Pitt in Ghana: Culture, Music, and Health

The Pitt in Ghana: Culture, Health and Music is an interdisciplinary program established in collaboration with Department of Africana Studies, Department of Music, African Studies Program, Anthropology, and other departments such as History and Political Science. This six-week, nine-credit summer program is designed to provide you with a unique educational opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture, society, and languages of West Africa. After your first week in Pittsburgh, you will depart for Ghana where you will remain for five weeks studying culture, music, and health issues.

Excursions and Cultural Activities: two-night trip to Kumasi, Ashanti region including visit to the King's Palace Museum, Ashanti traditional homes, Bonwire Kente village, Adinkra cloth village; overnight trip to Cape Coast including visit to the dungeons of Cape and Elmina Slave Castles, Assin-Manso slave river, hike in the Kakum National Park; musical shows, on-stage performances, and story-telling of Ghanaian and African arts and culture; visit to local hospitals and rural health clinics, etc.

What You'll Accomplish

As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Study the characteristic features of the West African peoples as demonstrated in their cultural traditions and performing arts 
  • Experience traditional music, theatre, drama, and dance and understand the role they play in social, cultural, political, and economic lives of these people
  • Utilize site visits to examine the role of colonization and the slave trade on West Africa and the world
  • Understand the public health issues in Ghana and initiatives to help combat them

 

Legon’s well-educated citizens welcome American students with open arms to their quiet suburban town, just northeast of the city center in the Accra Metropolis District. The sprawling Ghana University campus is a major focus of the town and students enjoy access to a large shopping mall and several grocery stores as well as restaurants and bars. Just three degrees north of the equator, you will find rainforests, wildlife parks, and pristine beaches ready for exploring. A large shopping mall is located approximately 10 minutes away, and several grocery stores are easily accessible to you.

Where You'll Live

Students will stay in shared accommodations at the University of Ghana Guest Center. 

You can expect the following:
 
  • Double rooms 
  • AC
  • Bedding
  • Shared bathrooms 
  • Breakfast
  • Wifi 
  • Laundry service – extra fee
 
We do our best to provide the most accurate information about housing and amenities but due to the nature of the locations in which we offer programs and limited availability, these items are subject to change.  Contact your program manager with any questions. 
What You'll Study
You will take three courses for nine credits.
 
If you are seeking to count these courses towards a major, minor or certificate requirement, please meet with your respective advisor to discuss the program and what the courses will fulfill for you. Information about how the courses on this program count towards general education requirements for different schools and campuses can be found here.
West African Cultures and Society (Africana Studies1024)

The course is intended to provide students with a basic understanding and appreciation of some of the distinctive elements and features of West African cultures and society. Presented from interdisciplinary framework, the course will introduce students to the diversity, dynamism and complexity of the many cultures and societies of West Africa, both past and present. It first provides a brief background of the region by exploring its geological and geographical nature, and the multi-linguistic peoples living in the region. It follows with the nature of West African societies’ social systems and organization; their indigenous political and economic institutions; and their cultural arts and aesthetic. The course further discusses West Africans’ interaction with the world, and the subsequent emergence of slavery and colonization; and the rise of cultural emancipation, nationalism, pan-Africanism that eventually led to decolonization in the region. In addition, since the discipline of Africana Studies sustains comprehensive immersion of African world content to guide effort to study, to define, to critically interpret, to map and to comparatively engage the multi-directional continuum of African experience, the course finally shows, in conclusion, how these West African traditions have historically and culturally become part of the heritage of the Black communities in the Diaspora—Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino, African American, and Afro-European traditions

Health Issues in West Africa (ANTHXXXX)

Please note that this course is currently under review for approval; therefore, the course title/number is subject to change.

This course in designed to integrate classroom and field instruction to introduce you to the health challenges facing Ghana and other countries in the West Africa region. Emphasis will be on understanding the healthcare system and what is being done by governments and community-based organizations to build and reinforce health systems that are effective in delivering essential health-care interventions. You will study topics including infectious diseases, safe water and sanitation, secure supply of food and nutrition, maternal mortality, infant and childhood disease, infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and health education. You will have shadowing opportunity at local hospitals, meeting with public health officials, and visiting rural health clinics.

West African Performing Arts (MUSIC1341)

The course is designed to introduce students to the nature and characteristic features of West African performance traditional arts that totally cover music, and other art forms such as dance, drama, masquerade, drama and theater, which are combined with music in performance. It seeks to provide students with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the diversity, dynamism, and complexity of these performing arts in the region, and the role that these arts plays in social, cultural, political, and economic lives of the societies. In a broader context, the course traces the shifting styles, forms, and content of these performing arts in relation to larger social, cultural, political and economic conditions experienced by the people. It analyzes the underlying discourse of artistry as expressed in these art forms, by examining the nature or the characteristic features of the arts, and how they are used with music as social and artistic mediums of communication, or as spontaneous dialogue to dramatize themes drawn from everyday social lives of the people. It shows how the use of these performing arts by the communities, as an avenue of communication, has continued to exist as ‘African cultural memory’ generally among the communities and has subsequently led to cultural self-determination and self-transformation among the societies. The course finally shows, in conclusion, how these West African performing art traditions have historically and culturally formed part of the heritage of the Afro-Diaspora musical traditions, as they are normally expressed through cultural performance.

Syllabus:

Pitt Study Abroad runs this program in partnership with CIEE, one of the leading study abroad service providers in the world. 

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts

Nazir Noori

Salam! I’m Nazir and I'm your Study Abroad Program Manager. I was born and raised abroad and went to schools in Afghanistan, Iran, and the U.S. I also took classes in India and United Arab Emirates. I worked for the U.S. Department of State, USAID, and German Foreign Office for over ten years before moving to Pittsburgh in 2014. At the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, I assisted Afghan students to study in the U.S., and now I'm glad I have the opportunity to help American students study abroad.

Stop by the office during my walk-in hours (Tue, Wed, Thu from 2-4pm) or get in touch with me at nazir.noori@pitt.edu or 412-383-4827 to discuss the study abroad options.

 
 
Your In-Country Contacts

Dr. E. Kwadwo O. Beeko

Dr. E. Kwadwo O. Beeko is currently a Faculty member in the University of Pittsburgh, and teaching at both the Department of Africana Studies and the Department of Music. He earned a Ph.D. degree in Ethnomusicology at the University of Pittsburgh (2005), a Master’s degree in Philosophy of Music at the University of Ghana, Legon (2000), a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana (1996), and a Diploma in Music at the National Academy of Music, Winneba, Ghana (1984). Beeko has some long-term experience and a proven success in teaching and motivating students to learn both in class-room setting and outside the class-room that involves research, volunteering work, etc. He also has a personal enthusiasm, humor, and commitment, essential for generating respect and interest, as well as for promoting teamwork, among students. His broad teaching interest has been on African performance aesthetics that deals with music, dance and theater; and the study of African traditions that deals with pre-colonial, colonial and contemporary African history, politics, society, culture, and religion. His research interest has been on Black performance aesthetics, and the creativity, innovation and processes of change that are employed in the peoples’ musical traditions, with particular emphasis on cognitive processes in musical performances. The courses that he is currently teaching at the University of Pittsburgh include Introduction to Africa; Early African Civilization; and African Literature and Society at the Department of Africana Studies; and Music in Africa, and Introduction to World Musicat the Department of Music.

 

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $4,656 $4,856
Program Fee $943 $943
Study Abroad Fee $300 $300
Total Billed by Pitt $5,899 $6,099

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Airfare ~$1,500
Meals and Personal Expenses $1,000 - $1,500
Vaccinations and any required prophylaxis ~$400
Visa Fee $100

 

Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad. Visit our Budgeting page for more information.

What's Included

As a part of your program fee, the following are included:

  • Tuition for nine credits
  • Housing 
  • Daily breakfast
  • International Health Insurance
  • Excursions
  • Airport transfers 
  • Class related activities
  • Program related performances
  • Accommodations at Pitt, the first week in Pittsburgh, should you need them

 

When You'll Go

This is a six week program. The first week of the program will take place in Pittsburgh. The last five weeks of the program will take place in Legon, Ghana.

What Else You Need to Know
  • There is a mandatory one-week orientation and instruction in Pittsburgh prior to departure for Ghana.
  • Due to the nature of the program, the schedule is subject to change. There may be instances where a guest speaker or visit needs to be rescheduled. We ask for your patience and understanding in advance.
  • Remember that this is an intensive summer academic program and that you should expect to invest the same amount of time and effort on your courses abroad as you would on a course at Pitt. 
  • There are required excursions and activities outside of normal scheduled classes.