Name: Shardea

Major(s): Elementary Education with a concentration in Early and Special Education

Program: Temple in Ghana: African Civilization and Aesthetics

Where: Legon, Ghana

Highlight: Volunteering at Staff Village Elementary School

Best Excursion: Cape Coast

Next Destination: Egypt


Describe your living situation.

I lived in Volta Hall in a residence hall on the University of Ghana campus. I had one roommate, and we had two beds, two closets, two desks with chairs, and two extra sitting chairs. Our desks were in the back room, and everything else was in the front room. Yes, we had two rooms! We lived on the second floor of the dorm, and when we walked outside of our rooms, we overlooked a courtyard area filled with plants and trees. All the girls on the floor shared one bathroom, but we did have sinks in each of our rooms. We had running water and electricity for most of the days, but when we did not we filled buckets with water from a huge water storage container, and we used candles and flashlights for light.

How do you see this experience affecting your future?

This experience will affect my future because I am going to make sure that, when I become a teacher, I teach my students about Africa and my experience and how it is not what they may think. I will also tell them about the children there and will hopefully be able to start a pen pal relationship with the school I volunteered with in Ghana.  I will also continue to send Staff Village Elementary school supplies because being at that school made me realize that they lack resources more than any inner city school I have encountered.

Submit a piece of your writing that you feel captures an important aspect of your study abroad experience.

An excerpt from my journal on Day 19 July 27, 2007:

When we arrived at the Elmina Slave castle, there was a small festival taking place in the front, and we were bombarded by people trying to sell us things as soon as we got of our bus, “Jesus Power.”  When we walked into the castle, we walked into the courtyard area where there once was a church. You could also see some of the cells and the male and female dungeon signs. Our tour guide informed us that the castle was 525 years old and was originally used by the Portuguese to store spices and other raw materials that they had traded with the African people. But when the Portuguese saw how strong the African people were and how well they worked, they thought they could use them as workers in Portugal, which had weather similar to Africa, and Africans were less prone to disease, so they were later taken as slaves and instead of goods being stored, people ended up being stored. I was also able to see some of the original brick the slaves stood on and the original bars and wood planks that made up the structure over 500 years ago. We also found out that some of the walls were made out of human bones…..