Decolonizing Development: Perspectives from Ghana

Explore the legacy and consequences of colonialism in Ghana.


Ghana is a country that continues to develop from its pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial experiences.  While the south has historically been positioned to develop more socio­economically through government training of civil servants and employees to run resource companies, the north was viewed as the country’s source of manual labour. The program will view development research and practice through a post-colonial and development ethics lens.  On this trip, Dr. Yembilah, a native Ghanaian, will lead on development discourse and practice within the complex local nuance, and Dr. Godley will lead on development discourse and practice filtered through the lens of research ethics.


You will be travelling to Ghana’s Greater Accra region, Upper West Region and Bono Region. There will also be academic and recreational stops at the Mole National Park in the Savanna Region and the Elmina slave-holding dungeon in Elmina in the Central region. Visits to monuments of national significance will take place in Accra. Activities include collaboration with two universities in Ghana including an ethics training with one and a mini-conference with local Ghanaians with the other university.

To hear more about this amazing program, please check out the link to the UCalgary News article on this program.

Key information






Spring 2023

Program type

Group Study

Application information

Application status


Application deadline

postponed to 2024

Additional requirements

This program is open to students from all majors. See eligibility and selection criteria below. 


Info sessions

Sessions cancelled

Student Experience

Ghana Gimpa Class
image of students at waterfall

Have questions?

For program information, please contact Dr. Rita Yembilah at and Dr. Jenny Godley at  

For application and registration support, please contact the Group Study Team at

Other useful links:

Program details

Registration in all four courses is required.

Questions about these courses should be directed to the program instructors.

Please note: course descriptions are tentative and subject to change.

  1. Courses offered

    Students on this program are required to enroll in four courses:

    SOCI 401: Global Research Ethics (3 credits)

    DEST 401: Selected Topics in Development Studies (3 credits)

    DEST 501: Research in Selected Topics (3 credits)

    ANTH 541: Field Study in Social and Cultural Anthropology (3 credits)

  2. Prerequisites

    SOCI 401: Consent of Department, SOCI313 or One Research Methods course any Department/Faculty

    DEST 401: Consent of the Department

    DEST 501: Consent of the Department; One Research Methods course any Department/Faculty

    ANTH 541: Consent of the Department


  1. Pre-departure

    May 8-12, Calgary: Mandatory on campus pre-travel academic sessions

    TBD, Calgary: Mandatory travel clinic

    TBD, Calgary: Mandatory first aid

    TBD, Calgary: Mandatory pre-departure orientation facilitated by Group Study Programs

  2. In-field

    May 16-18: Depart Calgary for Accra

    May 18-19: Accra

    May 20-26: Wa, Ethics Training at UBIDS

    May 27-31: Mole region, Safari at Mole National Park on May 28

    June 1-9: Sunyani-Fiapre

    June 10-11: Accra

    June 12: Cape Coast/ Elmina

    June 13: Accra

    June 14: Depart Accra for Calgary or independent travel

    June 15: Arrive in Calgary

    Click here for detailed itinerary.

  3. Post-field

    Date TBD, Calgary: Final Papers due

  1. Costs

    The estimated cost of the Decolonizing Development Group Study Program is $9472. This includes tuition, airfare, field trips, local transportation, accommodations and meals. 

     For the full cost breakdown and payment deadlines, please see the program Student Cost Summary.

    Important information regarding deposit payments: Deposits are non-refundable. Deposits secure your space in the program and allows payment for logistical arrangements to be made in advance.


  2. Funding

    International Study Travel Grant: Students studying abroad may be eligible for the University of Calgary's International Study Travel Grant. For more information on eligibility, application details and deadlines please click here.

    Faculty of Arts Group Study Program (GSP) Scholarships (for GSP participants) and Faculty of Arts Student Study Abroad Scholarships (for other international programs) - up to 10 awards of $1000 each! Application not currently open. Details to come. 

    Development Studies Program Specific Funding: For more information on fudning opportunities specifically for Development Studies students, please contact Monika Davison at 

    Student loans: If you qualify for student loans, your program should qualify. We are able to provide you with a letter confirming your participation in the program for funding purposes. Please email to request a letter.

    Please note that eligibility for student loans is determined by your loans provider. 

    Click here for more info on funding opportunities!

Students will stay in clean, comfortable, simple accommodations, and will be sought in standard middle range hotels and guesthouses throughout Ghana.  All of these are secure and safe establishments approved by the Ghana National Tourist Board. As for food, a variety of options for vegetarian and gluten-free diets will be available. Vegetables are frequently used in dishes, but are usually cooked rather than fresh. Nuts are also commonly used in cooking. If you have severe allergies or restrictions on what type of food you can eat, please consult with the program instructor at the time of application. 

This program is open to undergraduate students in good academic standing from all faculties.



  1. Statement of Purpose

    Please tell us why you want to study abroad, why you have selected this particular program (academic reasons, personal interest, career prospects, etc.), how this program will meet your academic objectives and/or complement your degree, how you plan to finance your program and why you should be selected.

    The Statement of Purpose is submitted within your online application (max 500 words).

    Note: Because the online application will time out after one hour, we recommend that you compose your statement of purpose in advance in Word to check for spelling, grammar and word count, and then paste it into the online application.

  2. Unofficial Transcript

    1. Download an unofficial transcript from your Student Centre. Click here for a step-by-step guide to access your unofficial transcript.
    2. Submit your transcript through your online application with your statement of purpose. 
  3. Meet with professor

    The professors would like to meet with applicants as part of the application process. Once the global learning office has received your application, we will pass your contact information to the professors so a short meeting can be arranged with one of them. We encourage you to apply and arrange your meeting before the November 15 deadline if possible.

Please ensure that you have read the Group Study Program General FAQs thoroughly before applying.


Program-Specific FAQs

Q: What kind of accommodation and food can I expect? 

A: Accommodation will be sought in standard middle range hotels and guesthouses throughout Ghana.  All of these are secure and safe establishments approved by the Ghana National Tourist Board. As for food, a variety of options for vegetarian and gluten-free diets will be available. Vegetables are frequently used in dishes, but are usually cooked rather than fresh. Nuts are also commonly used in cooking. If you have severe allergies or restrictions on what type of food you can eat, please consult with the program instructor at the time of application. 

Q: What is the current political situation in Ghana?

A: The political situation in Ghana is stable and there is civil order. However, police checkpoints are routine along certain roads. Vehicles and passengers may be subject to inspection. Photographs of certain sensitive installations, such as airports, military facilities, and the seat of government including Christianbourg Castle and Flastaff house, are not allowed. Civilians are prohibited from using military-like clothing, such as camouflage fatigues. Students will be briefed on these matters during the orientation programs and with continue reminders in the field. During the pre-departure and in-country orientations, students will be given the latest briefing on the political situation in the country: how to avoid problems and what protocols, emergency and otherwise.


Please note that the laws of Ghana prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex and homosexuality is generally not socially tolerated. While the University of Calgary upholds the values of diversity and inclusivity and does not condone such laws, it is our responsibility to ensure that all students travelling to Ghana are aware of these laws and have the necessary information to protect their safety. We recommend that students who identify as members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community exercise caution when considering international study to Ghana, as the safety and well-being of our students is our highest priority.

If you would like to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have regarding travelling to this country, please feel free to reach out to your global learning advisor at or to Rita Yembilah, at

For more information on the Government of Canada’s travel advice for LGBTQIA2S+ people, please feel free to visit the following site:

After finishing my third year I was feeling unexcited about learning and just wanted to graduate as fast as I could. Being able to do field research got me excited about learning again because I was able to see the possibilities after I graduate. I discovered a passion of certain issues in the world and am excited for what the future holds.


Law and Society, Past Participant

Getting started

Program-Specific Info Sessions

Info sessions are scheduled for every Group Study Program. Attending an info session is not required to apply, but strongly recommended as it will give you an opportunity to meet the instructor and learn more about the travel experience.

We also recommend watching Global Learning 101 for general information.

Watch Global Learning 101

Global Learning Advising

If you have questions about this program, you can meet with one of our Global Learning Advisors by emailing or booking an appointment through the link below.

1. Select "Advising"
2. Select “Study Abroad”
3. Select “Book by Appointment Type”
4. Select your program advisor to view available times.

Book an appointment

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how a Group Study Program might align with your degree.

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.


International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular global learning program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Global Learning Advisors will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

If you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Global Learning Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.

Please note: All participants must adhere to COVID-19 and other vaccination-related requirements for the destinations visited on this program. Failure to do so may have consequences such as being denied access to accommodation/housing, program activities, or to the host country itself.