YES Alumni lead the 10th anniversary with worldwide events throughout the year. read more >
YES Alumni lead the 10th anniversary with worldwide events throughout the year. read more >
Study in GHANA with YES Abroad
If you are a secondary school student in Ghana interested in applying for the YES Program, please click here for more information.
The Republic of Ghana, formerly the Gold Coast, visibly blends tradition with modernization in everyday life. Having declared its independence from Britain in 1957, Ghana is now a secular democracy, full of multiple ethnic groups and religions. The largest population of Ghanaians is Akan, but there are significant numbers of Mole Dagbon, Ewe, and Ga-Dangme. While the population is predominantly Christian, nearly 18% of the population is Muslim. There are about 79 languages and dialects in Ghana. The official language is English, and the rest of the languages are each spoken among a smaller percent of the population. These include: Asante, Ewe, Fante, Bono (Brong), Dagomba, Ga, Dangme, and many others.
The two major cities, Accra and Kumasi, are bustling with people dressed in both traditional attire and Western clothing and children playing soccer in the streets and purchasing video games in shops. The packed, colorful Makola Market in the heart of Accra offers everything from fish, to shoes, to furniture. The vast, vibrant Kumasi Market is open to traders from all over West Africa, with locals and tourists walking and bargaining side-by-side.
Although the typical cuisine varies upon region, Ghanaians tend to cook simply yet flavorfully. Rice is a staple throughout most of Ghana, often accompanied by rich stews and lentils, chicken, fish, plantains, and yams. In the tropical climate, Ghanaians try to keep cool under the blazing sun and dry during the heavy rain seasons.
The Ghanaian relationship to time is a cultural element of the country less visible than its food, but perhaps even more significant in its impact on daily life. In comparison to the American sense of time, where a meeting at 6pm will begin at 6pm—6:05pm if flexible—the Ghanaian sense of time is much more elastic and variable. This is partially due to the smaller percentage of hourly-paid jobs, but mostly because of the irregular nature of public transportation and stronger focus on living within the moment. If, for example, a friend or family member drops by just before someone is headed out for a meeting, there is a welcome obligation to spend time with that person. The value placed on "living in the moment" is inherent to daily life across Ghana.
Students will live with host families in order to experience a true immersion into Ghanaian culture. Families are selected based on recommendations from members of the local community, and each is carefully screened by AFS staff and volunteers. Many families hold a position of influence within their community, and all are highly regarded by their relatives and neighbors. Hosting communities exist through the presence of a strong volunteer support network, with a local volunteer, or “liaison,” available to each student hosted in the community.
Students are supported through a strong network of AFS staff and volunteers both in the United States and in-country in Ghana. Within the larger volunteer community, each student will have a local volunteer, or “liaison,” assigned to him or her, who is often either an alum of the YES program, a AFS volunteer, a past host parent or a teacher at the student’s school. Each student will be given a cell phone after arriving, and will have the contact number for the AFS-Ghana office. In the case of emergency, a Duty Officer is on-call 24/7 in both Ghana and the U.S., and this number is made available to both students on-program as well as their parents.
Numerous cultural excursions will be offered to students to give them the opportunity to see the varying geographical and cultural regions of the country. Excursions to northern regions will include trips to Tamale, Dalun, Kumasi and Kintampo. Students will also be offered the chance to explore the southern regions of Ghana outside of Accra with trips to Kakum National Park and the Cape Coast and Elmina castles.
Students hosted in Ghana will attend public secondary schools that can be either single sex or co-educational. The language of instruction is English. In addition to regular schooling, students will be offered introductory language courses in one regional Ghanaian language upon arrival, and will continue classes with a language instructor for two hours per week for the remainder of the program. To supplement the core educational curriculum, students will be offered a variety of extracurricular activities, including lessons in drumming, traditional dance, batik tie-dye and Kente weaving.
The Political and Security Environment
The U.S. enjoys good relations with Ghana and is one of its main trading partners. Ghana is an active member in organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In 1961, Ghana was the first country to accept U.S. Peace Corps volunteers and it remains one of its largest programs. In comparison to other African countries, Ghana’s industry is quite advanced, and is working towards one of its Millennium Development goals: halving extreme poverty by 2015. Ghana’s democracy has been an example to other African nations since she returned to democratic rule in 1993.
Basic Eligibility Requirements:
A limited number of applicants who are high school graduates at the start of the program will be considered for placement in the following countries: Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, South Africa, Oman, Thailand and Turkey
For the following countries, prior French skills are required: Mali, Morocco, Tunisia
Additional Eligibility Information:
The Youth Programs Division of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) seeks to make youth exchange programs funded by ECA available to a wide and diverse American audience. Also, ECA wants to prevent conflict of interest issues from arising with regard to Department employees who are involved in particular scholarships and exchange programs. Therefore, in addition to the specific requirements for each program, an applicant for ECA-funded youth exchange programs must meet the following eligibility criteria:
Click here for more information about applying to the YES Abroad program.
Studying abroad in high school can benefit your child in a multitude of ways. The decision to allow your child to participate can be difficult. There are numerous factors to consider when deciding whether or not YES Abroad is the right choice for your child. We compiled the information below to help answer some of the questions you may have. For further information, e-mail the YES Abroad Advisor or call us at (800) 237-4636 x2151.
Who will support my child while abroad?
YES Abroad participants are supported in the host country by established and reputable organizations that have competitively been awarded grants by the U.S. State Department to implement the program. While organizational structures vary, field staff and/or trained volunteers in the host country and here in the U.S. support participants, host families, and natural parents. While on the program, your child will have regular contact with a trained coordinator in their community who will provide support, assistance, and guidance, and will be in regular contact with a staff member here in the United States. All YES Abroad students are provided a local cell phone for emergency use after arrival in-country.
As a parent, how can I help promote the well-being of my child?
One of the ways you can help YES Abroad plan for your child’s successful participation in the program is by providing all relevant information regarding your child’s personal health and family history in the forms provided in the application. This information will not be evaluated as part of the selection process, but is considered in making country and host family assignments. Relevant information includes, but is not limited to, a diagnosis of or treatment for an illness, a physical disability, a learning disability, a behavioral or emotional disorder, a dietary restriction, or drastic changes in weight. Recent traumatic experiences or significant changes in the student’s natural family, including serious illness, death, divorce, incarceration, or custodial changes, can also influence a student’s participation. Living and studying abroad can be a stressful and challenging experience for people of any age. These stresses can be compounded by any existing physical or mental health issues or concerns at home that arise prior to the start of the program. In order to help YES Abroad staff make appropriate decisions about your child’s experience, please inform us of relevant situations as quickly as possible throughout the application process and program.
What is the involvement of the U.S. Department of State and embassies abroad?
YES Abroad is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Communities where YES Abroad students will be hosted are selected in cooperation with the U.S. Embassies and Consulates in the host countries. The Department of State and implementing organizations continuously monitor current events in each of the YES Abroad countries. All YES Abroad students are registered with the Office of Citizen Services at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the host country. Students will only be placed in countries that have been approved by the U.S. Department of State.
Where will my child be living?
All YES Abroad students live with host families who have been carefully screened and selected. Host families receive formal orientation and training to introduce them to cultural differences and to prepare them for the hosting experience. These families may or may not speak English. Local coordinators, who are proficient in English, provide support to participants and host families throughout the program. Students attend a school in their community alongside local peers.
What happens in the case of an emergency?
YES Abroad implementing organizations are prepared to respond to emergencies in the host countries. Each organization provides 24-hour assistance in the event of an emergency and facilitates appropriate medical treatment, including evacuation, if necessary. YES Abroad consults with the U.S. Department of State and external risk management organizations to monitor the safety of U.S. citizens in the host countries.
Will my child have medical coverage while abroad?
YES Abroad participants are provided with secondary medical coverage to ensure that, in the case of an emergency, students will be treated as soon as possible in the host country.
What costs are covered?
The YES Abroad scholarship covers costs related to: room and board for the In-Person Selection Event (for semi-finalists); round-trip airfare, room and board for the Pre-Departure Orientation (for finalists); round-trip airfare between the participant’s home region and community abroad (for finalists); in-country support; cultural activities; school tuition (where applicable); room and board with a host family; secondary medical benefits; and visa fees.
What costs are not covered by the scholarship?
Some costs that you can expect to incur from your child’s participation in the program include: costs associated with obtaining a U.S. passport; required medical examinations and immunizations; and extra pocket money while on program.
How will YES Abroad help my child prepare to go abroad?
YES Abroad provides a wide variety of support mechanisms for students preparing to go abroad. Preparation for the YES Abroad experience begins shortly after the finalists are selected, with activities that may include online resources, handbooks, conference calls, opportunities to speak with YES Abroad and YES alumni, and local events with other exchange students. Participants are also encouraged to be proactive in engaging in their own research on the host country and its culture. Prior to departure, students attend a national orientation in Washington, D.C. that addresses how to stay healthy and safe while living in the host country.