Illova Blog #6: Reflecting on the Ghana Experience
Jan. 8, 2013
I picked Ghana because I wanted to experience something I have never experienced before, yet something that would maybe change my lifestyle a little. I knew life in Ghana was not easy and it would be tough to get used to, but I was ready for it. I have traveled and lived in developed countries before and I wanted to experience that kind of life where people’s values and preferences are completely different. In developed countries people think about what kind of smart phone they will buy or what kind of restaurant they will go to. In Ghana, these types of questions weren’t questions.
I went from the United States to Europe before continuing on to Ghana. In less than 12 hours, my life turned 360 degrees. I came from a developed country to a third-world country. I did not have the resources I had in the United States or Europe. I did not have stable access to things such as the internet, fresh water, electricity and so on. There were times where I really wanted some kind of comfort like sitting on a sofa in a living room with cup of tea. Once I started thinking this way I had to stop because I knew it would not happen until I returned home.
There were very hard times to face such as sickness, discrimination, etc., and I was actually questioning why I picked this country, but once I passed that mindset, I got used to it and started to enjoy being there. Everything became much easier.
I met amazing people, made really good friendships, traveled, and enjoyed my time with the people I met. Ghana gave me something countries in a global north could never give us. I learned so much about my self and my personality. I learned how to be more patient and how to help people who really need it. I learned how to value food and water and do my best not to be wasteful. I learned so much about African lifestyle and I can tell that not everyone from a developed country could handle such a life.
It hurts me when I see people being wasteful. I always picture or remember that Ghanaians would never be that wasteful with anything. It is impressive how people live there with just a little bit of what they receive.
I am very happy I went to Ghana. Now I understand the real values of life, and it is not in electronics or clothes, it is what you carry inside and how you share what you have. It was one of my highlights of the things I learned there. I learned to share. People there share everything. When I first got to Ghana, I thought I was selfish, but as time went on, I learned to share, and now I do not care if I share food, clothes, or body lotions.
I loved it there, and I know it was one of the best decisions in my life. I am proud of myself that I made the choice to study abroad in Ghana. I will never regret my decision.
All in all, I would like to thank everyone, who made this study abroad possible for me. I would especially like to thank my coach [Hans Olsen], who helped me a lot, and without him, I would not be able to share this amazing experience. THANK YOU!