Are you a current or future law student considering the possibility of studying abroad for a semester or a year? Have you considered the beautiful country of Ghana as a potential study abroad destination? Although not your typical study abroad locale, the country of Ghana has plenty to offer international students, both academically and in terms of personal growth.
Ghana, officially referred to as the Republic of Ghana, is a sovereign nation and unitary presidential constitutional republic. The beachfront country is situated along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in West Africa, and in 1957 it became the first nation to declare independence from colonization in sub-Saharan Africa, a move that eventually led to a domino effect, prompting other African nations to do the same. Ghana is bordered by the countries of Togo to the east, Burkina Faso to the north, and the Ivory Coast to the west; with the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean lying to its south. Interestingly, the name “Ghana” comes from an African word meaning “Warrior king.”
In recent years, Ghana has attained rapid economic growth and rising human development, thanks in large part to the country’s focus on education, including higher education. The country is considered a regional power and is a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement and a member of both the Economic Community of West African States and the Group of 24.
Law Education in Ghana
The study of law is offered at a select few Ghanaian universities, but perhaps the most prominent and well-respected legal education institution in the country is the Ghana School of Law, located in the vibrant multicultural city of Accra. At this school, and others around the country, law students are treated to a dynamic course of study amidst a highly-intellectual community, acquiring a professional legal education that will enable them to pursue employment in a number of legal fields.
To obtain an advanced law degree in Ghana, students must dedicate three years to full-time study. The first year curriculum at Ghana’s law schools corresponds roughly to that of other law schools around the world—with instructors teaching the major common law and other foundational subjects. The remaining two years are dedicated to advanced subject matter in the various legal sub-fields.
In the first year, students will need to take and pass a number of fundamental courses, in areas such as traditional legal writing, legal research, oral advocacy, client interviewing and counseling. Other courses, such as civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property and torts are also part of the first year curriculum.
In the second and third years of study, students may choose from a wide array of law and law-related courses, in addition to a mandatory course in Professional Responsibility and an upper-division writing requirement. Some of the student’s time will be taken up with basic and advanced courses, in such areas as constitutional law; courses that examine the legal framework in which society’s economic life takes place (Business Associations, Federal Taxation, Labor Law); and others focusing on basic elements of the judicial process (Evidence, Remedies). The two upper-division years also permit students to explore more specialized offerings in fields as diverse as International Law, Family Law, and Intellectual Property Law.
Why Study Abroad in Ghana
Studying in Ghana not only exposes students to a brand new academic perspective, it provides them with an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand their cultural horizons as they meet and even befriend both the local people and other students from around the world. Students will learn to embrace different customs and rituals, pick up valuable language skills that may benefit them professionally in the future and sample the delectable local and international cuisine. When not busy studying for their law degree in the classroom, students can take advantage of the marvelous Ghanaian climate while visiting the various sights and attractions the country has to offer, including:
Cape Coast Castle
Located along Ghana’s Atlantic coastline amid several other old forts and castles is the Cape Coast Castle, built by the various European powers in the 17th century. The most impressive of Ghana’s old forts, the Cape Coast Castle was built for the slave trade and today serves as a painful reminder of human tragedy and greed. It was originally built by the Dutch in 1637 and later expanded by the Swedes, until the British finally took control of the Cape Coast Castle in 1664, turning it into their colonial headquarters. It stayed that way for the next 200 years until the capital of the country was ultimately moved to Accra in 1877. Today the Cape Coast Castle serves as an interesting historical museum featuring exhibits highlighting the history of Ghana, the slave-trade and local culture.
No trip to Ghana would be complete without a trip to the nation’s capital city: Accra. A sprawling city with about 2 million residents, Accra is one of Africa's safer and more vibrant capitals. The city boasts a unique mixture of modern buildings, shanty towns, the occasional castle and lively markets. The central hub can be found around the Makola Market, located just north of the Atlantic coastline. Some of the major attractions to see while visiting Accra include: