What language do they speak in Ghana?
English is the official language in Ghana although in school every child is taught English and their tribal language such as Twi as well.

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 March 2012.

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 Tour. 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 and the travel to Cape Coast on July 27. We will announce a meeting place in Accra near to the airport when registration closes in March. If you are living in Ghana or would prefer to arrange your own transportation to Cape Coast, please plan to arrive in there before dinner on Saturday, July 27, 2012.

Can we attend a portion of the tour, 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 of $2,000 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 July 27. The program finishes in Accra on August 7.

Is there an extension for the trip? What if I want to see more of Ghana or Africa while I am there?
Late breaking news! In response to the interest of many YASC volunteers, AFS is looking into the possibility of a short extension that would take a group up to Kumasi to have a tour of the city and have an audience with the Ashanti King. After one night in Kumasi, the group would fly to Tamale in the north of Ghana to see Mole National Park. We would spend two nights in the north of Ghana with two or three “safari” excursions to visit the amazing local animals in their natural habitat. The group would fly back to Accra on August 10 to connect with flights back to Europe and the U.S. There will be more information on this opportunity within a couple of weeks 

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 temperatures.

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. The cost for the program is $1,750 ($250 less per person) if you choose to stay in a bungalow. All accommodations have 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 the Africa Project Program, please contact Kathy Edersheim ‘87 at kathy@edersheim.net  

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 1, 2012
Second payment of $1,500 per person due by April 1, 2012
We will send a reminder before the second payment date.
All payments are non-refundable. To the extent that payments made exceed the scheduled amount, if you cancel your participation funds will be refunded to you. No refunds will be given for cancellation after April 1, 2012. No refunds will be given for unused portions of the program (including, but not limited to, unused meals, hotel nights, and sightseeing), for any reason.

What if I have to cancel my participation unexpectedly?
Please be aware that after the March 1, 2012 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 cancellation insurance, which would cover your expenses resulting from cancellation 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 cancellation 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 cancellation 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 cancellations, 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:

Travelex Insurance
800 228 9792

Travel Insured
800 243 3174

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 cancellation 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 Kathy Edersheim ‘87 via e-mail at kathy@edersheim.net  

See you in Accra!