Duke University : Global Education for Undergraduates

Duke in Ghana

THIS PROGRAM IS ON HIATUS FOR SUMMER 2017, returning in Summer 2018

* See the Program Schedule page for a more detailed itinerary, including information regarding travel to and from the program site.

The Departments of Cultural Anthropology and African and African American Studies, in conjunction with the Duke University Global Education Office for Undergraduates offer a six-week, two-course program on culture and life in Ghana.

Located on the west coast of Africa, Ghana is a culturally and geographically diverse country with rich artistic traditions and a complex history of intercontinental trade (in gold, slaves, and cocoa), British colonialism, and Pan-African nationalist social movements. Heralded as a political and economic success story upon its independence in 1957, democratic Ghana has since faced the challenges and undergone the hardships of a developing country on the poorest continent. Ghanaians are gracious, generous and immediately likeable people who, upon more extended acquaintance, reveal complex and interesting differences from Americans.

The program is based at the University of Ghana at Legon, just outside the capital city, Accra. Courses are taught by the program director and Ghanaian faculty and focus on Ghanaian politics, history, social life, dance, music and art. Field trips complement course work. Students travel as a group through various parts of the country, crossing from rainforest to dry savannah, visiting cities, coastal fishing towns, and rural farming villages. Students also tour and learn about the former slave forts at Cape Coast and Elmina, and museums and craft villages in and around Kumasi, capital of the former Ashanti Empire.

Depending upon their interests and individual research projects, students have the opportunity to take regular dance and drumming classes; attend live performances and a traditional festival; visit markets, schools, museums, waterfalls, a monkey reserve, a prayer mountain, a traditional herbalist, a chief’s palace, cocoa and textile factories, social service projects, the Volta River Hydroelectric Dam, Mole National Park (a game reserve), and more.

To view the online student blog from the program from the past two years, please go to:

http://dukeinghana.wordpress.com (summer 2013)



To view a comprehensive video from summer 2014, please go to:


    • Aerial view of Medina outdoor market
    • Aerial view of Medina outdoor market

    • Postcard from Abroad
    • Postcard from Abroad
    • Dear Global Education Office:

      I have grown a lot in the past month and a half. I can honestly say that I pushed myself very far out of my comfort zone and was surprised to find that I was not only perfectly okay, but glad to be outside of it. For the past six weeks, I saw and experienced so much and ended every single day completely exhausted, but completely happy. My eyes were opened to an entirely different way of living, and I was challenged to reflect on myself and my own society. Although it was not always easy, the lessons I learned, the friendships I formed, and the memories I made were worth more than anything else and I am grateful for every moment.

      Clara, a native Ghanaian who was the assistant director for our trip, told us at the beginning that her one hope was that we would leave "just a little bit Ghanaian." As I boarded the plane and said goodbye to my host family, the aching feeling in my chest told me that Ghana had most definitely become a very special part of me, and that I would carry this little bit of Ghana with me for the rest of my life.

      -Ashley Tsai

  • Boats in Ghana