Putting the STUDY, in Study Abroad

It may seem exciting that the University of Ghana uses the British grading system, because you can earn an A or B in your classes with lower scores than in the U.S. But all that excitement goes away when you find out that your classes consist of only an interim assessment (midterm), worth 30 percent if your grade, and a final exam worth 70 percent.

Unlike many American schools where you receive many homework assignments, papers and quizzes, things are a bit different here. You must solely depend on your readings and lectures, which requires more self-discipline and balance of your social life.

In the midst of becoming acclimated to my new home, traveling to different places, attending amazing events, trying new cuisines and making new friends, I am taking six classes; the majority of which are once a week for two hours.

Reasons to beware

  • Many courses are discussion based rather than lecture based.
  • Many professors will not email you if class if cancelled; you must go to class and wait there for the full-time frame unless the T.A. informs the class otherwise.
  • There are course group chats, so make sure you are added or you will miss important information.
  • You may get called on consistently because you are foreign and many professors want an American point of view. So think on your feet and if you don’t have an answer just say “I don’t know” because other students will not hesitate to call you out.
  • Don’t be offended if the class laughs at your American accent when you speak.
  • Don’t get scared if the professor asks you to speak slower, repeat your answer, or even speak into the mic (this happens to me pretty often).

My courses

History of the Black Diaspora
I really enjoy this class because we read and discuss about the connections between African descent around the world and the history of voluntary and involuntary travel. This course consists of group presentations every week for every chapter; My group, Sun Flowers, will be presenting on “The Origins and Institutionalization of American Slavery,” so wish us well! This course is extremely beneficial because it allows all students (foreign and Ghanaian) to participate in the dialogue of African-American history and, personally, I’m exploring parts of my history that I didn’t know pertaining to other parts of the world, such as the Caribbean and Latin America.

Ghanaian Literature
Another great course, which introduces all students to the evolution of creative writing by Ghanaian authors. I value this course because not only am I reading great books but I’m learning about the social and political issues in Ghana through artistic expression. Many of the issues that are described by the authors are not discussed here openly, which allows me to understand the concerns and confusion I have about the country. So far my favorite text is “Prison Graduates” by Efo Kodjo Mawugbe, but I’m very excited about the upcoming texts and poetry selections for the course. If it wasn’t for Dr. Reddick’s course, Africana Literary Study at SDSU, I wouldn’t have the same excitement and appreciation for literature and I wouldn’t be able to deeply analyze and conceptualize what the author is expressing.

This course has a personal meaning for me because it explores the issues of crime and victimization for individuals, families, communities and society. This directly aligns with my field of interest and study, and it’s extremely important to me that I prepare and equip myself in order to appropriately help my clients, who will be possible victims or perpetrators.

Social Work and the Law Courts:
Months before traveling to Ghana, I knew I wanted to take this course. Not only does it align with my major, but it sparks others feelings and emotions that I’ve experienced this past summer. I’ve had the opportunity of touring and shadowing the wellness team at the Juvenile Hall in Kearny Mesa, which created emotions of helplessness, sadness and determination. Although my internship ended, my feelings did not disappear; I know I am destined to do more for court involved youth. Courses like these will guide me on the path I’m meant to take.

Traditional African Dance I
Initially, I was planning to drop this course because the instructor intimidated me, but now I understand why this course is taken so seriously. African dance has a variety of meanings and is a way of living. It is used to tell stories, celebrate, teach morals, values and more. It is an essential element to African culture and pride. I love this class because it connects me with my roots and the energy in the room is indescribable. The joy from my professor, teaching assistants and upperclassmen as they dance and sing as if it’s their last time is breathtaking and definitely reminds me that I’m in Ghana.

Ghanaian Language Proficiency Course for Beginners (TWI):
Asante Twi is the most widely spoken of the dialects of the Akan language, which is spoken by 44 percent of Ghana’s population. Learning another language is, of course, difficult but Twi is on another level! The complexity of speaking, reading and writing further demonstrates the uniqueness and beauty of Ghanaian culture. This course teaches me to have patience with myself, allows me to get out of my comfort zone and helps me interact better with the locals.

Lets Learn Twi (Asante)!

Di: to eat
Bue: to open
Fɛfɛɛfɛ: beautiful
Nom: to drink
Maakye: good morning
Maahã: good afternoon
Maadwo: good evening

mɛpɛ fufu dodo (I like fufu too much)

Yɛbɛhyia bio! (We’ll meet again!)

Brittany Jones is a senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies in three departments, with an emphasis in social work, psychology and criminal justice. She is studying abroad this fall in Accra, Ghana.

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