While I did not participate in an internship, I did however receive funding to go on the faculty-led trip to Ghana with President Hanno in January 2020. Traveling to Ghana was one of the most unforgettable and memorable experiences of my life (I have had numerous dreams that I am back in Ghana or going back- and I would in a heartbeat! ). Deciding to go on this trip was a large step outside of my comfort zone, but I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of the 2020 Ghana Project and also proud of myself for working up the courage to do so.
This was a trip centered around entrepreneurship and business. This was one of my areas of discomfort- since I am a biology major. But, I was surprised and pleased to find out that a majority of the students going on the trip were also non- business majors. In the months leading up to departure, we attended lessons taught by President Hanno all about entrepreneurship and creating business plans. We would ultimately use what we learned in the pre-departure months to teach high school students in Ghana. President Hanno partnered us up and assigned us a school. We worked with our students for an entire week to make up their own unique business, a business plan, and a rocket pitch for the competition. At the end of the week, on Saturday, there was a final competition between all the high schools that participated where they presented their business idea and gave their rocket pitch. There must have been at least fifteen high schools that participated- the place was packed!
Breakfast before the first day of school! (Above, I am second from the bottom left.)
My partner and I during the final competition. We were given outfits to match their school colors. Many of the schools have their own unique pattern that has their school name and logo on it.
Of course, this trip wasn’t all business (literally and figuratively). While we spent a lot of our time teaching students, we had lots of free time and a handful of days where we got the opportunity to travel around Ghana and experience some of what the country had to offer. In the pre-departure months, we learned and educated ourselves all about the beautiful country of Ghana- their culture, government, food, economy, history, and more. This part of traveling is so important in order to be able to fully recognize and appreciate its beauty. One of my favorite parts of the trip was when a bunch of the kids in the city came to the church where we were staying and we read books to them and gave them goodie bags. They loved it and have looked forward to it every year! We stayed in the city of Sekondi-Takoradi. Just down the street from where we were staying was a fishing village. This was a very eye-opening experience. Many people who live in the fishing village are born and raised there and eventually build a life there too. It was a much different atmosphere than the rest of the city- much more intense.
A rooftop view of the fishing village down the street from where we were staying. As you can see, it was quite crowded with people, boats, and fish!
Towards the end of the trip, we did some more exploring of Ghana outside of where we were staying. One of the most humbling points of the trip and even my entire life was visiting one of the slave castles. The feeling you get when walking through the castle and listening to the tour guide is indescribable. I think I can speak for everyone on the trip when I say how powerful that experience was. The beauty of Ghana shone through once again during another one of my favorite parts of the trip- when we visited Kakum National Park in Cape Coast. We began with a hike and made our way all the way to the top to a canopy walk where we walked along seven walkways. Some of the seven walkways were as high as 160 feet! (not recommended if you are afraid of heights!). It was a perfect escape from the city environment we had been living in for the past week and a half.
A photo of the Elmina slave castle.
A few photos of the canopy walk in Kakum National Park in Cape Coast.