Tennessee Tech students and faculty explore Ghana, West Africa

Tech students at Black Star Square in Ghana, West Africa.
Tennessee Tech students and faculty are pictured at Ghana's Black Star Square. From left: Gwenevera Acebedo, Kylee Hancock, Alex Miller, Natalie Schuch, Cale Koester, Kate McDonald, Tyree Cripps, Reina Coffee, Mara Morgan, Lysset Franco and Queen Ogbomo.

In May, Tennessee Tech University students and faculty embarked on a study abroad program to Ghana, West Africa led by the Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s Cale Koester, a senior lecturer, and Associate Professor Queen Ogbomo.

The students, representing a variety of majors, from elementary and secondary education, exercise science, and music to graduate programs, were immersed in a myriad of opportunities for service learning and cultural studies. 

The two-week excursion included working with a village school where Tech students offered interactive lessons, reading activities, and presentations. The students, supported by donations from faculty, staff, and the community, also provided the school’s library with reference and story books, assisted with their teaching lab, and band equipment repairs.

“For me, the most exciting part of the trip was seeing our students adjusting to the cultural differences, teaching and interacting with the students and educators of the village school,” said Ogbomo.

Students joined in studies at the Dagbe Cultural Institute & Arts Center, including education in drumming, dance, singing, kente weaving, basket making, local traditions, cuisine, social issues, and more. The music-focused students worked intensively to learn a traditional Ewe drumming piece to be performed by Tech’s Ghanaian drumming ensemble. Dagbe staff also provided tours of the area to teach Tech students about life in a rural West African village. 

In addition to time in the village, the group spent time in Accra, the capital. They visited Black Star Square, the National Museum of Ghana, the Jamestown Lighthouse, the Accra Arts Centre, and the Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop.

“The trip provided a dynamic collection of educational and cultural experiences, allowing the students to experience the contrast between interconnected village life in rural areas and the vibrant bustle of the capital city,” said Koester. “They were very insightful in drawing not only distinctions, but universal similarities, to their lives in America. Our students showed determination, resilience, and enthusiasm throughout this service-learning experience and we are proud of how they represented Tennessee Tech,” he added.

For more information about Tech’s College of Education and the university’s study abroad programs, please email or call 931-372-3124.

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