An important aspect of studying away is the opportunity for you to learn more about your chosen host country and how identities may be understood and perceived within this new context. We encouraged you to begin researching some of the challenges and opportunities you may encounter, and plan ahead by identifying people and resources that can help you make the most of your experience away. The information below offers brief descriptions of identity-based topics in Accra, and Ghana more broadly, as well as access to people, resources, and programs you can connect with before and after you get there.
Depending on lifestyle and location, the cost of living in Ghana can vary significantly. Accra is a busy, cosmopolitan capital with neighborhoods and activities that can be expensive. You can expect to spend around $450 USD on local transit throughout the semester. Buyiing groceries is generlally quite afforfable and a good way to maintain a strict budget. The cost of airfare and immigration will come out to be around $1,650.
Though there are nearly 2 million Ghanaians with disabilities and the government has legislation that protects people with disabilities, the infrastructure still lacks many of the accommodations for those with physical disabilities. Services for people with disabilities can be limited and students with mobility difficulties should be prepared for limited accommodations in public areas. Because there is a general perception in Ghana that people with disabilities are not able to contribute productively to society, many locals with disabilities live in marginalized circumstances.
Voice Ghana: Supporting People with Disabilities to Support Themselves
Country Report on Human Rights Practices (see section 6)
Though many travelers describe most Ghanaians as friendly and polite, many women travelers still experience milder forms of harassment including catcalls, whistling, and stares. Female students should avoid going out at night alone and are encouraged to travel in pairs or groups since traveling alone may attract unwanted attention. Other women travelers suggest dressing conservatively being sure to cover your midsection so as to avoid attracting stares.
Under Ghanaian law, homosexuality is illegal and same-sex partnerships are not condoned. There have been reports of harassment and violence based on sexual identity. Like many African nations, Ghana struggles with ongoing discrimination against LGBTQ+ communities. Though there are small, active groups that have attempted to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, there is still little public support of initiatives that support fair treatment of people who identify as LGBTQ+.
Race & Ethnicity
Ghanaians are known to be proud of their diverse ethnic backgrounds. However, many locals may not distinguish differences in American ethnic groups. Many US ethnic minorities, particularly Black students, have cited the unique experience of only being identified by their American-ness. For some students of color, it may be the first time that they are considered only to be American. Most Ghanaians refer to Americans by the general term “obruni”, literally translated as “someone from over the horizon,” but is often used as a synonym for someone with white skin.
Religion & Spirituality
Ghana is very open and tolerant of different religions, and the majority of Ghanaians generally speak openly about their faith. Students who do not identify with a specific religion, or consider themselves atheist, should be aware that conversations challenging religion or religious institutions are generally frowned upon. Nearly two-thirds of the population is Christian and about 17 percent of the population identifies as Muslim, many of whom live in the northern region of Ghana. Religion is an important part of life for communities throughout the county and learning more about how Ghanaians practice their faith may offer a good window into Ghanaian culture.