Student Corner: Summers Abroad

Black Alumni Society student representatives Sterling Clemmons and Alexandria Jackson spent the summer of 2017 away from home learning about two unique cultures. Read about their travels to Ghana and Spain below.

By: Sterling Clemmons

On July 24, 2017, I had the privilege of stepping onto a plane and heading to Senya Beraku, Ghana for two weeks. With 12 other individuals, under the direction of Buck-i-Serv and The Akumanyi Foundation, we set out to lend a helping hand to the women and children at Becky’s Home. The Akumanyi Foundation is a non-profit organization that works in Ghana to improve the lives and the living conditions of vulnerable youth and women. Becky’s Home cares for over 50 orphaned and vulnerable youth. Additionally, the founders of the home also run a primary and middle school that serves 400 students from the surrounding villages.

For one of our fun excursions, we were able to visit Cape Coast, Ghana. While in Cape Coast we visited one of the largest and most historic slave castles. Sitting in the very same dungeons and walking out of the door of no return was something I never thought I would see in real life. The culture and strength of the people in Ghana is so prominent despite its bruised and battered history.

While in Ghana I was immersed in the culture. We took showers with buckets using rain water, ate Ghanaian food, and even picked up on a little bit of Twi. While helping with the day-to-day operations at the children’s home, we also got to experience what a school in the village looked like. With building conditions not being up to par, we also visited the site for the new school that is in the works of being built. There is a need for 25,000 Ghana cedi, around 6,000 USD, in order to just get the foundation laid for the school. This part was the most informative for me as I have been studying Education Policy here at The Ohio State University. To see how they think that learning English will advance them in their studies and career opposed to their native language is disheartening because of the American dominance over the world.

I would definitely recommend this trip for everyone! I had a boat load of fun, but I also had an eye-opening experience. We often complain about our children not having updated books in the classrooms or technology, but to see a classroom with wooden benches, no doors, and an outrageous student to teacher ratio. Not to say that our situations are not serious, but seeing people having much less, yet seeming so fulfilled, left me inspired. Okyena (Tomorrow; Used to say “I’ll see you tomorrow”) Ghana, can’t wait to come back!

 

By: Alexandria Jackson

This summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Madrid, Spain and intern for a non-profit company called Fundación Aladina. Fundación Aladina is a small company who helps children with cancer throughout Spain. While working with this company, I was able to enhance my marketing skills and improve my Spanish! I was also immersed in the Spanish culture — fun fact in Spain a tortilla is made with potatoes and onions! Not only was I able to see Spain, but I was also able to travel to four other countries in Europe.  My favorite city that I visited while in Europe was Barcelona! The city is only 2 hours away from Madrid but the culture is completely different and there is a beach there! The opportunity I had this summer to travel and intern in Spain was unforgettable! Being able to learn more about my major and another culture was truly a great experience.