Ghana’s vibrant atmosphere and friendly people have made it one of the most popular and accessible destinations in West Africa. During your Global Prep program, you’ll learn about Ghanaian traditions and modern context while exploring the capital city of Accra—which, as of 2016, has been named “Africa’s Capital of Cool” by the New York Times. You will have a unique sustainable development internship with a water safety nonprofit and participate in a local community service project with a school in Accra, while also learning about traditional drumming, dancing, and batik print-making techniques. By participating in excursions to lush natural reserves and colonial cities like Cape Coast, you can gain a deep understanding of the region’s history and politics. Plus, Ghana’s official language is English, which means you can jump right into your three-week cultural adventure from day one! By staying with a local host family, you’ll be immersed in Ghanaian daily life and culture in no time.
Most Global Prep programs accept participants between the ages of 13 and 18 years old. However, 13 and 14 year old’s aren’t eligible to enroll for certain Global Prep destinations. If you wish to participate and will be 13 or 14 years old at the date of departure for the program, please contact AFS for more information about specific program eligibility. Please also keep in mind that due to regulations mandated by the airlines, 13 and 14 year old participants will be considered Unaccompanied Minors and additional charges will apply.
On this program you are likely to learn about these Sustainable Development Goals:
Sample Program Itinerary to Ghana
The below itinerary serves as an outline for the program, and each Global Prep experience will vary based on group size and opportunity.
I. Starting your Adventure
Your journey to Ghana will begin in New York, where you’ll meet your Group Leader and the rest of your Global Prep participants. Then you’ll travel together to Accra, where you’ll be welcomed at the airport by AFS Staff or Volunteers. You’ll have some time to gather yourself at an AFS-approved hostel that evening with your group leader before heading to an orientation to discuss practical tips for navigating life in Ghana. After enjoying a delicious meal of local dishes like fufu (dumplings made from plantains and cassava), you’ll join in some fun ice breakers to get to know the members of your group before meeting your host family – an unforgettable experience that past participants have loved.
II. Appreciating Ghana’s past, present, and future
Your week will begin by taking in the electric bustle of Accra, the history of the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, and the Makola Market. Did you know that Ghana was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain their independence from colonial rule? You’ll quickly see why Kwame Nkrumah means so much to Ghana today. Next, your group will learn how to act like true Ghanaians through tips and instructions from local staff and volunteers.
After getting oriented, you’ll begin your internship with our partner, Safe Water Network (SWN), to learn how they increase access to clean water through sustainable, locally-run pumping and filtration stations. The internship starts at the SWN headquarters in Accra, where staff introduce the problem of limited access to safe water in Ghana, and SWN’s model and operations, covering STEM, socioeconomic, and community engagement aspects. Then, you’ll take a day trip to the Volta region to tour Akosombo Dam and visit active water stations around Accra, engaging with their daily operations, such as testing and distribution. The internship concludes with students presenting their findings and recommendations for improvements to the SWN team. Other projects include volunteering with a Junior High School.
During your second week, you’ll get to try traditional Ghanaian dancing, drumming, and hand-dyed batik or tie-dye fabric lessons. As you listen to the music, savor the food, and dance to the rhythms, you’ll develop a deep connection to some of the most vivid and dynamic aspects of Ghanaian culture. You’ll even learn some basic phrases in Twi and Fante, the main languages spoken in Accra besides English.
III. Culminating in Cape Coast
Before your program ends, you’ll venture to Cape Coast to visit Kakum National Park, a sanctuary for endangered species such as forest elephants. There, you can take a hike through the jungle and a stroll along a canopy walk for treetop views.
You and your group will also have the important chance to learn about Cape Coast’s history as a European colonial capital that played a major role in the West African slave trade. You’ll tour former “slave castles,” such as the infamous Cape Coast Castle, and learn about the complex history of exploitation that shaped this region. To unwind afterward, you and your friends can wander the neighborhoods or beaches of Cape Coast, which has transformed into a lively port city and college town.
You and your group will spend most of your time with a host family. This unique experience offers the chance to enjoy Ghanaian life up-close and share stories with your host parents and siblings. During your stay, you’ll likely get to taste homemade foods like red-red, a popular dish that is made with beans, shrimp, or prawns, red palm oil, and tomatoes. Ghana is also famous for its delicious street foods, so you may get to purchase some spicy snacks like fried plantains from a local vendor.
This Global Prep experience is led by in-country experts and volunteers, in addition to an AFS-USA staff group leader who will chaperone your group to and from your host country.
What's included in your program fee?
- Round trip international airfare chaperoned by an American staff member
- Accommodations, meals, and transportation
- International secondary medical travel coverage
- Access to a 24/7 Emergency Duty Officer
- Visa Support
- Please review the Terms and Conditions for complete guidelines.
What’s not included in the Program Fee?
“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Ghana.
In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.