Reason you chose this program: I am Ghanaian-American, and I had not been back to Ghana in fifteen years, so studying abroad there for six months was a perfect opportunity. I was not born in Ghana, but my parents were born in the country, and I wanted to truly immerse myself in the Ghanaian lifestyle.
Favorite classes: My favorite courses were Traditional West African Dance and Drumming. They were very hands on courses where the students were able to interact with the Ghanaians and the culture. I loved learning traditional dance and drumming routines!
Housing: I lived in Volta Hall, an all female dorm. I bunked with a student from California who was also on study abroad. Volta Hall was great because it was in the middle of campus, there was a food court, and it was close to other dormitories. Also, the dorm was predominantly African students, so we were able to interact with other Ghanaian students on a daily basis.
Greatest challenge: My greatest challenge was befriending the Ghanaian females. They have a tough demeanor and it’s hard for them to open up. They have a misconstrued notion of American females and it’s hard to break the American stereotype.
Best Memory: My best memory was sitting with my grandparents at their home enjoying great conversation. Spending time with my grandparents during my time abroad was unbelievable since I had not seen them in 15 years. Meanwhile, every weekend hanging with my Ghanaian friends experience Accra’s unbelievable night life.
Biggest surprise: My biggest surprise was how hot Ghana was; one always had to carry around a handkerchief to wipe the sweat off your face.
What I wish I knew before I left: Don’t be frugal with your money. Studying abroad in a different continent for 6 months is a once in a life time opportunity. Don’t let money hinder your fun, but keep track of your funds!
Going abroad vs. staying on campus: Studying abroad in a different continent is a once time opportunity. When will you ever get the chance to go abroad for a long period of time? Once you step out of the United States, you enter a world you’d never imagine you would. You learn a new lifestyle which opens your eyes and ears to another life you were blind to. You immerse your life into a new culture for 5-6 months. You will always have campus, but you won’t always have a study abroad experience.
Complete this sentence: If I could do it over, I would... speak the Akan language (Twi) everyday. I took a class, but I didn’t speak it all the time. If I did, I would have come back almost fluent!
Fact about Ghana that you think most people would be surprised to learn: The flag designed post independence consists of colors red, gold, green and a black star. The red signifies the bloodshed during the freedom struggle, the gold represents the country’s mineral wealth, while green symbolizes its rich agriculture and the black star is the symbol of African emancipation.
Advice to future study abroad participants: Step out of your comfort zone. When you enter a country you never thought you would visit, it’s time do things you never thought you would do too! Meanwhile, if you’re truly trying to experience the culture, befriend the locals. It’s good to have American friends, but the trip will be more fulfilling to have friends whose culture you’re experiencing. They can show you around!