Skip to main content

   Back to Countries | Submit a Reflection

Ghana

Amelia Rosenbery's Experience

Name: Amelia Rosenbery
Major: Allied Health Sciences
Program: Ghana Honors Service Learning
Traveled Abroad Before: No

Q: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your study abroad experience?
A: Unforgettable and indescribable. I do my best to explain to people what my experience was like, but it is one of those things that honestly if you haven't experienced it, your perceptions are no where close to the real thing.

Q: Why did you choose this destination?
A: It offered me the opportunities that I was looking for in a study abroad. It sort of just fell into my lap one day and it looked interesting so on a whim I applied, and I am so happy that I did.

Q: What are some things that surprised you about the campus, the classes, the culture, customs or traditions?
A: Wow, where to begin. I definitely learned more being out and about in their society than I did in the classroom. The culture was extremely faith based and it really opened my eyes to how materialistic we are in the US. I don't think I've ever met a happier group of people in my life. They have a tradition when you shake hands you snap off of the other persons middle finger and it was tricky at first, but once you got it down it was really fun, and the people always loved doing the handshake with you! One custom that was hard to grasp at first, but once I did it for so long I continue doing it at home, is that the right hand is your "clean" hand and left is "dirty". So if you were giving something to someone or eating you always use your right, because using your left is disrespectful, but if you need to pick up something off the floor or garbage, you need to use your left.

Q: What are some things you would like students to know about studying abroad in this destination or the program provider you studied with?
A: Do it. It is so worth it, and you will learn so much. Be prepared for something that is extremely different than being at home. It is a developing country so there are a lot of things that we have access to here in the US that you will soon realize you have taken for granted but you will learn SO much! And the fact that it is a GVSU faculty led trip, takes some of the stress away from you.

Q: What advice would you offer?
A: Be opened minded and try new things. You will come across things that you would never imagine doing or seeing at home, but it is what the Ghanaians are used too, and they love showing you things and teaching you about their culture. Just really try to immerse yourself into the whole experience. Also, if you can, try to learn the important things in their native language because people will always try and ask you how you're doing or where you are from and you will be confused until you get the hang of it!

Q: What was your academic goal while studying abroad?
A: My academic goal, was really just to see how their culture and their hospitals differed from ours. I did the medical rotations and it was so eye opening and amazing. I learned more than I ever anticipated I would learn.

Question? Email Amelia!

Sandra Price's Experience

Name: Sandra Price
Major: English
Program: Literature of the Slave Trade
Traveled Abroad Before: No

Q: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your study abroad experience?
A: There was so much change, and personal growth. It wasn't even about the classes. Yes, I came home with more credits than I left with, but what I learned about myself as a student and as a person was what I still remember today, not what we learned about.

Q: Why did you choose this destination?
A: It fit into my major, and was the cheapest one. Those were my initial reasons for going. After I started to tell people and I got the looks of "you're going...to Africa?", it became more of a symbolic thing for me, doing something I really wanted to do in face of everyone telling me it was a stupid and dangerous idea (which was an ignorant thing for them to say to me)

Q: What are some things that surprised you about the campus, the classes, the culture, customs or traditions?
A: Saying Hi to people was the biggest change for me, especially on the campus. In Ghanaian culture, everyone greets each other, says hi when you pass on the street. A very simple form of respect we've lost in today's society, I feel like. If you say hi to a stranger you're passing on campus, they will probably ignore you an just keep walking. One of the things culturally that was most difficult to get used to however, was the constant use of my right hand. In Ghanaian culture, it's rude and unsanitary to use your left hand for interacting (shaking hands, handing someone money), and I am a very left handed person. I was constantly insulting people and having to apologize, because it was never something I've ever had to think about. Eventually I got into the hang of it, but it was so tough.

Q: What are some things you would like students to know about studying abroad in this destination or the program provider you studied with?
A: Learn about the culture before hand. Go into Ghana knowing a few words. Everyone I met (most specifically Taxi drivers, some of the nicest people you'll ever meet) would try to teach me a new word. If you walk in knowing your day name, or how to say hello in Fanti, that helps bridge the gaps between cultures so much. People are so much friendlier once they realize that you've put in time and effort into their culture and it erases the traveling "ugly American" stereotype.

Q: What advice would you offer?
A: Do things that scare you, that make you uncomfortable. The motto of this study abroad trip has been "There is no growth in a comfort zone, and no comfort in a growth zone." Realizing that and embracing it helped me the most while I was in Ghana. Anxiety is something I've struggled with all my life, but putting myself out there and doing things I wouldn't normally (this includes going to Ghana itself) has made me realize so much more about myself than if I had just stayed home and taken these classes in the US.

Q: What was your academic goal while studying abroad?
A: To learn about a culture different from me. While the content of the courses weren't unfamiliar to me, where we were going was completely foreign. I wanted to learn the most that I could learn from Ghana, and staying at the University of Cape Coast, specifically all of the things I couldn't learn when I was at home.

Question? Email Sandra!

Back to Countries | Submit a Reflection
Page: 1 2 3