Akwaaba to Ghana
As my first official blogpost on this site, I thought it good to start completely fresh- in a brand new country! Here I am, writing from Accra, Ghana, where I am studying abroad at the University of Ghana, a large research university that draws in students from around the world.
Time is already flying here, as I just passed the two-week mark, and I have quickly settled in to this place that will be my home for the next few months. Returning back to dorm life has perhaps been the more difficult adjustment for me, although combining this with new food, customs, and people proved to make my first few days here a bit rough emotionally. It has always been hard for me to adjust well to change at first, especially when it is related to college. There is always an adjustment period with any big life change, and moving to a school continents away from home felt colossal! However, (almost) all homesickness has ceased now, and I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know my new environment.
The past couple of weeks have been filled with hundreds of new faces as international students from around the U.S. and the world have poured into the international student hostels (where we are all housed for the semester) for our group orientations. I have met students from almost every state, all studying through different programs paired with the University of Ghana, similar to my SUNY program. I am in a small group of 7 students, whereas some of the other programs are as large as 25 students. During the first few days we would split up with our various Ghanaian leaders and student guides, getting to know the people in our groups as well as some of the locals who have taken us under their wing. From debriefing on the university safety rules to buying new track phones to use here, we were given a lot of information in a short period of time, forced to adapt quickly to our new way of life.
Just two weeks in Ghana and I have already tried foods way spicier than I have ever tasted, ridden in a Tro Tro for the first time, learned the names of many fellow international students, walked across 7 wooden bridges high in the jungle, dipped my toes in the ocean, seen a pet monkey, been in the presence of W.E.B. DuBois' and President Kwame Nkrumah's graves, and eaten fresh coconut more than once a day.
Although I did have an incident with a speeding taxi and my clumsy left foot (it got run over by aforementioned taxi- but I am alive and well, just with a more bruised foot than before), so far my time in Ghana has been comprised of long, fun days, filled with endless new sights, sounds, and smells as I have observed the vibrant culture around me. As I often do when I travel, much of this observation has been from behind the lens of a camera, so I have attached a few of my favorite shots from this week below.
I plan to write more frequently (and more eloquently!) as I continue this new journey, delving deeper into sensory detail to illustrate Ghana as best I can to those of you reading this back home. I know there are a few of you (ahem, Mom and Dad), who are waiting with baited breath for my every word, and as for the rest of you, thanks for reading my words and looking at my photos; having such a grounding community back home is one of the things that makes traveling possible for me at all! Blessings to you all