- What language do they speak in Ghana?
English is the official language in Ghana although in school every child is taught English and their ethnic community language such as Ewe, Fante, or Twi. Currently there is debate in Ghana about changing the language of instruction in schools from English to local languages.
- Do I need a visa for Ghana?
Yes, all foreigners (with a few exceptions from Africa) are required to have valid travel documents including a passport, visa and certificate of immunization against yellow fever. We will send information about how to get a visa to all travelers registered for the program in future newsletters.
- What medical preparation is necessary for Ghana?
You will need immunization against yellow fever for your visa. For advice on vaccinations and travel medication, we recommend that you consult your doctor or health-care provider to determine what you will need (this will depend on individual factors such as your health and immunization history). It is best to see a health-care provider at least 6-8 weeks before your trip. General information can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Web Site at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinationGhana.aspx. The CDC also urges that you ensure your routine vaccinations are up-to-date prior to traveling. Ghana is a country with a high incidence of malaria.
- Can I participate if I am not affiliated with Yale?
Absolutely! We encourage family and friends to participate on the Service Program. All helping hands are welcome. Please note that children must be at least 10 years old to participate, and all participants under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- When do I need to arrive in Ghana?
The program begins with arrival in Accra on August 5 so you should look for flights that depart the US on August 4. See itinerary for complete details.
- Can we attend a portion of the program, either arriving late or leaving early?
No, we ask that you participate in the entire program as we work as a family of volunteers - members of a team who will share different responsibilities and project assignments. We will have work teams for all of the projects, and teamwork means all hands on deck! You can certainly travel to Ghana early or stay longer on your own, if you’d like.
- I would like to travel to Accra with other members of the Yale group. Is there a group flight to Accra?
The program fee does not include international air arrangements. There are non-stop flights from New York to Accra. YASC recommends that you compare airfares available from your area. Please arrive in Accra no later than August 4. The program finishes on August 14.
- Is there an extension for the trip? What if I want to see more of Ghana or Africa while I am there?
Yes, there is a pre-trip extension to Togo and Benin, which is taking place July 29-August 4, 2016. Refer to detailed itinerary in the add-on tab for this trip.
- Will there be financial assistance available for this Service Trip?
There will be some funding for partial scholarships, primarily for Yale alumni and current Yale students for this program. Please be aware that available funding is extremely limited. Please submit the application available no later than March 15, 2016. We cannot accept any other form of requests for funding at this time. You will be notified about any other scholarship funding that you have been granted by April 1, 2016.
- What will the weather be like?
Hot! Hot! Hot!… but we are ready for it – or as ready as we can be. The activities are planned to keep us as cool and rested as possible during the heat of the day. The hotel is air-conditioned but none of the buildings in the community. Most of the community buildings are open air to some extent. Keep in mind, you may be working outdoors. It can get very hot on sunny days, though cooler on overcast or rainy days. We recommend that you be prepared for different temperature
- What will we wear?
Comfortable, light work clothes. You will be working at community centers and project sites in impoverished communities, often outdoors. All excursions and group activities will be casual. There is no need for a coat and tie. You should bring one or two nicer outfits (button down shirts for men) for the evenings with the chiefs in Cape Coast and our Farewell Dinner but formal attire is not necessary. You should definitely bring a swimsuit.
- What will accommodations be like?
We will be staying at the beautiful and modern Coconut Grove Resort in Cape Coast and a moderate hotel equivalent to a standard U.S. chain hotel in Accra. Coconut Grove has all the comforts of a resort including a swimming pool. CGH has two types of accommodations – the American style rooms that are in a series of buildings on the central property and the Ghanaian bungalows that are simpler and located on the adjacent compound. All accommodations have hot water and air conditioning.
- I have specialized skills that may be valuable to the service projects and I’d like to be involved in the project development. How can I do that?
Glad you asked! For several projects, we work with a committee of specialized alumni volunteers who provide expertise to help shape our service projects. If you are interested in joining a volunteer committee for Project Programs, please contact Joao Aleixo at firstname.lastname@example.org
- What about medical emergencies?
There is no insurance coverage provided by Yale or any other entity responsible for this trip. We recommend that each volunteer look into getting medical and travel insurance to cover this trip. Sometimes the site that you book your airfare through may offer this additional insurance or your current medical insurance company may cover some overseas care or offer additional supplemental insurance. Credit cards, in particular American Express, sometimes provide insurance if the card is used to charge the expense (as well as airline or current insurance). We encourage you to look into this since Yale cannot assume any responsibility for travel issues or medical emergencies or care costs.
- What is the payment schedule for the program?
Deposit of $500 per person due by March 15, 2016
Final payment per person due by April 1, 2016
We will send a reminder before the second payment date.
- What if I have to cancel my participation unexpectedly?
Please be aware that after the March 1 registration deadline, the program deposit is non-refundable. Following each payment deadline, the paid fees are non-refundable. We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancelation insurance, which would cover your expenses resulting from cancelation due to illness or accident. We are happy to send you a brochure from Travel Insurance Services, or you may obtain coverage through the company of your choice.
- Can you provide information about travel insurance?
The Yale Alumni Service Corps strongly urges every tour participant to consider the purchase of trip cancelation and interruption insurance. While YASC and AYA are not able to give advice regarding travel insurance, we can provide information that we hope each traveler will consider carefully in deciding what to do about insurance.
Neither YASC nor AYA carries insurance that offers financial protection to travelers for cancelation of any or all of the trip for any reason.
Should you decide to purchase insurance, you must choose what level of coverage you wish to obtain. Basic travel insurance is generally offered at several levels that protect a traveler from loss in the event that a traveler withdraws from a trip because of circumstances in the traveler’s personal life. Basic travel insurance also typically offers some level of protection in case of trip cancelations, trip delays or lost luggage.
However, basic travel insurance does not offer any protection in the event a tour is canceled by force majeure or other, similar events. That level of coverage is offered by some insurers under the heading of Cancel for Any Reason Coverage (CFAR) and is more expensive than basic travel insurance. It may be offered as a separate package or as an upgrade option for some basic plans. There are restrictions on CFAR coverage with respect to when it must be purchased, what level of coverage the traveler must buy and who is eligible to purchase it
Many carriers offer travel insurance. Here is the contact information for two carriers offering travel insurance and CFAR:
We strongly recommend that tour participants consult an insurance company or visit the websites of either or both of these companies to come to an informed decision as to whether or not to purchase trip cancelation and interruption coverage and the appropriate level of coverage.
- What if my questions are not answered here?
We’ll be delighted to address your particular questions and concerns. For more information, please contact Joao Aleixo via e-mail at email@example.com
See you in Accra!