeε (vegetable)

Dauba (fruit)

Nsuo (water)

εkom dε me. (I am hungry.)

Ashley Young studied abroad in Accra, Ghana in 2018:

Ghana | Volta Hall and Living at the University of Ghana


Living at the University of Ghana is quite an adventure! Every day brings something new and exciting. In this post, I will talk about the different living options available to UCEAP students, and in particular, my experience living at Volta Hall.

When you apply to study abroad in Ghana, you will be able to list your living preferences. Depending on your gender, you will be able to choose from either two or three options. Men can choose either Legon Hall, a co-ed dorm, or the International Students Hostel (ISH), a dorm for (mostly) international students. Women can choose either of these options or they can choose Volta Hall, an all-women’s hall. The most relevant differences between these options are as follows:

  1. Legon Hall and Volta Hall are right in the center of campus; ISH is on the outskirts of campus;
  2. Legon Hall and Volta Hall sometimes lose running water, but water retrieved from tanks with buckets (which is the same as the tap water) is always available; ISH rarely ever loses running water.
  3. There is more opportunity for interaction with Ghanaian students at Volta Hall and Legon Hall; there is more opportunity for interaction with international students at ISH.

All halls have their own small stores, places to eat, laundry services, and seamstresses (I would definitely recommend getting some clothes made; it’s a fun experience!). All halls are also monitored 24/7 by ‘porters,’ who essentially guard the main entrances to the halls, especially during the night hours, and are available to help students and answer their questions. Additional information on housing is available at:

While one does rank their housing preferences, they may be placed elsewhere. I was placed in my first choice, Volta Hall, but some of my fellow classmates were not. It is also common to be told that you will be staying in one place, but then be moved to another place upon your arrival. Flexibility is very important in Ghana!

My experience at Volta Hall has been a positive one. The hall itself is very nice; when one first walks in they are greeted by a beautiful fountain and well-maintained landscaping – including really cool flowering trees, grass, pot plants, flower beds, and stone walkways. It is like a little oasis – when I walk in after a long class, I can just take a deep breath and relax. The rooms are also very nice. My room is actually comprised of two rooms, an inner room and an outer room. Each has its own bed and desk, and the outer room also has a sink. Outside of the room is a large wrap-around patio that connects all of the rooms – this is especially useful for washing one’s clothes and doing things like yoga.

There is a bathroom with two showers and one toilet on each floor; this is more than enough for everyone to share. While running water can be an issue, bucket showers are actually very refreshing, and not too much of an inconvenience. There is also a kitchen on the ground floor (the building is two-storied) with a fridge and two hot plates for cooking. While my roommate and I use the fridge, we bought our own hotplate and cooking supplies to do most of our cooking in our room. We are a bit of an exception; most students buy ready-made food, but we cook almost all of our meals. I have found this really enjoyable and a good way to stay healthy and use up free time!

Another way to stay busy is to participate in hall activities. Each hall has intermural sports; these include swimming, rugby, basketball, volleyball, cricket, and chess. Swimming is especially popular with international students, and one does not have to have any experience to join! Each hall also has a ‘hall week,’ where they put on events such as concerts and have vendors who sell food, jewelry, clothes, and other goods throughout the week. Many students enjoy visiting each different hall during its week to participate in the activities it offers.

All in all, living at the University of Ghana is a wonderful experience. Some final notes:

  1. There is a very small gym on campus; it is very close to ISH. Many students also elect to run, swim, or pick up some other physical activity during their time in Ghana.
  2. Food is available at every hall, as well as Bush Canteen and Night Market, which are two larger locations on campus to get food and groceries. A decently sized Ghanaian meal can be purchased for less than 2 USD. People selling fruit, snacks, and coconuts are also easy to find around.
  3. Rooms are not air-conditioned but do have fans. They are generally very hot but cooler than being outdoors!
  4. The WiFi is generally awful; it works best when there are less people on campus (e.g. before school starts) or when most people are asleep (e.g. 3am). Most international students purchase their own portable WiFi devices. Unlimited data costs about 30$/month if the cost is split with a roommate.

I hope this post is helpful! Check out this link for an old but still helpful video of housing at UG!:


Complimentary Twi Lesson!:

Wote hene? (Where do you live?)

Mete Volta. (I live at Volta)

Mepε se mekɔ me fie. (I want to go to my house. Literally, I want that I go to my house.)

Yεn kɔ! (Let’s go!)

Ashley Young studied abroad in Accra, Ghana in 2018: