Ghana may become study abroad destination

A study abroad program that will include field trips, hiking to waterfalls, traveling to historic sites and studying at a West African university is in the works, a university professor said.

Komla Aggor, professor of Spanish and program director of the trip, said he knew when he came to the university two years ago that he wanted to establish a study abroad program in Ghana to expose students to culture that are often misunderstood or misrepresented.

Darren Middleton, associate professor of religion and assistant director of the program, said he hopes students will take advantage of the opportunity to travel to Africa.

Middleton said he is involved with the program because he has been to Ghana and written about religion in the area.

“Ghana has quite the enviable reputation of being one of the most stable economies and most democratic countries in Africa,” Middleton said.

Middleton said he and Aggor hope to generate enough student interest to fund the three-week program for the summer of 2010.

Aggor said he participated in two previous study abroad programs in Ghana while working at John Carroll University in Ohio, and that the student response there was positive.

He said the program “Understanding West Africa: Ghana” will expose students to the theological background and culture of the West African country.

In addition to field trips around the region, students will hear lectures from top professors at the University of Ghana.

Aggor said students will visit slave forts because the sites are some of the most historic in the country and send a powerful message.

Aggor said TCU professors will not teach classes in Ghana but will facilitate discussions after the seminars to discuss what the students learned.

He said the lectures would include topics on human and cultural ecology, slavery, women’s roles in society and the political development in the region.

Aggor said student accommodations will be provided by the University of Ghana in Accra, the country’s capital, and that he and Middleton hope to take around 10 students. Aggor said the program will be open to all students.

“Today education is not just in the classroom, and students genuinely want to do more hands-on things to learn about the world that surrounds them,” Aggor said.

Raymond Khoury, a freshman prebusiness major, said studying abroad is a great opportunity to see another part of the world.

“Because French is a language they use over there in some parts and I’m studying it, I would strongly consider studying abroad in Ghana,” Khoury said.