Jacob Farrell '14
Downingtown, Pa. | Bishop Shanahan High School
I knew I wanted to use my GO Long experience to challenge myself, so I chose an environment that was as different from my own as possible.
When I arrived in Ghana, I was dropped into a world that I had to quickly adapt to. Reading in a magazine or textbook about eating with your hands in accord with local customs, or watching an online video of a traditional tribal dance cannot compare to breathing in those experiences firsthand!
The first thing I noticed was that practices and common occurrences that we would consider "normal" in the U.S. were quite the opposite in Ghana. For example, religion was always a topic of conversation. Complete strangers would approach me with questions about my religion and how I felt about God.
I took a full course load at the University of Ghana, but I also worked part-time at an orphanage for young boys. I tutored the kids and helped to take care of them. I also joined with some friends to work at a small school on the coast, where we helped with teaching and consulted with the school administrators. It was an incredibly humbling experience-- one that completely changed my perspective on possession and necessity.
There was political turmoil before I arrived in Ghana because the president had died recently. There was violence in some areas, but none near me. Before I departed for home, however, a new president was elected and I was able to race down to city-square to photograph the amazing rallies and riots that were taking place by both supporters of the new president and the opposition.
During this trip I learned more about myself, as well as my future career path. I also experienced a culture that was very different from my own. As difficult as it was sometimes, especially with no hot water, the little things made me love Ghanaian culture more and more everyday.
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Suhs-kwuh-pee-dee-uh (n): A collection of experiences, topics, and personalities that makes Susquehanna University unique.