Miles Arntzen (left) plays the boba drum accompanied by his instructor, Elike.
Over the years, one of the things I’ve loved most about leading the ThisWorldMusic/UMass Amherst Study in Africa program is getting to know the participants. Sure, studying African music and dance is a thrill, but it’s the people, not just the rhythms, that stick with me long after I’ve returned.
On the most recent winter study abroad trip in Ghana, West Africa, we had a seminary student from Indianapolis, Brent Walsh, who, as luck would have it, turned out to be a professional photographer. And who studies abroad in a place as visually stunning as Ghana without bringing along a camera?
Here are 5 highlights from Brent’s inspiring photos, each representing a different aspect of what it’s like to study in Africa. READ MORE →
Hard to believe fall is already upon us. With winter close behind, I’m looking forward to warming up in Ghana this January!
Our latest trip offering, the Winter Drum and Dance Field Study in Ghana, West Africa (January 2-14, 2012), is the perfect way to learn West African music and dance while getting to see the world. Check out the video below, then go to the online application on the UMass International Programs Office website. There’s also more info here.
ThisWorldMusic/UMass Ghana student Tara Schwitzman — a k a Ms. S — raised money on DonorsChoose.org for her all-girls 5th grade drumming ensemble in North Philly.
I posted on November 13 about Philly Public Schools teacher and Ghana tripper extraordinaire Tara Schwitzman’s project to raise money on DonorsChoose.org for an all girls 5th grade African drumming ensemble at her school in North Philly. With donations coming in from around the country (including the Dublin Coffman Marching Band in Dublin, OH) her project was fully funded in a matter of weeks. Go Tara!
“It is incredible…how much this music and dancing is bringing them together,” she says. “Seeing an all girls, fifth grade class come together with respect, and work together to achieve a common goal makes all the difficulties of teaching in this setting worth it.”
The new TWM/UMass in Ghana promo spot is UP! Hailed by the New York Times as “a feast for the senses” (okay, that’s a lie) and “better than being there” by National Geographic (also a lie), the 2nd edition of our virtual tour has been updated with exciting new Africa footage (truthbomb!), along with testimonials from educators that crossed the pond summer 2010 (ka-boom!).
Not one to stand in the way of a PR juggernaut, I’ll be presenting this Friday, November 19th at the Massachusetts Council for International Education’s annual conference (list of member organizations here), where I’ll be promoting the trip and talking about the exciting field of global continuing education, all with the help of an all-star cast of TWM/UMass in Ghana alumni. More on that to come.
Click play to enjoy the sights and sounds of Ghana!
“Last year I was thrown into [a school] in…North Philadelphia, as an emergency certified teacher without any resources or education background,” recalls Tara. “I struggled for months, trying to figure out how to reach my students, who have faced more turmoil in their 10 years of living than I will ever know.” READ MORE →