Ghana's Business of Doing Good: Social Startups & Public Affairs
Learn how public policy and social enterprises are shaping Ghana into one of West Africa’s most stable emerging markets.
Located only a few degrees above the equator, Ghana is known for its lush forests, exotic animals, and secluded beaches. Over winter break, travel to Ghana to visit Accra, Kumasi, Senchi-Ferry, Elmina/Cape Coast, and areas near Accra, the capital city. Accra is situated along the Atlantic Ocean and is home to a colorful coastline, bustling markets, and lively nightlife. Develop a deeper understanding of social life and culture in Ghana by engaging with local professionals and organizations.
Housing & Meals
Stay in shared housing with other program participants. A welcome and farewell meal as well as some additional meals are included in the program fee.
Excursions in Accra may include:
- Center for National Culture
- Aburi Botanical Gardens and Market
- Makola Market
- Ashesi University—which is a leader in undergraduate education in Africa whose mission is to educate ethical and entrepreneurial African leaders
- University of Ghana Legon—for lectures, workshops, and an intro to a Twi language course
- United States Embassy/USAID/PeaceCorps—learn about diplomacy and development projects in Ghana
- Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farms and the Aburi wood carving Village
- Various meetings with social entrepreneurs to be integrated through the seminar
Excursions in Cape Coast may include:
- Assin Manso Slave River with a guided tour and lecture on the significance during the transatlantic slave trade
- Elmina Castle and Museum—learn the history of Cape Coast and Elmina as trading lodges, headquarters of British colonial government, and use as a storage for enslaved people before they were transported across the Atlantic Ocean during the transatlantic slave trade
- Kakum National Park
- Elmina Township Tour
- Global Mommas visit with workshops and mini service project
- A beach day
Excursions in Kumasi may include:
- Manhyia Palace Museum
- Central Market (largest open-air market in West Africa)
- Ntonso Adinkra Village
- Bonwire Kente Village
- Assin Manso Slave River
- Lecture on Traditional Governance
- Visit to a Social Enterprise
- Visit to a policy oriented organization/office
Excursions in Senchi Ferry may include:
- Akosombo—learn about how technological development affects the social infrastructure of this township
- Royal Senchi visit & cruise Volta Lake
- A heritage tour to the Akwamufie Bogyawe Palace, the Traditional seat of Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III
- Visit the Akwamu Palace Museum
- Visit with Ghana Scholarship Fund and presentation from youth—the Ghana Scholarship fund is a US-based nonprofit that provides funding for high school and university-level education for rural Ghanaians.
All program participants will take the coordinated group flight to and from the program site. The cost of the group flight is included in the program fee that will be posted to your student account. Do not book your own flight; you will receive information from the Learning Abroad Center about your seat on the group flight once your participation has been confirmed.
- Develop independence by challenging yourself in a new environment
- Function as an effective team member by utilizing your personal strengths in a group setting
- Explore a specific topic through experiential and interdisciplinary approaches
Faculty & Staff
This Global Seminar will be led by Simone Gbolo, M.A., M.Ed, the National Director of the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Program, a national nonprofit organization that promotes the inclusion and full participation of underrepresented groups in public service.
One 3-credit course
Global Seminars are 3-week study abroad programs led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff that feature:
- Intensive learning in a location that illuminates the topic
- Small groups of 15–25 students
- No prerequisites or language requirements
- Included excursions and cultural activities
- Instruction in English
Through lectures, panels, site visits, and excursions with speakers from a variety of institutions in Ghana, learn about Ghana's history, culture, and social life and gain an awareness of its social entrepreneur sector.
While abroad, you will maintain an academic journal to regularly reflect on your experiences. Participate in group discussions, complete required readings, prepare for field visits and guest speakers, and conduct mini service projects in a rural and urban community. Write reflective papers on the experiential components of the course.
Receive Credit for: PA 3852 (undergraduate students) or PA 5880 (graduate students)
Liberal Education Fulfillments: Global Perspectives, Social Sciences
Approved for upper division elective credit in the Public and Nonprofit Management Co-Major
Approved for elective credit in the Entrepreneurship major and minor
Approved as an International Business Depth course within the International Business major
Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:
|Program Term||Program Dates||Application Deadline|
|Winter Break 2021-2022||December 26, 2021 - January 17, 2022||October 15, 2021|
Program dates are subject to change.
If the deadline falls on a weekend, submit your materials on the following business day.
Important Note: Enrollment on this program is limited to 25 students. Admission is granted on a rolling basis and applications are reviewed in the order they are completed. Some programs may fill to capacity prior to the application deadline, therefore applying early is recommended. Additionally, applying early will allow for more time to plan ahead and prepare for the program.
Orientation Dates & Locations
Orientation will be conducted in 2 parts: an online orientation, which is mandatory for all students, and an in-person, program-specific session. You will receive more information about the online orientation via email. Failure to complete the online orientation will impact your ability to go abroad.
See below for tentative dates and times for your in-person session. You will be notified of the official date and time via email. Participants will receive applicable orientation materials via email approximately 1 week prior to the in-person session.
|Winter Break 2021-2022||TBD||TBD|
Winter Break 2021–2022 Cost of Participation forthcoming
Program fees can vary widely due to location, cost of living, airfare, and program inclusions. The program fee generally includes tuition, group flight airfare, program administration, housing, some meals, international health insurance, entrances to course-related excursions and site visits, and local transportation. Generally, our program fees range between $5,500–$7,500. You must also budget for the required visa and Yellow Fever vaccination, passport and passport photos, some additional meals, textbooks, independent travel, and miscellaneous living expenses. Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required to enter Ghana.
If you do not see a budget estimate for the term you intend to go abroad, the fee has not yet been finalized. We strive to post fees for this program at least 30 days prior to the application deadline. The Learning Abroad Center will delay the posting of some fees until enrollments, inflation and exchange rates are determined. Note the average increase in fees will be 3–10%. Program fees are based on estimates and may change depending on international economic factors.
Billing & Payments
Visit Billing for information about the billing process for application fees, deposits, and program fees.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Visit Financial Information for information on using financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.
Bridging Loan, a no-interest/no-fees loan that funds the upfront deposit and flights costs, is available for this program for eligible students.
Before you apply to or confirm your participation on this program, review the Learning Abroad Center's Cancellation Policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling.
Be aware: Learning Abroad Center programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.
US Passport holders require a visa to study on this program. In order to obtain a visa, you must have a valid passport. Due to COVID-19, passport processing times are currently delayed. If you do not have a passport, or your passport expires less than 6 months after your return date from your time abroad, apply for a new passport now, and pay for expedited processing.
You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.
After you submit your application, you will receive an email notification confirming that your application was received. Submitted applications are assigned an application checklist, which will include the following items:
- Application Essay
Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you.
After your application checklist is complete, your application is reviewed by our program team. You will be notified of an acceptance decision by email. If accepted, you will be assigned a confirmation checklist, which you will complete to confirm your participation in the program. If you decide not to continue with the application process, log into the online application system and submit a Cancel Request.
For this program you will need to have your passport in order to file for the required visa for Ghana. We request that you have your passport in hand by October 15th, 2021. The Learning Abroad Center will then help you file for your visa around this time.
For further information or questions about this program, send an email to