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International Development Studies

Aerial view of Ghana and Ecuador in the summer sun, separated by a green and blue vertical line

International Development Studies


Vegetables and fruit in a marketCan I do the YAPs if I am a joint major?

Yes. Many YAP participants are joint majors. It is important to discuss your degree requirements with your tutor/advisor/department chair to make sure you satisfy the requirements of your ‘other’ (i.e. non-International Development Studies) department. It is also possible to have certain IDST YAP courses ‘count’ towards your other major. It is important to discuss this possibility with the chair of your ‘other’ department BEFORE you depart. IDST faculty can advise on these options.

How much more will it cost than studying in Canada?

The cost depends on individual spending habits. Typically, however, the overall cost is slightly more than the cost of attending university in Canada if you are paying rent. The main additional cost items are the program fee and airfare. The main savings involve the lower cost of living in Ghana. In addition, many YAP participants receive bursaries each year.

Does everybody have to stay with host families? What happens if it doesn't work out?

Yes. Living with a family in Ghana is essential for becoming immersed in the local culture and society and offers a source of friendships and an entry to social networks, and therefore also a measure of security. Potential host families are very carefully screened in advance of the students’ arrival. Students are then matched with host families according to compatibility of lifestyle preferences, interests, and personality. In the rare case that students and their selected families don’t get along, a new family is promptly selected. Students have the option of moving out of their families after an initial four-six weeks (depending on the program), but almost none do so.

Do I have to decide on what kind of placement I would like to do before I leave Canada?

No. Many students do not have a set idea of what kind of placement and in which geographic region of Ghana they would like to end up in, and instead work this out over time.  During the first semester, while partaking in classes, students will identify possible placements, and then gradually narrow down their selection to a few that they will arrange to visit in order to determine which one is most suitable to their objectives. For a better idea of the sorts of placements available please visit the Trent-in-Ghana webpage.

Will going on a Year Abroad Program help me to get a job one day?

By participating in one of these programs, students gain a number of skills and competencies that are highly relevant in a range of possible careers. Through classes and field trips, students gain an immediate sense of how development theory applies in practice. Through cultural immersion, they gain intercultural communication skills and in depth knowledge of another society . Through their field placement, students gain work experience in an area that is directly related to their interests and career objectives.