The University of Oregon is being represented in Accra, Ghana, this summer by 15 members of the School of Journalism and Communication. Our group includes: two graduate students, 13 undergraduates, and several professors who are navigating us through this beautiful West African nation.
For the summer of 2012, the “Media in Ghana” program consists of six-week-long internships at various media outlets across the city. Depending on students’ areas of interest, our program director, Leslie Steeves, has placed each of us at compatible organizations. As photographers, writers, editors, aspiring advertising professionals and PR practitioners, the 15 of us will be contributing our talents to a city of more than four million.
From popular radio stations like the Joy FM to communication and reputation management organizations like Stratcomm, the diversity of our placements exemplifies the diversity of our group.
At the end of the work day we make our way back across the busy metropolis to our home in East Legon, back to our family of support. To balance the pressures of work, our weekends are filled with exploration as we travel throughout Ghana’s diverse landscapes. Some of our experiences include learning the ancient art of Kente cloth, braving across one of the world’s few canopy walkways and rejoicing with school children in the heart of an impoverished community.
Major(s): Journalism, multimedia minor
Internship: Emerge Magazine: the first Ghanaian woman’s magazine
I chose to come to Ghana because I wanted to see how journalism is practiced in a culture opposite of where I’m from. I wish to gain a better understanding of how communication ranges from culture to culture.
Major(s): Advertising, digital arts minor
Internship: Orakle Advertising
I chose to come to Ghana because I wanted to step out of my comfort zone. I wanted to be immersed in a culture that’s still so rich in tradition and full of such vibrant personalities.
Internship: Graphic Sports
I came to Ghana to get some professional experience while exploring a new culture. And I wanted to see crocodiles.
Internship: Joy FM 99.7
I chose to come to Ghana because I was running out of stories to tell. I hope to find experiences and relationships that will make me a funnier, happier and an all-around more interesting person.
Major(s): Journalism, advertising
Internship: Primetime Limited: Adverting, Public Relations and TV Production
I have always wanted to do a study abroad program, and with my college career coming to an end, I thought an internship would also be beneficial. With this program, I am able to kill two birds with one stone, as the old saying goes. In addition, I wanted to challenge myself. Not many people back home can say they have worked in Africa before.
I hope to gain an experience that will change my life. This is a once in a life time opportunity and I want to maximize every moment. When I arrive back home, there is no way I will be the same person when I left for Ghana. I get to see the world in a different light, which will be challenging, but that is part of the experience.
Major(s): Public relations, advertising, business administration minor.
Internship: Brand Effect
I came to Ghana to immerse myself in a new culture, a new environment, and to be a little kid who asks “Why?” all the time again. After six weeks, I hope that I will have enough cool stories and experiences to tell for six generations!
Major(s): Advertising, art minor
Internship: Lowe Lintas Ghana
I knew I was going to study abroad before going to the University of Oregon, but where I was to study was a toss up. My sophomore year I realized my passions would decide where I would study rather than choosing the country first. This diverse program intrigued me because I wanted to not only get immersed in a country’s culture, but I wished to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone. I don’t regret jumping on that plane to Africa one bit, and I can’t wait to see what it’s going to be like to work in a foreign country.
Major(s): Public relations, Spanish minor
Internship: Public Agenda
After discovering pictures from last summer’s Media in Ghana group, I decided to leave my duck nest in Eugene and start a new adventure abroad. I graduated from the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication only four days before flying to Accra, and upon returning I hope to find my place in nonprofit communications, preferably for a disaster relief organization.
Major(s): Advertising, cinema studies
Internship: Apex Advertising
I decided to participate in this program because I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity that the J-school gives its students. I’ve never really traveled before and the Media in Ghana program seemed like a good chance to leave the country.
Major(s): Public Relations
Internship: Media Foundation for West Africa
I have been to Africa once before and fell in love with the people and culture. Thirsty for more, I chose to spend my summer in Ghana to gain a unique internship, academic, and cultural experience abroad. I hope to form mutually beneficial relationships with the people I meet, both at my internship and on the streets, and also our family of UO Journalism students.
Major(s): Journalism, emphasis in documentary film production
Internship: Net2 TV
I always wanted to study abroad; but for me, a program that takes place in London or Prague or Paris or Australia seems almost cliché. I’m sure they are great and fun and educational but when all is said and done it’s little more than a trip to Europe. And then Ghana came and the opportunity for me to “sharpen the edge of life”. In regards to what I stand to gain from my experience, I couldn’t possibly know. That’s what I’m here to find out.
Major(s): Advertising, public relations
Internship: Strategic Communications Africa Limited (Stratcomm)
I chose to participate in the Media in Ghana program because I love to travel and I am very interested in learning about other cultures from around the world. I also hope to learn to appreciate the little things in life, and not take for granted what I have in the United States like many Americans do every day. Additionally, I hope to build relationships with local Ghanaians as well as my roommates and learn a bit of the local language during my time in Ghana.
Internship: Emerge Advertising
I chose to come to Ghana because feeling ordinary gives me anxiety. Now, I am just an ordinary white guy trying to make it in an extraordinary place, one Tro at a time.
MA Candidate, Communication and Society
Internship: The Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA)
I came to Ghana to begin building a network of connections for research I plan to conduct this winter for my Master’s thesis. But who knows, maybe I’ll never leave.
MA Candidate, Journalism
Internship: The Daily Guide
The opportunity to come to Ghana with an energized group of youthful explorers seemed like the right move to make. While here, I’m attempting to capture as much Ghana as possible through my writing and photography.
About the Program
The University of Oregon’s Journalism and Communication in Ghana program, directed by Prof. Leslie Steeves with on-site assistance from Dr. Michael Williams, can accommodate up to fifteen students each summer. However, 2012 marks the first summer in which two groups will be brought to Accra for the program, overlapping their stays by two weeks. The program is six weeks long, usually spanning the last week in June through July. Students take two four-credit courses: Media in Ghana and Journalism Internship. Internships are for four weeks, full-time. Weekend sightseeing fieldtrips to Cape Coast (location of historic castles used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade) and Kumasi (center of the Ashanti Kingdom) are also included. For more details, visit the Media in Ghana homepage via the SOJC.
For current students in the program, download the 2012 syllabus (Coming soon!)
Over the past two decades, Ghana has been an increasingly popular destination for both study abroad and tourism. Ghana’s relative political stability, emerging economy, growing media presence, faculty resources at the University of Ghana’s School of Communication Studies (SCS), and widespread use of English as the national language makes it an excellent study abroad site for U.S. journalism students. Ghana’s historic role in the slave trade and its prominence in African-American efforts to rebuild links to Africa also add interest.
The program is modeled after one initiated in 1999 by Professor Adrienne Rivers, then at the University of Kansas. In 2001 the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) began contributing students to KU’s Summer Media Institute in Ghana. Two UO students participated in 2001 and six in 2002. In 2004 the University of Oregon began its own program. This is the first UO study abroad program specifically for Journalism students.
The program offers two courses of four term-credits each: J467/567, Media in Ghana (fulfills a breadth requirement), and J404, Journalism Internship (fulfills elective credit). The two courses are integrated, as preparation for the internship experience requires learning about Ghana and its larger media context. The Media in Ghana course requires assignments that may be done in conjunction with the internship.
Media in Ghana begins in the spring term preceding travel to Ghana with weekly meetings, readings and oral reports. Reading topics cover the political-economic and cultural history of Ghana, images of Africa in U.S. media, the impact of colonial and post-colonial influence on African media, and Ghana’s media history, from indigenous forms to the Internet and the changing balance between state- and privately-owned media. Students also go online to experience Ghanaian media first-hand. During their first week in the country, the students attend lectures by University of Ghana, School of Communication Studies (SCS) faculty. Assignments due at the end of the program include a daily media log and a research paper.
Students may opt to take a Twi language class during their spring term taught by a native Ghanaian. Throughout the course, participants learn common phrases and structure of the most widely spoken language in Ghana, an effect way to connect with Ghanaians immediately upon arrival.
Student internships are five weeks and full time, following orientation week. Internships usually are matched with students according to their major: journalism, public relations, communication studies and advertising. Prior internship placements have included the following:
Newspapers: The Daily Graphic; Graphic Sports; Ghanaian Times; Accra Daily Mail; The Statesman; The Free Press; The Chronicle; Business and Financial Times; Public Agenda; Crusading Guide; Daily Guide
Development Communication and Public Relations: The Ghana Social Marketing Foundation; The Media Foundation for West Africa; Abantu for Development; Strategic Communications Africa Limited (Stratcomm);
Television: GTV (of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation); TV3; TV Africa; Metro TV; Net2 TV
Radio: Peace FM; Radio Univers; Choice FM; Joy FM
Advertising: Karrington Advertising; Lowe Lentis Advertising; Origin 8 Advertising; Orakle Advertising, Brand Effect; Apex Advertising; Emerge Advertising; Primetime Limited
Magazine: Emerge Magazine