• Boats along coast

    Capstone in Ghana

  • Drumming ensemble

    Capstone in Ghana

  • Memorial in Accra

    Capstone in Ghana

  • Textiles for sale in market

    Capstone in Ghana


This program is an excellent opportunity for students to gain a global perspective by diversifying their education. Students will interact with distinct Ghanaian cultural groups including Dagara, Ewe, Ga and Dagomba on a daily basis while abroad. This program will enhance students’ knowledge, performance and appreciation of West African music, dance art, culture, and history. Through this program, students will: 

  • Investigate music as culture through immersion in distinct Ghanaian cultural groups and exploring the range of ways humans create and use music.
  • Identify and discuss a wide range of ways that people use music to transform and add meaning to their lives.
  • Learn how to approach unfamiliar customs and expressions with a greater respect and understanding.

To learn more about this program, visit with Dr. Ryan Frost during office hours in GBPAC 18: 

  • Tuesdays, 1 - 3 pm 
  • Fridays, 9 - 10 am & 11 - 12 pm
  • Email ryan.frost@uni.edu beforehand to ensure availability


Course Leaders

Ryan Frost, Instructor

Department: School of Music
Phone: 319-273-2228
Email: ryan.frost@uni.edu
Campus Address: GBPAC 18

Ryan began studying West African drumming and dance as an undergraduate student at UNI. He continued his education at West Virginia University and traveled abroad twice to Ghana. Interested in learning about various regional drumming styles, Ryan studied with master musicians and dancers in five distinct regions of the country. Ryan is excited to share the culture and vitality of the West African spirit through an amazing study abroad experience for UNI students!


CAP 3550: Constructing Cross-Cultural Bridges (3 credit hours)

The educational and cross-cultural goals and objectives for this course are to learn about and investigate music as culture. Participants will experience immersion in distinct Ghanaian cultural groups and explore the range of ways that humans create and use music. Some of the learning outcomes include: 

  1. Identify and discuss a wide range of ways that people use music to transform and add meaning to their lives.
  2. Recognize, identify, and perform musical selections and dances from each of the cultural groups represented.
  3. Recognize and discuss the significance of various musical traditions to people who make and listen to them.
  4. Compare and contrast musical traditions and practices between Ghanaian sub-cultures and Western music.
  5. Evaluate the impact of the African Diaspora on music today.

To view the course syllabus, click HERE. Participation in this program requires several class meetings throughout the spring semester. Contact the course leader for more information on academic requirements. 


  • In order to receive Capstone credit, program participants must have completed 60 credits hours prior to the program's course start date (i.e. be of Junior standing). Students who participate in capstone programs without meeting the credit hour prerequisite will receive elective credit. In this instance, students should consult with their academic advisor(s) regarding how the elective credit fits into their specific plans of study.
  • Students planning to participate in the spring commencement ceremony in May can enroll in this summer term program, however, their degree will not be conferred until the end of the summer term and is contingent on the successful completion of the program and all required coursework.
  • Students attending colleges and universities other than UNI are welcome to participate in this program. If you are not currently a UNI student, but would like to participate in this program, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.
  • Capstone courses cannot be repeated. If you have previously taken this capstone course, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.


Tentative Program Dates: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 to Thursday, May 30, 2019

Sample itinerary is subject to change.

Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required for entry into Ghana. Due to a shortage of the vaccine, program participants will need to travel to select clinics in the Midwest in order to be vaccinated. As of September, 2018, clinics offering the vaccine were located in Ames, Des Moines, and Bettendorf, Iowa. For more information on Yellow Fever, visit https://www.cdc.gov/yellowfever/index.html

Day 1: Arrive in Accra, the bustling capital city of Ghana; experience African city life; exchange currency.

Day 2: Welcome breakfast and meeting at hotel; travel to the remote coastal village of Kopeyia, home of the world-renowned Dagbe Cultural Institute and Arts Centre, whose vision is to preserve Ewe musical culture. Participants will study (Days 3-7) with master musicians and dancers by taking daily classes (group and individual) in traditional African drumming and dance. Featured instruments of this musical tradition include gangkogui, axatse, kagan, totodzi, kroboto, kidi, sogo, boba, and atsimevu.

Day 3: Experience life in an African village with a tour of scenic Kopeyia. Participants will be a part of the communal lifestyle of the Ewe people.

Day 4: Visit and shop at a traditional African open market. Interact with local artisans, skilled craftsmen, and street vendors.

Day 5: Excursion via tro tro (shuttle) to the golden beaches of Denu. Possibility to observe fishermen at work and interact with local merchants.

Day 6: Excursion to an Ewe shrine to observe a sacred ancestral ceremony.

Day 7: Take advantage of various cultural experiences such as trying local cuisine, such as “red red” and plantains, witness local ceremonies, musical performances, and natural wildlife. Learn crafts such as basket or textile weaving and batik making.

Day 8: Breakfast meeting, group picture, goodbyes to Dagbe staff; travel via tro tro to Medie, in the Greater Accra region.

Days 9 -13: Immersive experience at the Dagara Music Center (DMC) to learn musical traditions of the Dagara and Ga people. Daily individualized and group instruction is set in this vibrant cultural center, which aims to preserve the historical traditions of the region. Featured instruments of this musical tradition include djembe, kpanlogo and gyil (African xylophone). Activities include a tour of Medie, visit to a master gyil craftsman, souvenir shopping, and musical and dance performances.

Day 14: Day trip to the historic Elmina Castle, built by the Portuguese between 1482-86, which is the oldest European castle in Sub-Saharan Africa. A major center of transatlantic slave trade. Return to Accra, exchange currency, and closing meeting.

Day 15: Departure for USA; arrive the next day

Housing & Meals

Students will stay in housing arranged by the Study Abroad Center through our partner organization and paid for before departure. Expect simple, dorm-style to rustic housing with limited access to Wi-Fi. Most meals while abroad are built into the cost of the program. Students are encouraged to be flexible, to live in the moment, and to be willing to try the local foods.

Program Costs

Capstone in Ghana

Estimated Program Cost:


* estimated total cost of participation, actual amount depends on type of housing accommodation selected, actual airfare purchase price, personal spending habits, and other factors

Click Below to View Detailed Budget Sheet:

Cost of studying on-campus*

*per semester, estimated, will vary per person

Tuition & Fees:


Room & Board:




Personal Expenses:






Source: https://admissions.uni.edu/costs

Dates & Deadlines


App Deadline: 
Friday, December 14, 2018
Program Dates: 
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 to Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Study Abroad Center reserves the right to determine participants' eligibility to Study Abroad. Students must meet all of the following in order to be eligible to Study Abroad:

  • Have a cumulative 2.5 GPA or higher at the time of application and maintain this GPA prior to departure and throughout the study abroad process
    • If your cumulative GPA is between 2.40 to 2.49, submit the following to the Study Abroad Center (28 Gilchrist):
      • A letter of reference from your academic advisor supporting your pursuit of study abroad
      • An essay, which should explain why your cumulative GPA is below a 2.50, include how your cumulative GPA is stable or improving, a detailed plan for improving your academic performance a strong academic and/or personal interest in your study abroad location and/or course, and a compelling academic rationale for studying abroad.
  • Must be over the age of 18 years old
  • Must meet the course prerequisites (participation in the program is dependent upon meeting these)
  • Must be in good standing with the University
  • UNI's partner institutions may require additional eligibility requirements to be met, these vary from institution to institution. Please consult with the Study Abroad Center staff to discuss these additional requirements if applicable.
  • Applicants traveling to a region of a country or a country with an overall Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or 4 (Do Not Travel) will not be eligible.
  • All study abroad applicants must pass the Study Abroad Applicant Assessment with a score of 70% or greater.
  • Applicants may be selected for an in-person interview before being accepted. Selection for an interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program. You will be contacted directly by the Study Abroad Center if selected for an interview.