I've been getting a lot of questions about YES Abroad and Ghana lately. To help clear the air and alleviate any misconceptions about my year abroad, I compiled this list of FAQ's and their answers.
1. Where is Ghana?
Ghana is the green country on the map.
Within Ghana, I'll be hosted in either:
- Accra – The capitol of Ghana with roughly 4 million people
- Kumasi – The second largest city with roughly 1.5 million people. It is commonly known as "The Garden City," due to its large variety of plants and animals.
2. When do you leave for Ghana?
I haven't received my official departure date yet, but according to the AFS website, I will leave between September 4-7 and return between June 21-24, 2012.
3. Why Ghana?
Ghana is one of ten countries with "significant Muslim populations" authorized for the YES Abroad scholarship by the U.S. State Department. YES Abroad asks you to be flexible in your country choices, as you may not get your #1 choice. Ghana, Morocco, and Mali are the three west-African countries in the YES Consortium.
4. What will you be doing there?
To be honest, I'm not 100% sure. I will be attending a Ghanaian high school, living with a host family, and learning about Muslim culture. Other than that, it's a bit up in the air. The thing to remember is I'm not going to Ghana as a tourist; I'll be there in order to live like a Ghanaian and represent the United States.
5. Isn't Ghana dangerous / Don't you want to live?!?
This is actually the question I get most often. It's fairly surprising how dangerous Americans generalize Africa to be, despite contradicting crime statistics.
According to INTERPOL data in the year 2000 (rates are per 100,000 population):
- For murder, the rate was 2.48 for Ghana and 5.51 for USA.
- For rape, the rate was 6.85 for Ghana and 32.05 for USA.
- For robbery, the rate was 2.15 for Ghana and 144.92 for USA.
- For burglary, the rate was 1.3 for Ghana and 728.42 for USA.
- The rate for all index offenses combined was 461.28 for Ghana compared to 4123.97 for USA
I'm not trying to say that the USA is unsafe and Ghana is a utopia, but the fact of the matter is that as long as I don't do anything stupid while I'm in Ghana, crime shouldn't be of concern.
Thanks for reading! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask and I will respond to the best of my ability.