Dialogue of Civilizations to Ghana: Education and Learning is a short term, faculty-led study abroad experience where students learn about the Ghanaian educational system at all levels, including primary, junior high school, high school, special needs schools, institutions of higher education, as well as professional schools. Students also visit the American Embassy in Ghana and the United Nations while gaining an understanding of the similarities and differences between education in Ghana and the United States by interacting with students, making presentations, and attending lectures, and performing service learning projects.
Service learning is a crucial aspect of a Northeastern education. It is a form of experiential learning involving partnerships between faculty-led academic courses and community-based organizations where students engage in hands-on service roles and address the needs/interests identified by our community partners.
Our service learning activities take place both before departure and after arrival. One of our main pre-departure activities involves raising money to purchase three braillers for the School for the Blind. The harsh reality is that students often do not have the means to purchase the supplies they need to learn how to read and write in braille.
Though the braillers are the main focus of this Catalyst project, other pre-departure fundraising activities involve raising money to purchase a 12 passenger van for a special needs school, collecting school books, and soliciting donations of soccer equipment for Ghanaian orphans. We will also be donating computers to Basic Education School for their computer room, which currently has none.
Our in-country service-learning experiences involve reading to primary school students, making presentations to junior and high school students, and assisting with facility improvements such as painting buildings or rooms.
This project supports Northeastern University’s service learning mission “to integrate classroom and community goals through transformative service partnerships that enrich the academic experience, inspire lifelong community engagement, and strengthen our local and global communities.” By participating in a global service learning experience, students receive the benefits of a traditional study abroad experience while learning cross-cultural collaboration skills, flexibility, learning to understand different work and learning styles, and the ability to communicate effectively. A recent study found that ninety-seven percent of students who participated in study abroad experiences found jobs within twelve months of graduating, versus 49% of those who did not. Further, those who participated in study abroad earned 25% more than their peers and were found to possess more of what employers refer to as “transversal skills,” such as creativity and critical thinking. Immersing ourselves in Ghanaian culture, learning about their education system, and helping meet their community needs are experiences of a lifetime. We appreciate your support of this project and for helping us make the most out of our Northeastern experience.
Our initial goal is to raise $2,475 via Catalyst. This money will go toward purchasing three Perkins Braillers and cases which will be used as part of our group's service-learning portion of the trip to the School for the Blind in Ghana.
The Dialogue of Civilizations: Education and Learning in Ghana is a short-term faculty led study abroad experience to Ghana, West Africa. Students are enrolled in two courses: Education and Learning in Ghana and International Perspectives on Student Services and Higher Education Administration –Ghana. Part of their plan of study are pre-departure service-learning experiences which involve fundraising efforts for students attending school in Ghana, and while visiting the country teaching, reading, and interaction with primary to high school student as well as those in schools for students with disabilities.