Learning Abroad Center
Students play on traditional African drums while African children watch

Music, Play, & Special Education in Ghana

Africa & Middle East
LAC Program

Interact, listen, and observe while learning about the importance of the arts in Ghana’s education system.

Program Details

Accra & Cape Coast, Ghana
May Session
Languages Taught In
Languages Taught In

Program Eligibility

Student Type
Student Type
UofM Students
Non UofM Students
Student Year
Student Year
Graduate Students


In Ghana, music, dance, and drama are often expressed as integrated arts. They offer an essential avenue for experiencing and thinking about other cultures. On this program, you’ll participate in local music traditions, interact with children with disabilities, and observe arts practice in special education in a primary teaching and community center.

Course Description

The course provides an overview of educational policies on inclusion and working with children with disabilities in Ghana. You’ll compare how Ghana and the United States have included students with disabilities in the arts and what role integration has played in their literacy development.

In this course, you will:

  • Observe, participate in concerts, and write a review of concerts and special education programs
  • Play singing games with children at specific sites
  • Critically question and challenge definitions of play, creative arts, and special education
  • Describe and analyze creative arts in specific site-related contexts
  • Bring international perspectives to the creative arts
  • Practice and discuss observation and interview skills
  • Keep a journal of observations and interviews
  • Develop and participate in a joint field exploration
  • Read and critically discuss the scholarly literature on the creative arts
  • Have fun and be transformed

Program Model

Experiential Learning
Global Seminar

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.


This program will be based primarily in Accra and Cape Coast. Excursions and activities may include:

  • Visiting the National Museum of Ghana
  • Attending shows at the National Theatre or National Cultural Center for Play
  • Exploring Makola Market
  • Observations and engagement at a local primary school
  • Attending music performances
  • Visiting Kakum National Park Village
  • Visiting Elmina Castle
  • Learning a traditional dance


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.

Faculty & Staff

This Global Seminar is led by Akosua Addo, Associate Professor in Music, College of Liberal Arts.

Program Structure

Program Level
3000-level coursework

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


You’ll be assessed through a variety of assignments, participation in class and reflection circles, and a final project and presentation.

This course can be tied to Sustainable Development Goal #4, Quality Education.

This project focuses on school children who experience economic disadvantages or are neurodivergent concerning their learning at school and beyond. Working with internationally acclaimed Ghanaian musicians, as well as educators that work at schools with a special needs focus, this course will explore literacy through playful learning. The goal is to develop sustained relationships with local schools and centers supporting students with this focus.

Receive credit for: MUED 4xxx(undergraduate) or MUED 5xxx (graduate)

Academic Registration

Confirmed students will be registered for their course by the Learning Abroad Center once registration opens for your term abroad. Make sure you have no holds that would prevent registration.

If you haven't already, communicate with your academic adviser(s) as applicable to review the course for your major, minor, or college requirements. University of Minnesota students should use the Academic Planning Form (PDF), located on your confirmation checklist.

Dates Details

Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:

TermProgram DatesPriority Application DeadlineFinal Application Deadline
May Session 2024May 11–June 3, 2024February 1, 2024March 1, 2024

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.

Information Sessions

Join in-person or over Zoom. Register and learn more about this and other events on our events page.

Thurs., Dec. 1412:30 p.m.Hybrid (Hubert Humphrey 289 or Zoom)
Wed., Dec. 2012:00 p.m.Online (register for Zoom link)

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.

Term AbroadDate/TimeLocation
May session 2024TBDTBD


Winter Break 2024 Cost of Participation forthcoming

The cost of participation includes educational costs, group flight airfare, program administration, housing, some meals, international health insurance, entrances to course-related excursions and site visits, and local transportation. Program fees can vary widely due to location, cost of living, and program inclusions. Generally, program fees range between $7,000–$8,000. You must also budget for visa, airfare, passport and passport photos, meals not included, spending money, and miscellaneous living expenses.

Recent increases in international airfare and accommodation costs have impacted all instructor-led program fees. The LAC strives to follow best practices to provide the lowest cost program while ensuring a quality academic experience.

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

Bridging Loan, a no-interest/no-fees loan that funds the upfront deposit and flights costs, is available for this program for eligible students.

Cancellation Policy

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. Current US passport processing times are longer than normal. 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.

COVID-19 Information

A COVID-19 vaccine & booster and negative COVID test before departure (own expense) may be required on arrival in country or at various venues in this location (based on current government and local policies). This may change before departure.

Participants are expected to follow local and governmental COVID-19 guidelines and requirements while abroad. Visit the CDC International Travel website and the LAC COVID Policies page for updated information.

US Consulate in Ghana COVID-19 Information site (current updates on entry/exit and local requirements).

More information can be provided during advising sessions and pre-departure orientation with the program contact in the LAC.


The COVID-19 vaccine series is strongly recommended, pursuant to CDC guidelines, but not required for participation in this program.

You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.

Apply Now


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.

Next Steps

  1. After you complete all required application checklist items, you will receive an automated email message indicating your application is ready to be reviewed.
  2. Your completed application will be reviewed by the Learning Abroad Center.
  3. If admitted, the Confirmation & Payment Agreement form will be added to your checklist. Complete this form to secure your spot on the program. By submitting the form, you also give your approval for the program deposit to be billed to your UofM student account.
  4. Complete the confirmation checklist, which include the following items in additional to program-specific forms:
    • Passport Information
    • Emergency Contacts
    • Health Information Form
    • Online Health & Safety Orientation
    • Release & Waiver
  5. You will receive information about additional steps from the sponsoring college/department.

After You Apply

Before your program begins, review these resources.

Health & Safety

Learn more about staying healthy and safe abroad, including mental health and wellness, international travel insurance, and safety precautions.

Power of Attorney

Consider designating someone as your power of attorney to act as your legal representative while you’re abroad.

Student Identity

Consult our resources on student identities as you prepare for your abroad experience.

Travel Resources

Ready to go abroad? Our travel resources will help you pack and learn what to expect.

Program Contact

For further information or questions about this program, send an email to Lindsey Lahr or call at 612.625.9370

Kate Meyer or call at 612.626.7535