Life on the University of Ghana campus has been new and exciting but a challenging adjustment as well. As I said earlier the university is the oldest and largest in Ghana but that does nothing to describe the size of the campus. The campus is huge! Coming from a UW-Madison student that is saying something. It is about a 30-40 minute walk from one side of campus to the other. I have done and will do this walk most likely every day because my dorm is on the outskirts of campus. Add 90-degree heat and another 10 degrees in humidity and this walk becomes quite the trek.
The dorm is called the International Student Hostel and houses everyone in my program as well as other American and other international students. The rest of the residents are Ghanaians. My roommate just moved in tonight! Her name is Amanda, she is in her last semester of school as an accounting major and so far she seems super friendly!
As far as the rest of campus, it’s very much different from Madison or any other college campus that I have seen. First, of course, the food; there is no main cafeteria or anything resembling a meal plan. The options for food on campus are limited to a few main establishments. Right outside my dorm is the Night Market, which consists of two overhangs with probably about 20 stands from local vendors. They sell anything from toilet paper to fruit, cell phone credit to banku and spaghetti. Everything is cheap at the night market but the options are very limited. For example you can get breakfast, lunch AND dinner for under $1.50 as long as you are ok with egg sandwiches, rice, or plantain chips for every meal. Other options include the Bush Canteen, Taco Bell (nothing resembling American Taco Bell) and my personal favorite, the Coffeecue. It has definitely required a bit of an adjustment from my stomach but every once in a while we find and something that reminds us of typical American food like chips (French fries) or pancakes that makes the transition a bit easier.
Classes officially started this week, however I am realizing that just because it says that classes are starting, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have class. For example, I should have had three classes already this week and I only had one professor teach for half the lecture time. In my other two classes, only myself and few others showed up and the professor was nowhere to be found. I have learned from my Ghanaian roommate and other students in my classes that this is very typical and that classes might not actually start until the second or third weeks. Once again, character building…patience. I am so excited for my classes this semester that I just want them to start now! Right now I am signed up for History of Western Medicine in Ghana, Twi Language, and Traditional African Dance. I still need one more class but I have much to choose from!
I am still getting to know the campus and find my way around but I am loving every minute of it. I feel like I am a freshman again on a brand new campus, living in a dorm, and feeling completely lost 85% of the time. Brings me back to the good old days…