The time is upon us. Countdowns have begun, final preparations put in place, and emotions are running wild. This is it people. I leave for Ghana in less than 48 hours. I am maybe, kind of nearing the end of my packing, which means that my room, my house, and my suitcases are a mess of clothes and chaos. For those who know me well, this is may not come as a surprise, however, this mess is far worse than any that have come before. I am a terrible packer, always have been, and it surely doesn’t help that I am packing not only for an entire semester, but also for a place that is nothing like anywhere I’ve ever been. It’s been an uphill battle to say the least. My advice: start early. However, as the packing is finally coming to a close, it is starting to actually set in that I will be halfway across the world by the end of the week. CRAZY. But Instead of trying to wrap my mind around that idea, I am focusing my energy on everything that I have to look forward to this semester.
First, I am so excited to study at the University of Ghana.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Madison with all my heart but I cannot wait to see what the University of Ghana has to offer. For those who have been asking what the University is like, here is what I know. Of the 13 colleges or tertiary level schools in Ghana, UG is the oldest and largest. It is located in Legon, which is just outside of the capital, Accra. It hosts around 30,000 students with thousands of international students in attendance every semester. They offer classes in most all fields of study including business, science, art, sociology, etc. It is a very lively campus with numerous extracurricular activities available. As a biology major, I am excited to explore the different science classes that are available such as oceanography or parisitology. On the other hand, this is my chance to expand the boundaries of my academic schedule and also learn about the culture and traditions of Ghana so I also hope to find myself in the African dance class or maybe even traditional drumming. I am sure that the University of Ghana will be an educational experience unlike any I have had before and I am eager to dive in!
Second, I am excited to meet the people. If you’ve read my little profile you’ll know that I am not what you would call “well traveled”. I have never left the United State before this trip. No, not even a family vacation to Mexico or a trip up north to Canada. Nothing, So you could say that the amount of exposure I have experienced is minimal. While we do have quite a diverse population in many parts of the US, it is nothing like meeting the local people in a whole different country and continent. At the university, I’ll be living in what they call an International Student Hostel. This is essentially a dorm, however about half the residents are Ghanaian and the other half are from all over the world. I am so excited for the chance to meet and make connections with people outside of my own country. Everyone has a different worldview and I am looking forward to expanding mine through my interactions and experiences with new people.
Finally, I am excited for the culture shock. I cannot wait to be stunned and bewildered and experience things I never have before. I know it sounds a little strange but I want to be out of my element. I think that one of the most valuable ways that we learn is when we are pushed out of our comfort zone. The point of any study abroad program is to learn not only in the classroom but also through new day-to-day experiences. We are encouraged to learn about a new cultures and lifestyles, different government and economic systems, social and familial structures, etc . I hope to be pushed, not too hard mind you, but yes, pushed to experience things out of my comfort zone and learn as much as I can from them. If I can do this, my study abroad program will have been a success.
I hope you are all as excited as I am. As always stay tuned for more but now, I have a plane to catch!