i seem to have always had this urge to not necessarily turn my back on my roots or my place – and not out of dissatisfaction – but to move around, to explore, knowing that there was more for me to see, and a larger world that i was, and am, a part of. studying abroad seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to do this, and was for me essential.
i am a very particular person, but when choosing where to study abroad, i was not picky. because my language skills were not up to par, i was limited to studying in a country where english was the language of instruction. the other determining factor: choose someplace totally different. i figured this was my chance to put myself in a completely unique, and perhaps for a while, uncomfortable place, in that i would be lost, frustrated, shocked and/or scared. i also know that i am a pretty adaptable creature, smart and headstrong enough to survive any situation, enjoy the ride, and emerge a better person. for this reason, and because i had never before heard of ghana, that’s where i chose to spend my year abroad.
my experience there was somehow exactly as i predicted, difficult at first, frustrating, but over all, truly the most wonderful year of my life. my experience there was also nothing i could have ever imagined. the color, the vibrancy and cultural richness of the people and the country was touching, at times overwhelming. perhaps because the market embodied this spirit, i found myself returning to the market every day, sometimes all day, talking with the market women, learning more twi. it was a place i felt secure and comfortable, a place that accepted me, a place where i learned and grew. i knew that my time there, and in ghana, was temporary, and that only made my place there more precious.
i am honored to have been selected to receive a scholarship in memory of chris, enabling me to have this opportunity. i feel blessed for my experience, and hope i have lived up to chris’ engaging cultural spirit. i will treasure always this year of my life, and often reflect on it, smiling, knowing that it was indeed real, better – more challenging and more rewarding – than i ever could have imagined.