Traveling around the world has been a dream of mine since I pushed a pin into Barcelona, Spain on my National Geographic world map poster. I studied Spanish in both high school and college, so I figured my first trip abroad would be to Europe. There I would eat paella, drink sangria, and meet my hot Spanish boyfriend who would become my hot Spanish husband. Instead, I spent a semester during my junior year in college at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana thanks to my academic advisor, Dr. Samuel Owusu-Ofori. This was one of the most AMAZING experiences of my life!!!!
Going to Ghana was the first time I spent extended time out of the country. The first time I left the country was during a day trip to the Bahamas during my Senior Trip. I also received the first stamp in my passport! This study abroad experience enriched my life in so many ways. I know it continues to better me as a citizen of the world.
One of the interesting highlights was taking a class where I was the only student. During the spring semester of my junior year, I had to take my second Thermodynamics course, which was not being offered while I was attending KNUST. To accommodate me (and keep me on schedule), I took Thermodynamics II in a class of one! That’s right, it was just me and the professor, which means I had no choice but to pay attention at all times, so there was plenty of awkward and intense eye contact. However, I aced that class!
One of the most terrifying experiences for me was taking the Kakum Canopy Walk. As someone with an extreme fear of heights, I still can’t believe I walked across all 7 of those rope bridges! For most people, this walk is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience the beauty of an African jungle. For me, it was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience, but I did not get to enjoy my exotic surrounding because I was trying not to have a panic attack and thinking about plunging to my death. We also visited several Ghanaian cultural sites during our time in Accra including the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Ghana’s Slave Castles. I stood at the “Door of No Return,” and listen to the sounds of the ocean and tried to connect with the spirits of my ancestors.
During my study abroad experience, I also fell in love for the second time with a fellow student at KNUST. He was a senior student preparing for his thesis defense because KNUST students must complete and defend a thesis in order to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree!!!! For those few months, we were nearly inseparable. I spent almost all of my free time with D. Like most study abroad relationships, the love didn’t last, but we still keep in touch.
Overall, I had the most wonderful study abroad experience. One day, I hope to return and experience the parts of Ghana I missed the first time around.
Have you ever had a study abroad experience?