A common question I was asked prior to departure was, “Why Ghana?” The reasons I provided originally served only as a partial explanation of why Ghana was the ideal country for my study abroad program.
After a full month in Ghana, I feel my decision to go against so many people’s wishes and study abroad in Ghana will serve as a precedent to go with my gut. From the location to the program I chose to participate in, nothing could have been a better fit for me. Classes here are quite similar to those back home, with the exception of certain societal norms. The cuisine is familial to my beloved Nigerian food — but Nigerian jollof is better than Ghanaian jollof. Ghanaians are generally friendly — it’s high-key in their societal composition and low-key in their DNA.
Growing up, I was raised in a black-majority county and mostly went to a black-majority school. After that, I still decided to attend a historically-black college and university, so there is no cultural shock in that regard when I came to Ghana. The cold showers were normal too, after spending almost a month in Nigeria prior to my arrival in Ghana. I felt I was ready for Ghana, and Ghana was ready for me.
Everyday is not as luxurious as it is in the United States, but it is valuable. I learned the art of bargaining, picked up some words in Twi and learned to love myself. By being surrounded by others who look just like you, the ideals of beauty no longer excludes you, but instead becomes you.
Today marks week five in Ghana and I am learning to adapt beautifully to something other than American and Nigerian culture. I think I am finally becoming a global citizen, being able to understand and appreciate a lifestyle different than my own. Could I have done it elsewhere? Probably, but choosing Ghana was the best decision I have made so far in life and everyday I realize it more and more.
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