Skip to Content
Education Abroad, U.Va.

Education Abroad

A Division of the International Studies Office
  • Explore
  • Experience
  • Engage
  • Excel
Programs : Brochure
This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
UVA in Ghana: Plus One: Design Thinking and Civic Engagement
Abetifi, Ghana; Accra, Ghana; Cape Coast, Ghana (Education Abroad Programs Program)
Program Terms: Summer
Restrictions: UVA applicants only
Budget Sheets Summer
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2018 01-MAR-2018 10-MAR-2018 04-JUN-2018 26-JUN-2018
NOTE: Students who are accepted to this program must commit to or decline participation by March 15. Students will need to depart the US by June 3 to arrive in Ghana June 4. Do NOT purchase flight tickets until instructed to do so by the ISO. Dates are tentative until confirmed.
Fact Sheet:
Class Status:
2nd year, 3rd year, 4th year Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.5
Language Requirement:
Open to Non-UVa Students:
Housing: Hotel Language Courses Offered: No
Language of Instruction: English
Credit Type:
Direct Credit
Program Type:
Faculty led
Tuition Payments Made To:
Education Abroad Advisor:
Margaret Walter
Application Fee:
Study Abroad Administrative Fee:
Subject Area:
African-American & African Studies, Architecture, Education, Global Studies, Nursing
Program Description:

Plus One: Design Thinking and Civic Engagement in Abetifi, Ghana is part of the _mpathic design initiative.

Students will be immersed in an intensive collaborative Design Thinking process with Ghanaian students and faculty to develop skills and tools necessary to engage local community members in the development of relevant and sustainable service-learning projects.  Students participating in this course will gain firsthand knowledge of Design Thinking and field-testing of the Mosaic Method.

Design Thinking, from the perspective of UVA’s School of Architecture, is an inclusive process of complex problem-solving allowing interdisciplinary teams to generate a range of strategic solutions.

Students will also sharpen interpersonal skills as they lead teams of local school for 5th and 6th graders through the WagiLabs Program, a kidpreneur Design Thinking curriculum created by Chic Thompson.


Nykurakan, Central Market

Based in Abetifi with overnights in the nearby village of Obo, the program will also travel to Cape Coast and Accra.

Goals and Objectives
Students will:

  • Obtain a deep understanding of Ghanaian culture, community, and educational system with in – field testing of ideas.
  • Be immersed in an intensive collaborative experience with Ghanaian students and faculty, learning from each other, while developing ideas for community engagement.
  • Learn to match behavior/communication to cultural environment
  • Gain firsthand knowledge of the process of Design Thinking, from the perspective of UVA’s School of Architecture, and field testing of the Mosaic Methodology.

Students will stay in hotels or lodges, with breakfast and most dinners included.


Elmina Coast, view toward Elmina Castle


Plus One: Design Thinking and Civic Engagement
in Abetifi, Ghana
(ARCH 3500/5500*; 3 credits)

Course Information

This course is open to undergraduate students from all schools with a keen interest in Design Thinking, African American and African Studies, Education, Nursing, Global Studies or related disciplines. Coursework activities, involving student-faculty engagement, will be similar to the three-credit courses offered on grounds.

*NOTE: This course will be cross-listed across various departments and students will be asked to confirm which mnemonic they want to be enrolled into; check back for additional mnemonics as they are confirmed.


Stone Mountain, Central Koforidua

Cost & Funding
The program cost and payment schedule are listed under the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page.

Students with identifiable financial need are encouraged to apply for fellowships and scholarships. In particular, School of Architecture students are encouraged to apply for School of Architecture funding. Review the Scholarships page for additional opportunities.

Accessibility Statement
The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual and flexible basis. This program in Ghana typically involves significant time spent walking and standing, and many sites are non-wheel chair accessible. Vegan, gluten-free, and students with other strict dietary requirements or preferences may have a difficult time finding appropriate meal choices. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.

Passport and Visa Information
All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program end date. US students will need a visa for Ghana; instructions will be provided by the Education Abroad Advisor upon acceptance. Non-US passport holders should meet with their International Student Advisor and Education Abroad Advisor in the International Studies Office as part of the application process.

Travel Health Information
Documentation of yellow fever vaccination is required to enter Ghana. The ISO will provide guidance to students for obtaining the vaccine. For more information about the yellow fever vaccine and other vaccines/medications, check out the CDC website:

Program director Elgin Cleckley,, Assoc. AIA, NOMA, is an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Design Thinking in the School of Architecture, with additional appointments in the Curry School of Education and School of Nursing.

James Perla,, is Managing Director of the Citizen Justice Initiative Project at the Carter G. Woodson Institute in African-American and African Studies. James works on digital archives, educational resources, and community engagement projects, including the digitization of the Julian Bond Papers, an interactive website regarding the history of Charlottesville's monuments, and workshops on local history with high school students in the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County..