Illova Blog #2: School in Ghana
Sept. 24, 2012
Senior women's tennis player Tatianna Illova is studying abroad in Ghana, Africa for the Fall 2012 semester, and will be blogging to share her experiences during her time over there. Tune in for updates over the next few months to see what she has to share.
The school system in Ghana is very different than the one in the U.S. One day, my friend Aja and I went to class, but when we got there , a completely different class was being taught, with different students and a different teacher than usual. We were very confused. The class was packed with Ghanaian students, and my friend and I were the only two “obronies” (that is what Ghanaian’s call a white person). They scream “bronze” whenever and wherever they see us, and sometimes it gets very offensive. After realizing it was a different lecture in our classroom, we left for the political science department to figure out what happened to our lecture. Another professor tried to call our teacher, but could not get a hold of him, so they just sent us home and told us to come back next week. We have each class just once a week for two hours, plus one tutorial per week, which lasts one hour.
Tatiana's residence hall
Everything takes a long time here. Half of the semester is almost over already and some of our tutorials have not even started yet, and they all say that attendance is required. Although, when we go to one, no one shows up, neither students nor our TA (teaching assistant). Last week, we came to our tutorial and there were 8 “obronies” and no one else, so the other TA's sitting in next room told us to leave and come again next week. If something doesn’t go the way it should, they always say “next week”. I still have not received all of my syllabi for my classes, and I do not even think I will get them since the semester is already half-finished. It took two weeks for instructors to show up in class and teach to start the semester!
There are not enough books for all of the students. There is maybe one or two of them in our department, which is not nearly enough for all 200 students. We have required material to read so they just make as many copies so everybody gets one, but it doesn’t always happen. When they run out of copies they tell you to come “next week."
A classroom Tatiana where attends class
They offer many different, very interesting majors and classes. I am taking 6 political science classes, and they are at the 300 and 400 levels. In each class I have at least 100 or 200 classmates. All of my lectures are very big because they do not have enough classrooms. That is the reason why they have very big classes and meet just once a week. What I really like about our teachers is that they do not use PowerPoint presentations. They keep everything in their minds, and come prepared to teach with or without a very brief outline on a piece of paper.
I like their school system because it is very chill and relaxed. Students and instructors laugh at things during lectures, and instructors call the students “friends” which I find very nice. When somebody arrives late it is not a very big deal because in Ghana nothing is ever on time.