10 things to know before studying abroad in Ghana
We often travel abroad for different reasons and studies are one of them. And suppose you were to travel to a country like Ghana in Africa for the first time, most probably your knowledge about the place is limited greatly.It is true there are differences, because Africa in itself has various cultures and tribes. There are few factual things that you should know about Ghana.
I. It is hot
In most of the days,the temperature ranges between 25 degrees Celsius to 35 degrees Celsius and sometimes that range is exceeded. The weather is generally very hot and very humid. What that means is that walking to and from class won't really do you well, whether you had a shower or not.Additionally, only a few class rooms often have air conditioners
For your general welfare, it is greatly recommended that you stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water.You can always carry some.
II. There's electricity
Even though there is electricity, there are always those occasional times when there are power outages. Most if not all of the learning institutions and other places like hotels and hostels often have back-up generators. But if you find yourself in a hostel that has no power backup plan, you will have to use a candle or just entertain the darkness. In terms of electronics, we know how students love those; a plug adapter and transformer are needed because Ghana uses the 230V power.
III. Blending in can be hard
That is because you are out of your comfort zone. You are meeting new and different people in everything compared to what you are normally used to. Okay, not different in everything.
You may find yourself as the only white person in a class over 150 students. It then becomes harder to skip lecturers; it would be easy to know when you are not around.
Also there's the language barrier and of course how your accent my trouble a few. For those who speak English, their accent may also trouble you. You may help yourself by learning a few the local languages like Twi which is a popular tribal language.
IV. People speak English
While it is true that there are a lot of tribal languages in Ghana, it is also a fact that Ghana was colonized by the British. So not only are people able to speak, they also are able to understand even your American accent. Of course, the accent whether yours or that of the locals, is a challenge.
V. Be patient, things take time
There's always a joke about the presence of an African time, meaning their concept of time may be different to what you are used to. Things don't usually go according to the time planned,it is normal to see a meeting,class or an appointment delayed.Additionally, don't be surprised if a waiter takes longer to serve you in a hotel. Just fit in.
VI. Yes you can get sick and there are world-class treatment facilities
One of those diseases that most foreigners are afraid of is Malaria while in actual fact the situation is not as scary as that. You can carry your medications and limit exposure to malaria disease by applying bug cream. There are always a number of pharmacies and also there's the presence of world class treatment facilities with great professionals.
VII. It is safe
Generally Africa is painted as a war-torn continent. While it is true there are wars in some countries, Ghana is among the countries in Africa that are largely peaceful. Also, it is a very religious country. But normal caution should be taken such as not walking around especially alone during odd hours or flaunting cash and expensive items.
VIII. You will be treated like a celebrity
The people are generally welcoming. There is also this common notion by most locals that most if not all foreigners that have traveled there are rich. Don't be surprised if a kid says hello to you and ask you for some money.Don't think they are rude. Even Ghanaian vendors may be pushy and very welcoming.
IX. You are at liberty to pick the programs you like
For example, it is possible to carry your studies while volunteering or even be an intern somewhere. There's also the possibility of going to class rooms with only American students. Of course there will be a lecturer for you, an American lecturer.
X. You need a travel visa
To apply for a visa, you will need to have a passport. Whether it is renewing a passport or getting a new one, it is advised that that should be done ahead of time to avoid any possible inconvenience as delays are common. You can visit the nearest Ghanaian embassy to get the necessary information. There's the option of going directly though the particular Ghanaian embassy website and you will find Visa applications instructions.