International Hour: Ghana

The Association of International Students (AIS) has a radio program called International Hour. The show airs on Mount Union’s very own WRMU 91.1FM every Thursday night at 9 p.m.

On the previous segment of the AIS International Hour, I visited the West African nation of Ghana. For a very long time, Mount Union lacked representatives from the African continent. We never really had students from Africa come to Mount Union (transfer or exchange). This year, we have students representing Ethiopia, Senegal (later moved to France) and, of course, Ghana.

International Hour: Ghana was a first. I have repeated a few countries before; covering different aspects of the country each time the country had a repeat feature on the show. International Hour: Ghana came after I featured Ethiopia the week prior. I am getting side-tracked.

International Hour: Ghana was an interesting show to prepare for. It made me realize that the English language is more commonly used for Ghanaian songs compared to their local languages and dialects. Why? Because English is their official language (former British colony) and it was easier to market with English.

Here are some of the facts about Ghana:

Capital City: Accra

Population: approximately 25 milion

Size comparison: slightly smaller than Oregon

Official language: English (due to British colonization)

Neighbors: Ivory Coast (west), Burkina Faso (north, and Togo (east). Gulf of Guinea in the south.

My guest for the show was Edward, or commonly known as Eddie among the international students. He is a new transfer student from Ghana. He lived in the capital city, Accra. Eddie is currently a freshman and will be at Mount for the whole nine yards (or whole four years).

Eddie said that one of the hardest things for him to get used to when he first came to America was the weather. The climate in Ghana is only classified into two seasons; dry and wet. Not getting snow in Ghana, Eddie had a hard time getting used to the bitter cold and the endless snow that we had earlier in the year.

His favorite thing about America is the friendliness of the people. Though I had pointed out that it could just be a “mid-west thing,” Eddie stated that even in New York, where he had his connecting flight, people were generally friendlier.

The term “Ghanaian” can be a very general term used to describe the people of Ghana. There are various ethnic groups in Ghana; Akan, Ewe and Guan to name a few. The people of Ghana differs from region to region. They speak different languages passed down from their ancestors as well as different dialects within those languages. Ghana, in this aspect, is very diverse.

English is the uniting language of the nation as it is the official language of Ghana. Children are taught in schools while most classes (except foreign languages) are conducted in English. Students in Ghana can also learn French. Eddie told me during the show that French was an option offered by the Ghanaian government because their neighboring countries all speak French.

The mainstream media in Ghana is basically influenced by American media. Besides having their local artistes, American pop music has a huge presence in modern day Ghana. The same goes for movies and television. Most of the movies shown in Ghana are made in Hollywood. Most of the TV shows are, obviously, American TV shows. It seems to be a pattern in many countries. The taking over of the mainstream media by the American media in many countries is a very common phenomenon.

Here is a song by Ghanaian hip-hop artiste, Fuse ODG, from the show: watch?v=6LCoksSQMzs

Ghana Flag

Be sure to tune in to the International Hour every Thursday night at 9 on WRMU 91.1FM!

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