Study Abroad Student Handbook
Ghana Ghana
Center for Global Education

Why Learn a Language?

Commonly regarded by anthropologists and historians as the birthplace of mankind, Africa is a land of ancient beauty and intense contradictions. Its cultures have remained distinct despite the smoothing effects of time and, as a result, Africa has become one of the most diverse and culturally rich continents on earth. Nowhere is this diversity more exemplified than by its broad linguistic tradition, which spans over 2500 languages in only 55 countries. Although having to choose from so many languages may seem daunting, choosing one to learn from an area that interests you can be extremely rewarding. It can allow you to delve more deeply into the people and culture with whom and in which you will be studying.

The Bureau of Ghana was established in 1951 and, in an effort to embrace all of its native cultures, the government officially recognized the presence of 9 languages in the country. This list includes: Akan, Ewe, Dagomba(Dagbani), Dangme, Dagaare, Ga, Nzema, Gonja, and Kasem. Each of these is part of the Niger-Congo family of languages spoken throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa. Although the British colonization of Ghana has resulted in English becoming the country's official language, approximately 70% of Ghana's population of over 24 million speaks one of the Niger-Congo native languages.

The ability to speak an African language and gain a deeper insight into Ghanaian culture by studying abroad in Ghana will enhance a student’s resume for future academic and professional endeavors. Total immersion also makes you more marketable in the job world, even on an international level. After learning an African language, you have a unique advantage—an edge—above other job candidates since you have broadened your communication skills beyond just the English-speaking world.

Aside from the job world, you may also use the African language class credits you earned while abroad to add a major or minor back at your home campus. Each program has its own specific language level requirements. Requirements range from no prior language instruction in an African language, to the highest language level, which is nearly bilingual. Check to see what prior level of language skill your program requires so that you can start or continue learning the language in the U.S.

Read on – Why Study Abroad and find answers how study abroad can affect your personal growth and career path.

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