Service learning describes a learning experience wherein community service is paired with structured preparation and guided reflection. This active learning opportunity exposes students to real-world situations, allowing them to put knowledge into practice.
The Play and Learn Foundation believes strongly in active learning, and so we have made it a key feature to our Akoma Ntoaso Summer Exchange Program. During the course of the program, exchange students like you will undertake an accredited course in Service Learning through the University of Ghana.
This Service Learning course is provided by the University of Ghana’s Department of Social Work. The successful completion of this course is worth 3-credit hours, which may be transferred to your home university (if applicable).
Service Learning Lectures
Once you are in Ghana, you will attend Service Learning lectures on a weekly basis. These lectures will allow you to learn about, discuss, and explore the complexities of cross-cultural service and its role in Ghana. The course instructor will evaluate you on classroom participation and attendance. This evaluation will account for 20% of the final mark.
Every day, you will keep a field log detailing your efforts and experiences. This field log is an essential part of the educational process, and it is your space to personally and mindfully engage with your experiences. We encourage you to think critically, interrogate your feelings, ask questions, and articulate concerns as you write. These personal examinations can then contribute to more fruitful class discussions and, importantly, more engaged service work. Your field log will account for 40% of final marks.
Towards the close of the program, everyone will undertake an Integrative Project (IP) - an oral presentation and final paper in which you can summarize and evaluate your own progress. The IP is the pinnacle of the program’s academic experience and accounts for 20% of the final mark. Supervisor evaluations of individual students’ performance make up the other 20% of the final marks.
The Akoma Ntoaso Summer Exchange Program combines classroom learning and personal self-reflection with actual community service experience. This means that, beyond attending lectures and writing reflections, you will be serving the community daily as part of your field work. In addition, you will take part in a community service project whose product will provide tangible and permanent benefits to our community. Every year has a different project. Read on to learn more!
Supporting the Foundation
The Akoma Ntoaso program is structured so that your learning doesn’t end when class gets out. Instead, you will apply what you learn every day by participating in fieldwork that supports PAL’s operations. These activities include:
Building the University Staff Basic School Playground
All children should have the right to play and to play safely! The Play and Learn Foundation believes that play is essential (the word is in our name after all). We want to expand the right to play within the community with your help. For the 2021 Akoma Ntoaso Community Service Project, you will help build a new playground for the kindergarten class at University Staff Basic School. This project will involve some hard work, but the result will be a more colorful, kid-friendly, and enjoyable space for the young children to grow and learn for years to come!
Cultural Immersion and Exploration
Experience Ghanaian Culture
No summer exchange program is complete without cultural exploration! The Akoma Ntoaso program offers exchange students like you the opportunity to get a taste of the many cultures of Ghana through dance, cuisine, and travel.
Throughout the program, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the community we serve through your Service Learning lectures and community service work. Additionally, you can build friendships with and learn from our ‘PALs’ at the University of Ghana - young people and students who help exchange students adjust to and explore Ghana.
Travel and Exploration
The Akoma Ntoaso Program includes two weekend travel experiences as well as day-trips. These trips will give you a glimpse of Ghana’s lush, varied geography and a chance to learn about the many different cultures and people therein. Locations include:
Tour of Accra
Kewunor community, Ada
Nzulezu, the “Village on Stilts"
Cape Coast Castle
Food and Fun
Food is a wonderful way to experience culture! During the program, you will learn how to cook a traditional Ghanaian meal with the families of the children we serve. In the evenings, we will take you on exciting excursions in the city, such as trivia night at Champs Bar, salsa night at Afrikiko, and karaoke at The Honeysuckle.
Learning through Movement
We will provide weekly dance lessons with a Ghanaian dance instructor. You will learn both traditional and popular Ghanaian dances and how they relate to Ghana’s cultural context. You can then show what you have learned during weekly dance sessions with the children.
The Play & Learn Foundation works to empower Ghanaian youth through a combination of academics, athletics, mentorship, and community contribution to develop the skills needed to become leaders in their local and global communities.