Program Overview

This program is ideal for students interested in studying global health and development issues in Africa. On this program, you will take courses examining health and development in Ghana, as well as contemporary issues facing Ghanaian society. As a complement to your coursework, you will be placed in a hands-on service learning experience at a local community organization, healthcare service provider, or research institute. You will also receive an introduction to Modern Twi (Ghana's most commonly spoken language), through your on-site orientation. If you have career aspirations in the fields of community and international development, social work, psychology, mental health, medicine, or public/global health, you will greatly benefit from this program.

Accra, a city of about two and half million people, is Ghana's capital city and the administrative, economic and cultural center of the country. Accra is well known for its traditional and contemporary arts, vibrant music scene, and bustling outdoor markets. As one of the largest cities in Africa, Accra attracts people from the entire West African sub-region. Experience the welcoming hospitality of the Ghanaian people as you explore the Makola Market, ride a trotro through the city or watch artisans weave traditional cloth. Both the summer and fall programs include three weekend excursions to Cape Coast, Kumasi, and the Volta region. In these excursions students will learn about the Volta region’s unique history, visit modern day African markets, and see “slave castles” on the Gold Coast that used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Discover the wide variety of cultural events, festivals and performances Accra has to offer.

This program was designed in collaboration with the Global Health Minor Program at the University of Oregon.

Additional requirements

Fall and summer students will need to obtain a visa. You will receive more information about this during the application process.

Academic Details

Summer Program:
You will take 3 courses during the 7-week summer program. The Ghana Health and Society course examines the impact of cultural beliefs and practices, colonialism, globalization, and political economy on the health of Ghanaians. The Tropical Disease: Ghana course, taught by UO Biology professor Janis Weeks, examines both well-known diseases and ‘neglected tropical diseases’ that impact Ghana and other tropical regions. You will also participate in a Service Learning seminar and placement. A wide variety of service learning placements in the fields of health, education, environmental issues and development are available and are matched to your specific interests. Service learning schedules will vary according to the assigned placement. Students should expect to spend 20 hours a week or more at the placement site. Students will earn service learning credit based on the number of hours they complete in their placement. Thirty hours of service learning equates to one quarter credit. Forty-five hours of service learning usually equates to one semester credit.
 
In the summer program, University of Oregon students will receive up to 14 UO credits total, including:

  • 5 UO credits for Health and Society (approved as INTL 300 level credit)
  • 5 UO credits for Tropical Disease: Ghana (approved as BI 300 level credit)
  • Up to 4 UO credits for Service Learning (approved as INTL or BI 400 level credit)
     

Fall Semester Program:
You will take 4 courses during the 12-week fall semester program. The Ghana Health and Society class will introduce you to historical and contemporary issues that have impacts on health. You will also take Community Psychology, Introduction to Epidemiology, and a service learning seminar. All students will also participate in a Service Learning seminar and placement. A wide variety of service learning placements in the fields of health, education, environmental issues and development are available and are matched to your specific interests. Service learning schedules will vary according to the assigned placement. Students should expect to spend 10 hours a week or more at the placement site. Students will earn service learning credit based on the number of hours they complete in their placement. Thirty hours of service learning equates to one quarter credit. Forty-five hours of service learning usually equates to one semester credit.


In the fall semester program, University of Oregon students will receive up to 20 UO quarter credits total, including:

  • 5 UO credits for Ghana Health and Society (approved as INTL 300 level credit)
  • 5 UO credits for Introduction to Epidemiology – West Africa (approved as HPHY 300 level credit) 
  • 5 UO credits for Community Psychology (approved as PSY 300 level credit)
  • Up to 5 UO credits for Service Learning (approved as INTL or BI 400 level credit)
     

Note for non-UO students: Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information, in particular, how many contact hours are required for internship or service learning credit. All classes take place at the Aya Centre and are designed exclusively for students in the GEO Ghana program.

Faculty and Staff

Janis Weeks, PhD, is a professor of biology at the University of Oregon and member of the African Studies Program and teaches the Tropical Disease: Ghana seminar during the summer program in Accra. She has been involved in building research and education capacity in Africa for nearly 20 years. Her research focuses on technologies for discovering new drugs against devastating worm infections in humans, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Weeks' undergraduate courses at UO on infectious and parasitic diseases in Africa have been recognized by a Biology Teaching Award and a Martin Luther King, Jr. Award.

The program’s base is the Aya Centre, a private institution designed to enhance the learning experience and cultural awareness of persons traveling to Ghana. The Aya Centre is located in East Legon, a suburb community in northern Accra.  It is located less than 5 minutes from the University of Ghana, in Legon, the oldest and largest public university in Ghana. The program’s location allows students to take advantage of Legon’s college town atmosphere while having easy access to Accra’s bustling urban center. Students are supported throughout their time onsite by the Aya Centre staff.

Housing Description

During the summer program, you will be placed with a local host family. Host families will provide you with breakfast and dinner, a private room with study area and light laundry. During the fall program you will have the option of staying at the Aya Center house or with a host family. The Aya Centre is located approximately three blocks from the University of Ghana in East Legon, a quiet residential neighborhood located in Greater Accra. The Aya Center House is completely furnished, equipped with a kitchen (including basic cooking facilities and utensils), a dining room, a large living room, a small patio and a large compound. Most of the rooms are double- or triple-occupancy. Each room has a private bath and ceiling fan. A 24-hour security guard service is also provided. If you choose to stay with a host family during the fall program, you will be charged a host family supplement to cover your meals while abroad. All accommodations are included during excursions.

Dates and Deadlines

TermYearPriority DeadlineDeadlineArrival DateDeparture Date
Term
Summer
Year
2019
Priority Deadline
2/15/2019
Deadline
3/15/2019
Arrival Date
6/21/2019
Departure Date
8/9/2019
Term
Fall Semester
Year
2019
Priority Deadline
3/15/2019
Deadline
4/15/2019
Arrival Date
9/22/2019
Departure Date
12/15/2019

Course Equivalencies

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.