Experience life in an African village! Travel with LEAP and ThisWorldMusic® to Ghana, West Africa and learn traditional African dance, drumming, music, and art at the world-renowned Dagbe Cultural Institute & Arts Centre.
Located in the scenic coastal village of Kopeyia, the Dagbe Institute’s rigorous instruction and authentic natural surroundings make for an experience unlike any other. In addition to taking intensive classes with local artists, LEAP students will have the opportunity to visit open-air markets, observe and take part in traditional village ceremonies and interact with local residents.
In the capital city of Accra, the group will visit a drum maker’s workshop and be treated to a private performance and masterclass at the National Theatre with the acclaimed Ghana National Dance Ensemble.
The group also visits Ghana’s unique cultural heritage sites, including: The Centre for National Culture, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial, Kakum National Park rainforest reserve and Cape Coast Castle, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its prominent role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
ThisWorldMusic's UMass-accredited Ghana program is open to the general public. For LEAP students, the Ghana Study Abroad program meets the Senior Project requirement and/or a LEAP Elective.
Ghana Study Abroad courses are offered in winter, typically in January, and in summer. Upcoming course dates are as follows
- Summer Session I: June 18 - July 10
- Summer Session II: July 9 - 31
- Winter Session: December 31 - January 12
Course itinerary to include:
- traditional dancing, drumming, singing and craft making in the culturally vibrant village of Kopeyia
- participation in and observation of local festivals, ceremonies and community celebrations
- exclusive tour of a master drum maker's workshop
- private performance and masterclass at the National Theatre with the world-renowned Ghana National Dance Ensemble
- lodging at the scenic Afia Beach Hotel in the capital city of Accra
- shopping at the Centre for National Culture, the largest outdoor crafts market in West Africa
- sampling of local Ghanaian cuisine
Our summer courses in Ghana, for which students have the option of earning three additional credits (six credits in total), also include
- guided tour of historic Cape Coast Castle, a former slave fort, followed by 2 nights at a beach resort
- excursion to Kakum National Park rainforest reserve, including a ‘Canopy Walkway’ constructed between the treetops
It was the most worthwhile and best spent money I've ever invested in myself. I learned so much about the Ghanaian culture and more importantly about myself. I had no idea that this experience was going to leave such a deep impression on me and I think everyone needs to go and get a taste of Ghanaian culture. If we lived by their terms the world would be a better and more peaceful place full of dance and music and love. - Erica Chipp, LEAP student
"The knowledge is immense. The experience itself is very eye-opening and difficult to put into words. One needs to experience this for themselves. Everyone from the staff to the students were welcoming and open minded making it an enjoyable and prosperous learning environment for all!!" - Emily Wagner, LEAP student
"A once in a lifetime experience for learning drumming and dance. Trip leader was knowledgeable, informative and helpful. The cultural immersion was great in all aspects.” - Alan Black, Associate Director of Bands, Midwestern State University
“ Ghana was everything it needed to be: beautiful and difficult and perfect. Everyone who wants to call themselves an artist should go on this trip in order to be flung so far outside of their artistic box that you cannot help but be reborn as a student and as an artist.” Eric Busse, Musical Theater Student, University of Wisconsin La Crosse
Current LEAP students should contact their academic advisor for more information.