Strategies and Initiatives in Acculturation: Voices from Ghana


  • Susan Boafo-Arthur Assumption College, United States
  • Dzifa A. Attah Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Ama Boafo-Arthur University of Ghana, Ghana
  • Thomas D. Akoensi University of Kent, United Kingdom



Black-African international students, Ghana, institutional strategies, personal strategies, social learning theory


Culture shock and acculturation are salient aspects of any international study trip. Over the years, many institutions have devised several strategies to help international students transition to life in the host country. However, most of these strategies are insensitive to diverse cultural or country specifics. Drawing from Social Learning Theory, this paper provides narratives from four former students from the West African country of Ghana and how they navigated the process of acculturation in their respective host nations. The narratives discuss their feelings during the study abroad trip, some of the challenges they faced, and personal as well as institutional strategies that aided in ameliorating the experience of culture shock. A few recommendations for Student Affairs Practitioners are also provided.

Author Biographies

Susan Boafo-Arthur, Assumption College, United States

DR. SUSAN BOAFO-ARTHUR is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her research interests are in the area of international students acculturation and transition issues with particular emphasis on the experiences of Black African nationals in the diaspora. 

Dzifa A. Attah, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

DR. DZIFA A. ATTAH is a clinical psychologist by profession and is currently engaged in research and private practice in Ghana. Dr. Attah has research interests in child sexuality, child and adolescent psychology, and related cultural issues. More recently, she has developed a keen interest in study abroad experiences, as a result of her own lived experiences of studying overseas and reintegration after international sojourn in South Africa. 

Ama Boafo-Arthur, University of Ghana, Ghana

DR. AMA BOAFO-ARTHUR is a lecturer in the Department of Distance Education at the University of Ghana. Her research interests revolve around child and youth studies, adolescent reproductive health, multiculturalism, and delinquency. Her interactions with students and peers, alongside her own international travel experiences as a student, has piqued her interest in study abroad experiences and the consequent impact on the sojourner. 

Thomas D. Akoensi, University of Kent, United Kingdom

DR. THOMAS AKOENSI is a Lecturer at the University of Kent, UK. He is the Senior Tutor for the BA Social Science and BA Criminal Justice and Criminology programmes at the Medway campus where he provides pastoral care to both home and international students as well as providing specific advice and support to individual student problems. He also directs students to other avenues of student support whilst liaising with other departments within the University. 




How to Cite

Boafo-Arthur, S., Attah, D. A., Boafo-Arthur, A., & Akoensi, T. D. (2017). Strategies and Initiatives in Acculturation: Voices from Ghana. Journal of International Students, 7(4), 1065–1079.



Research Articles (English)