Cape Coast Ghana views from a student
:25 AM, Busua Resort
Now Playing: Super Rich Kids
It amazing to me that all it took was a summer job, a subsidized loan application and a plane ticket for a few thousand miles to make you a rich man. That’s what I feel like here. And that’s definitely how the little kids playing just a few yards from me feel. Takuradi is a small, underdeveloped city just an hour or more from Cape Coast. Many of the streets are littered with trash, it’s houses roofed with tarp, it’s inhabitants a very poor, quite people. Yesterday I jumped on a van with three Swedish girls (Denise, Stina and Fanny) and my American roommate Grady and headed to the Busua Beach Resort, a small, cosey bed and breakfast run by a an old French couple.
It would stupidly the senses to see how breathtaking the beach is at night and just after dawn. The crystal waters surging closer and closer as the tides bears in, I’m sure I don’t deserve the gift. All day long Africans, young and old, walk along the sure, swim its waters, fish from the deepest part of its gut, carefree from the outside looking in. They laugh at us for sitting on our patios, 100 Cedi balconies, from behind our mimosas and fruit salads, oddly amused that were choosing not to partake in this wonderful beach at all times of the day. We appreciate the aesthetic of it all, run to get our toes wet, maybe take a few waves head on, then retreat back to our safe havens and stone walls. “We are the not same”, we’re telling them. “Everyone’s the same here”, they seem to respond. They observe us as if we’re aliens that they’ve gotten used to, that they tolerate; we see them as locals of this strange planet that is so beautiful yet generates no prosperity for them.
I’m a lowly, unemployed college student over my head in student debt and struggling to find a notable graduate school to attend for free, yet here they think I must be some kind of wealthy, spoiled probably, trust-fund child that hasn’t a care in the world. They see my iPad and gather importance, my fancy cropped pants and figure celebrity, my extravagant meal that actually is cheap in comparison to the US cost of living and devise that I am a millionaire: life here is a act, but I still play the part. So, TIP #27: They’re more afraid of you than you are of them lol (aka babies running around covered in sand)
China finding our comfort zone…
Before starting this journey, I do not believe we had any idea of what would be in store for us. One week into our trip we have come to the realization that in order to survive the four months studying abroad, we must be open minded, willing to step outside of our comfort zone, adapt and integrate into the culture. With that mindset, we will enjoy our experience and return to Savannah State University as more matured and cultured individuals. Though the living conditions are very different than in the US, the most difficult part (in my opinion) has been getting to know one another- the group of 8 SSU students that traveled and set on this journey together. Not only are we learning and soaking in the experience and culture, we are also learning to communicate and live with 7 other individuals that we did not know prior to this trip. I believe this is teaching us how to deal with different personalities, patience, compromise, and most importantly the true meaning and importance of teamwork. Never did I think that studying abroad would teach me teamwork. Teamwork has become an important part of the working culture and many businesses now look at teamwork skills when evaluating a person for employment, so I would say this experience would be life changing and beneficial to our future en-devours in our careers in more ways than we thought.
Four months away from everything you know and have grown comfortable to be extremely tough. I do not believe this really set in until we found ourselves in a country where it is difficult to find the food we are used to eating and where the time difference conflicts with our family and friends daily life schedules. It has been a little over a week and we have found at least four restaurants that serve Western food and though it taste nothing like the food at home, it is the closest thing we have to it. We have found, however, that though the food here is different here, it did not take long getting used to and we have found some really good food. A little over a week and we are counting down the minutes to hear the voices that make us feel closer to home. A little over a week and we have made tons of friends, have learned some of the customs and culture differences, and have gotten a sneak peek into what makes China different from the USA. The staff and students at Jiujiang University have welcomed us with open arms and have made us feel as if we fit and belong. This is just the beginning though, the best is yet to come …
China Exchange Student Shares Her First Impressions
Apprehensive, afraid and not knowing what to expect was how I felt before leaving the country. Coming to China has been one of the greatest decisions of my life thus far. When I first arrived, it took a while to get used to the time difference, food differences, and most of all the Chinese culture, and needless to say I am still learning. When we first arrived in the city of Juijiang it was beautiful, bright lights everywhere especially since we came at night. The volunteers, Angel, Neo, Liz and the others took us to our hotel rooms and out to dinner, oh what a surprise! When we got into the hotel everyone was tired from the long plane ride, so we wanted a hot shower and to relax. When we saw the restrooms we were shocked. In china, they do not have tubs, they have just showers and it gets the whole bathroom wet while showering! Crazy, but it gets normal afterwhile, not knowing that the Chinese food was totally different I first ordered beef and rice, but I did not like the taste so I changed my order and got beef and noodles…DELICIOUS! The Chinese food is way better in China than it is in America, it is a little spicy but they give you large amounts and you would definitely become full before you know it. Enough of the food, the Chinese people are sooo nice it is creepy! They are very friendly and polite and are ecstatic to see Americans. Yesterday, Shivonne, Sade’ and I met two ladies who treated us to dinner and gave us a tour of the city. So far my experience has been amazing and I cannot wait to see what else china has in store for us.
KNUST, Kumasi week 4
This week marks the end of our fourth week here in Kumasi, Ghana. We have faced many obstacles on our journey, but it finally seems things are falling into place. This week we are all attending regular classes and getting a better understanding of our schedules and locations of our classes. Sitting through full classes has been quite an experience. Initially I went to class thinking I would just grab a seat and go with the flow…. not the case. In order for you to have a seat in a class you must find an empty class and politely take a seat from there and move it to your classroom before the lecturer arrives. I was lucky enough to have met people that got me a good seat, but even in the front of the class I could see the teacher’s mouth moving but couldn’t understand the words coming out. It took me about 1 hour and 15 minutes of the 2 hour class to start picking up on his accent. My teacher provided us with a list of books we would need for our classes, it totaled at about 20 US dollars I was elated!!, SSU should take note of these practices lol. My math class was Thursday evening, as I entered the lecture hall I double checked my location to make sure that this could not be my math class. There were about 300 students and more were entering behind me. When the lecturer arrived I looked behind me there had to have been 500 students there (not and exaggeration) I’m sure that class will be very interesting. Overall, everyone seems to be getting very well adjusted to the differences between being here and being back at SSU. We have been meeting people all over Ghana, and getting a true Ghana experience. Getting situated in classes has granted us the opportunity to really interact with the student body here at KNUST. We met with the leader of a Waste and Recycling Management club and volunteered to help them clean up and educate the people about the importance of Recycling, they loved the idea of having a partnership with Savannah State University.
After a long week of reading, walking, studying and networking we had the honor of celebrating the birthday of Shalanda Harper. We took this opportunity to see what the nightlife is here in Africa. As I sat in my room weeks before my departure to Ghana pondering what to pack evening wear didn’t even cross my mind, now that I’m here I am totally unprepared for the scene in Africa. The people really know how to party here and through our networking we were able to really get a first class introduction to all the hot spots in the city. This weekend was a welcomed distraction from the stressors of adjusting to classes, cultural differences, various religious preferences, power outages, language barriers and a multitude of other things we battled since our arrival here. We went to a different social event each day of the weekend. Having cars back at SSU made things so easy, taxis are the #1 mode of travel here making traveling with 15 people quite a task on top of the language barrier, let’s just say it’s been an experience. We ended our weekend at The Golden Tulip, the largest hotel in Kumasi. We went there and got all the American food we could eat Burgers, fries, fajitas and so much. Our bill was 358 Ghana Cedis but it was worth it.
I am having a wonderful time here and I’m looking forward to our next adventure and learning more about Ghana and its history, culture and differences.
Cape Coast week 2
The extraordinary experience of studying abroad anywhere in this complex world of ours come with a great deal of change and adaptation. From the cultural differences, religious preferences, domestic living, and language barriers, studying abroad can be a huge culture shock for any student. I didn’t quite understand what I was getting myself into while eagerly waiting to board that flight to Accra, Ghana, but now I am fully aware of my new surroundings.
While studying at the University of Cape Coast for only a mere two weeks, this experience has been very interesting to say the least. We’ve already had the pleasure of visitingsome of Ghana’s most famous attractions. Some include the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and Museum, a museum that houses publications, photographs, personal belongings, and the bodyof the late Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president. Nkrumah is very much respected and honored for his time served as the president and improving Ghana’s economy, financially and socially.
We also had the opportunity of visiting the intriguing slave castles, located alongside the shores of the Atlantic. The tour guide led us through the gloomy, narrow hallsand cramped, dark rooms of these castles as he carefully explained how our ancestors sufferedin numerous ways before being shipped and sold to America for centuries of slavery, injustice,and oppression. The tour guide also led us through “The Door of No Return,” the door the slaves were forced to walk through but would never return back. Walking through that door was very emotional for me. It’s funny how they call these dwellings “castles”, because those doors didn’t lead to any fairy tale ending. Although the temperature read ninety degrees, the atmosphere in that castle was very chilling.
On a lighter note, we were able to visit Cape Coast National Park, where we participated in the daring, yet exciting Canopy Walk. They say its best you don’t look down, but I couldn’t help it! I looked down the entire way, but I still finished. In addition to the Canopy Walk, we went to the markets which they call, “Anaafo Market” to scan and barter various items from colorful clothing to household products, to a variety of food in its freshest form. A lot of the sellers were very warm and welcoming, greeting us with “Akwaaba” (welcome) and compliments while others just stared in amazement.
Before arriving in Ghana, I had expectations, which was a huge mistake. However, this experience so far has been one of a kind. Although we’ve been here for a few weeks, I’ve witnessed and learned so much about the culture. I understand I have a plethora of events to experience and I am anxious, yet excited to see what’s more in store for my journey for the next five months!
Observations from KNUST
This week has been very eventful!! We all started our classes and to my surprise classes are two hours but only once a week! I am taking Ghanaian dance, Rites of passage, Intro to drumming, and English. All of these classes have been very interesting so far so the two hours flew by in no time. One thing that was interesting to me was that there were no books and we had to pay for our notes which is basically a packet explaining the topics and information given in class and it also comes with our handouts, but you do not get them until the very last person pays so that may be for another couple of weeks.
Friday we went to the Kakum National Park and did the Canopy Walk. There were seven bridges in total each almost 60 feet high. I punked out at the last minute and took the two bridge shortcut which was still two bridges too high!! After that hilarious experience we digressed, caught lunch and went on to a not so hilarious and very serious place, The Elmina Castle, which is largest slave holding castle in West Africa. It was a tear jerking, heart string pulling, yet very informative trip. As we were being told about the history of the place and the horrific things that took place you could not even imagine half of what went on there. I think the thing that got me the most was when we had to go in the holding cells. There were two cells side by side, one had windows and the other had a skull and cross so you can guess which one was for the Africans. We walked into the cell with the windows first and our tour guide explain how that was for the soldiers that were misbehaving and they were sent there for punishment but only for a couple of hours and they were given food and water “No one ever died in this cell” said our tour guide. As we walked to the next cell with the skull and cross bones there was an instant change in the atmosphere. The room became darker and the air very thick. As I looked around I could see not one window “No one ever survived in this room” said our your guide as he closed the large metal gate and locked us in. Looking through the vertical and horizontal bars and looking around and seeing the scratches on the wall and just trying to imagine the many faces that stood there in that exact spot knowing that the moment they stepped in that cell that they will never step out. Even though it was only for a few seconds the feeling that came over me as he closed the door made my soul shake.
Since I have been blessed to be born within these times, I refuse to live life enslaved in ignorance. My ancestors fought and died for my freedom and for me to not take advantage of every opportunity given in life is utterly disrespectful. This was a great way to start of Black History Month and I will continue to cherish every moment of this trip forever.
KNUST In Kumasi
Since our departure from America, we have been through a wonderful journey. We visited Brussels, Belgium, Holland, Amsterdam, and finally touched to Ghana, West Africa where the city is live from sun up to sun down. During the past week we had a chance to visit Lake Bosomtwe. Lake Bosomtwe is the largest natural lake in West Africa! This lake was formed about 107 million years ago when a large meteorite hit the ground and created a massive whole, which is now one of main attractions in Kumasi, Ghana. At the lake, we were able to go out on the boat, feed the fish in the traps, take pictures along the shore and endulged in some natural vine wine. We also, had a chance to taste a few Ghanaian treats by the lake side which included sweet popcorn, cocoa, plantain, and yams fresh from the trees. We watched and participated with the local people from 22 communities as they danced, splashed fresh water from the lake, and celebrated life! I am very blessed to be here and look forward to what each day will bring. .
Sophomore, Behavior Analysis Major
University of Cape Coast
January 28, 2013
So Its been about ONE WEEK since we (Jadon, Sharana, and I) have been here in Africa! We have done so much in so little time; enjoyed the beautiful beach, visited the historical slave castle, hiked through the forest (about 60 feet high), sipped cocktails and partied with locals. We have also done some not so glamorous things, we have taken bucket baths, hand washed clothes, fetched water from the water tank and we have had many kung fu fights with pesky mosquitos. But this experience is overall 100% worth it and I am thankful and humbled. Besides the occasional water shortage and wifi disappearing act, Ghana is a very beautiful place with very helpful people. We stay in a hostel for graduate students with about ten other “International Students”! We quickly formed a tight bond with the other international students and we have all been stuck together since our first introduction. We signed up for classes Thursday and we are scheduled to begin our school year at The University of Cape Coast on Monday, January 28th and we are excited to start classes and meet new friends. We are ultimately learning to adapt to our life here in Ghana and we are anticipating quite a journey! Thank You all for the continuous support! Until next time…… Peace. Love. AFRICA.
Nakia Stephens xoxox
SSU Students travel to Kumasi & Cape Coast, Ghana
This has been an eventful week for some of our Savannah State students. We had our first group of 11 students leave the United States to spend a semester at KNUST University in Kumasi, Ghana. Today, we will wave goodbye to 3 more SSU students as they embark on their journey to Cape Coast University.
Over the course of the next 4 months we will follow along in their journey through their pictures and stories they will be sharing with us each week.