Ghana Arts Education Across Cultures

Try New Things, See New Places, Experience Ghana!

No previous arts or education training is required for this program.

Program leader, Joni Starr visits with students at the Achimota Elementary School in Accra, Ghana.

No previous arts or education training is required for this program.
All are welcome!

Travel dates: May 16, 2015 – June 18, 2015
Standing/Status: Sophomore minimum
Courses offered: TE491, IAH241E, Independent Studies

Questions? Contact Joni Starr,
Office of Study Abroad Program Page

Arts and Education Across Cultures

Ghana Study Abroad provides an opportunity for you to step out of your backyard and into a world that is different from your own. In this program we will explore and engage in the rich background of performing and visual arts that is reflective of the people, the history, and the culture of Ghana. We will examine the role the arts play in formal and informal education settings through partnership with the Achimota Elementary School. We will examine the connections between creative expression and empowered learning while comparing and contrasting arts education in the United States and Ghana.

Achimota student reads a letter from a ‘student buddy’ in Portland, Oregon.

This program will balance the practice of education and artistry while traveling to three locales: Accra, Cape Coast, and Kumasi. Local artists and educators will teach performing and visual arts classes including drumming and batiking. Students will learn about the arts and culture of the country while engaging in their own creative process. Additionally, the program will partner with the Achimota Basic School in Accra where students will observe and assist in classroom implementation of arts integrated lesson plans and where MSU students and Ghanaian students will work together on an informal performance to make their learning public.

Cape Coast Castle, National Heritage Site

Program activities include:

  • Visual and performing arts classes taught by Ghanaian artists and educators
  • Lectures and discussion by faculty members from Ghanaian Universities
  • Observation, mentoring, and teaching at the Achimota Elementary School
  • Informal performance with Achimoto students
  • Travel to important historical, cultural, and natural sites in Ghana
Program leader, Joni Starr gets an impromptu drumming lesson.

This study abroad opportunity addresses objectives and outcomes that will focus on:

  • Academic and intellectual growth through interfacing with MSU faculty and Ghanaian experts to learn about the rich arts and culture of the country.
  • Professional development in interfacing with school students and teachers to work together in classroom settings and a public performance.
  • Personal growth through direct participation in and reflection of the creative process. As well as personal growth through becoming more aware about themselves and the world they live in.
  • Skills for engaging with culturally different people through pre and post workshops on cultural sensitivity and daily discussions about choices made to survive and thrive in a “home” that is different from our own.
Traditional fishing boats carved from single tree.

Ghana is an ideal country to study arts education for a number of reasons including the following:

  • It is a significantly different landscape from the United States and students will experience something outside of their own daily practice.
  • It has a rich background of performing and visual arts that is reflective of the people, the history, and the culture.
  • People, in general, and children, in particular, are encouraged to express themselves freely through artistic expression and to engage in arts practices in schools and communities.