Monday, May 23, 2011

Cape Coast, Ghana, *John Enos

Where did you study abroad?
Cape Coast, Ghana

For how long? (and why did you choose that length?)
6 weeks…that was how long the program was. (It was a summer program).

Which program did you go through?
Davidson in Ghana (through my school, Davidson College)

Pre-departure preparations
Read a lot about Ghanaian and West African culture, visited the travel medicine clinic to get yellow fever immunizations and anti-malarial pills!

Beginning experiences and feelings upon arrival?
Amazed by the heat and humidity and thoroughly exhausted after 16 hours of traveling, but I was really excited to step foot on a new continent.

How did you feel at first: culture shock? excitement? nervous?
I wasn’t nervous, but I definitely experienced both excitement and culture shock. I hadn’t been to Africa before and everything was so different.

Best part
Experiencing the Ghanaian way of life, teaching kids at a secondary school, making Ghanaian friends, sampling the local cuisine, learning West African dance/drumming, etc.

Any difficulties? (cultural, language, etc)
I got malaria in the northern part of Ghana, near Burkina Faso. The northern part is quite undeveloped and hospitals are hard to find….somehow I survived!

Information about Cape Coast (best places to go, watch out for, etc..)
Cape Coast is an awesome city right on the water. Most of the touristy bars and restaurants were overpriced and underwhelming; I enjoyed just walking around, meeting locals, and eating Ghanaian cuisine. I learned to watch out for scamming taxi drivers.

What did you learn?
Life is much different in Ghana. Things happen at a different pace, perspectives are often unlike the American view, and the day-to-day life of an average Ghanaian is so much harder than what most Americans experience. It was really inspiring to see how hard-working and ambitious Ghanaians were – particularly the students I taught in the secondary school.

Any advice you’d give to a prospective study abroad student?
Go somewhere that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to go. It is pretty easy to visit Europe later in life on your own…it is much harder to travel independently to Africa, Southeast Asia, South America, or the Middle East. Keep an open mind and realize that the US isn’t the center of the universe and that much can be learned by traveling to new places and meeting new people.

No comments:

Post a Comment