I'm glad I came back home! September 05, 2018

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/25/2018 to 05/28/2018 with

CIEE: Legon - Arts + Sciences

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Since I am Ghanaian, I was able to reconnect with my country after being away for almost two decades. Although there times when I felt like a guest in my home, there were plenty of times where I felt at home and grateful to CIEE for having a program site in Ghana. I learned that there is no and never will be a place like home. I was able to learn more about my family history through stories told to me by my relatives as well as learning about different heroes of Ghana that shaped Ghana into what it is today. I definitely know this was an experience that I needed in my life to establish a new sense of peace in my life and my soul that I am able to carry with me wherever go for the rest of my life.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Classes met only once a week for 2 hours so there was a big gap between the next time you would see your teachers. Time was not something that was taken seriously because professors would hardly be on time. The classes I took were mostly discussion based classes so I was really assigned any homework which was a change from my home institution.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was absolutely amazing! Always ready and willing to answer questions and help us adjust to Ghana and everything in between. I really appreciated the helpline that they had which they responded to as soon as they could!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I mean it was a regular college dorm so what is typically expected. However, I did enjoy the fact that I was living in an international students' hostel because inside was a hair salon, laundry services, mini restaurant. It was nice.

* Food:

THE FOOD WAS DELICIOUS!!!!! I gained 10 pounds from abroad, but I'm not even mad because it was worth the weight gain.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I am Ghanaian so I already knew a lot about the culture so it just felt good to connect in depth with the locals. There were times when I did feel like "wow I am a foreigner", but for the most part, I was welcomed with open arms.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I didn't run into any safety issues, but I did have some friends who had stolen items or who were harassed at night when they were walking. The program did an extensive job of going over safety in Ghana during orientation as did the local students in informing us too. I would tell future students the same things that were told to us during orientation: walk in in groups if traveling at night, make sure to really protect your belongings/get cheap phone and bring it out with you.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

CIEE did a fantastic job immersing students in the culture of Ghana through the various trips the program took us on throughout the duration of the program. I was able to learn about the different regions of Ghana as well the culture and history that went along with that particular region. I also appreciated how accessible the staff was and how they always went above and beyond to help us and make our stay worthwhile. The staff was also very understanding of the various backgrounds of students in the program and they catered accordingly.

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

The exchange rate is amazing! 4.5 cedis to 1 American dollar. And, everything in the country in the eyes of a foreigner was very cheap. Also, I had family abroad who would help out with getting me food or supplies I needed.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Around $20-40
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Plan weekly what you will be spending money on because it helps you figure out if you have money leftover for miscellaneous expenses.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The trips
  • The food
  • The people
* What could be improved?
  • Orientation that doesn't focus on heavily emphasizing the negatives of Ghana and its people
  • Include more service trips that allows for more interactions with the locals
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Honestly, I had an advantage with having family already living there and having a friend who went the previous semester so I was heavily informed--however, I think just for future goers, planning to buy a cheaper phone may help ease the worry of losing your phone.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'