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West African Dance Abroad

Study Abroad Program Overview

Come experience a summer in Ghana filled with energy, dance, and drumming. This program is designed to provide in-depth study of traditional West African and Neo-African music and dance. ​​Through instruction, movement and rhythm, experience the rich culture and welcoming community of Ghana.
Comprised of lectures, labs, guest speakers, film screenings, and field trips, students develop understanding of traditional and contemporary Ghana with a focus on the history and evolution of West African dance.

Learn more in a video from Professor Parker who will be leading this program.

Students attend classes with UC students only.

Language of Instruction


Language Study



​Go to the Participants section to see current or past calendars.

Summer :  
​mid-June to late July 









​Students will stay at the International Students Hostel (ISH) while in classes at the University of Ghana. During field visits, students will stay in local guest houses and hotels.
More information on housing.​

Extracurricular Activities

​The program includes visits to tourist attractions that may include the Kakum Rainforest and Canopy Walk, the slave castle dungeons, a beach resort, the Manhyia Palace (the seat of culture and history for the Ashanti Nation), Adomawase (makers of Kente cloth), Wli Waterfall (West Africa’s largest), and a monkey sanctuary. Students also engage in local cultural activities.

On-site Support

The UCEAP Study Center in Ghana will provide logistical and student support. ​ 

UCEAP students are supported by UC’s network of EAP offices at every UC campus and partnerships with UCEAP host universities throughout the world. A UCEAP Resident Director administers the EAP program with local staff. They help students integrate into the culture of Ghana and provide assistance with academics, housing, safety, and other issues.

​See the UCEAP Pr​ogram Guide for program-specific details about host institutions, program structure, and courses; academic culture and conduct; internships, research, independent study; units, exams, and grades; orientation; and housing.

Course Opportunities

UCEAP students enroll in two courses for this summer program:
  • West African Dance (lower-division, 4 UC quarter units): West African dance technique within the context of Ghanaian life and culture. Vigorous movement class with focus on rhythm, songs, and culture as well as dance choreographies traditionally performed for rites of passage, courtship, and other cultural occasions. Class emphasizes community building and individual potential.

  • Traditional African Music, Dance and the Contemporary Culture (upper-division, 6 UC quarter units): This course discusses traditional African Music and Dance as a social and cultural construct, including institutions, belief systems, economics, gender relations, education and historical context. The course also explores the various ways traditional African Music and Dance is utilized in the contemporary cinematic age, while stimulating dialogue on potential strategies for non-Modern, Neo-African choreographies. Often, when African dance is used in contemporary choreography it is infused with Modern techniques lending to a Euro-centric perspective. Neo-African is a term referring to postcolonial, decolonized (new) African perspectives where a Pan African or Afro-Centric approach is utilized. The course provides immersion into West African (Ghanaian) culture and allows for the exploration and experience of traditional and contemporary life through excursions in the country, allowing the students to focus on an Afro-centric ideology of dance.

The program includes course-related field trips that allow students to experience first-hand all that Ghana has to offer.

Use the following resources to learn more:
​The program leader for summer will be Clydean (Makeda Kumasi) Parker​ of the UC Riverside Dance Department. ​


10 quarter/6.7 semester UC units required; two courses. Letter grade required.​​

Internships, Research, and Independent Study

​Internships or independent study for academic credit are not possible in this program.

​University of Ghana, Legon (Accra)

University of Ghana, Legon (Accra) 
The University of Ghana (UG) is located ten miles northeast of Ghana’s capital Accra, the city which served as the site of President Barack Obama’s first visit to sub-Saharan Africa.

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These expenses are estimated for 2017-18. Actual amounts will vary due to potential changes to UC fees, exchange rate fluctuation, etc. For a more detailed breakdown of 2017-18 payment information, visit the Participants Portal and select the appropriate program. Estimates do not include non-resident supplemental tuition. If you are subject to out-of-state tuition at your UC campus, you will pay non-resident fees on UCEAP.
Here’s what is included in the estimate:
  • All pre-departure expenses related to visas
  • Round-trip airfare
  • UC fees
  • Airport meet and greet
  • On-site Orientation
  • Books and other materials
  • Accident and medical insurance
  • Automatic transfer of classes and grades to your UC transcript

While on UCEAP, you are covered by UC’s accident and medical insurance, including non-medical benefits, and 24/7 travel assistance anywhere in the world.​ 


UCEAP scholarships are available. Please visit our scholarships overview page for general information and details regarding eligibility requirements and application deadlines.​

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Application Information and Deadlines

Important: If you are planning to participate in back to back study abroad programs (with UCEAP or any other organization), you must notify your campus study abroad office. There are important things to consider when participating in consecutive programs, such as program dates and visa requirements. Not all program combinations are possible.

Application deadlines and information on the application process are available through your Campus EAP Office. Supplemental pre-departure materials will be required for many programs, including, but not limited to, host institution applications, visa and housing applications, medical clearances, etc.

For participation in the program, you must meet all deadlines and submit complete application materials.

These are minimum requirements. After selection by your UC Campus EAP Office, final admission is determined by UCEAP Systemwide Office.

Visit your Campus Study Abroad website for program-specific deadlines: