Ramapo Offers Summer Study Abroad Program to Ghana

Photo courtesy of Amanda VanLoenen

Next summer, Ramapo will be sponsoring a study abroad program in Sub-Saharan Africa entitled “Ghana: Public Health in West Africa”  in partnership with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, or KNUST, in Kumasi, Ghana. The program will run from May 14 to May 29. Open to students who have an interest in healthcare or social sciences, as well as non-nursing majors, the program is an opportunity to experience different healthcare environments, while gaining an introduction to Ghanaian cultures.

“Ghana and its people offer a wonderful opportunity to experience a rich cultural fabric in a welcoming, dynamic setting,” Ramapo President Peter Mercer said. “KNUST is a comprehensive university with strong programs and facilities; I recommend it heartily.”

The program, led by Ramapo professor Elaine Patterson and Assistant Dean of Nursing Kathy Burke, is in keeping with the College’s mission of international education, intercultural understanding and experiential learning. Students will be exposed to how the politics, history, culture and economics of Ghana have an influence on the country’s own healthcare. Students will also have a chance to interact with members of the local and international healthcare communities, as well as Ghanaian students and academicians.

“The clinical work in public health in the environs of Kumasi is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all healthcare students,” Burke said. “Culturally, Ghana is rich in experiences that give students a broader understanding of the history of the slave trade.”

Prior to departing from the U.S., participants will attend a two-hour orientation session, along with fifteen hours of online instruction. A Ghanaian nurse will provide students with background on Ghana’s politics, healthcare, recent history and infrastructure. Standards of behavior and proper protocol will also be discussed.

While in Ghana, students will reside in and visit three main locations: Kumasi, Cape Coast and Accra. Features of the program include guided tours and excursions to a variety of places, such as the Boabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, Kintampo Waterfalls, Elmina Castle and Kakum Park.

“Being a nurse for two years now, I can see the importance of how my international experiences during college have enhanced my experience as a nurse,” said Jennifer Alfonso, a Ramapo alumna and registered nurse at The Valley Hospital. “I’m usually the go-to resource on my unit when we have patients with English as their second language. Learning about different countries and cultures has made me a more culturally competent nurse.”

At the end of the course, students will have the ability to draw comparisons between American and Ghanaian cultures, analyze Ghana’s specific health needs and understand the differences between the healthcare systems and practices between their own country and that of Ghana.

“Traveling to Africa and experiencing the varied cultures within the continent is invaluable. The warmth of the people and climate is exceptional, as is the exposure to all the cultural differences. A trip to Sub-Saharan Africa is a life changing experience,” Burke said.

The cost of the program is $4,750 for New Jersey residents and $5,825 for non-New Jersey residents. The price includes tuition fees for four credits, round-trip airfare from New York to Ghana, lodging, entrance fees, field trips, international health insurance, orientation, an Immigration Entry Visa, preparatory and administrative costs and most meals. The deadline to apply for the program is March 1, 2017. Generous scholarships are available.

For more information, students can contact the Roukema Center in ASB-123, or visit ramapo.edu/international.