Kent State Students Embark on Education-Abroad Trip to Ghana
Kent State Associate Professor Francis Dorsey, Ph.D., with the Department of Pan-African Studies, led a team of students this summer for the university’s first education-abroad trip to Ghana. The 10-day trip was planned as a multidisciplinary academic opportunity for students to discover and engage in the sociocultural aspects of a West African country.
“Education-abroad gives students an opportunity to expand their horizons academically, socially and culturally,” Dorsey says. “This was the first group to participate in the Ghana: Study-Abroad program and they well represented Kent State University. I have already started planning for Ghana: Study-Abroad for Summer Intersession 2013.”
The students who went on the trip were from different majors, including early childhood education, history, Pan-African studies, deaf education, art education, architecture and international relations. The cost for the trip was $3,900, which covered airfare, taxi service, entrance fees to museums and parks, room and board and three meals a day.
The students took along school supplies and toys for children in Atonkwa Village — in the Cape Coast area of the country. They also had the opportunity to visit slave dungeons, a rainforest and a game reserve while in Ghana.
The Students Describe Their Experience
Students who embarked on the trip returned with life experiences that they will not soon forget. International relations major Rachel Fuller had a great experience in Ghana and recommends the trip to other Kent State students.
“Ghana was like visiting a home I never knew I had. The citizens of Accra and Cape Coast were so eager to say ‘welcome,’" she says. “The coastline truly has a beauty that I had never known possible. There is something magical in the air there that is highly contagious, with a side effect of a permanent smile. I have such great hopes for future students that decide to take this trip. Having experienced it myself, I know they're in for something special.”
For art education major Emma Unsworth, the trip was a must because she has always been interested in African culture. Unsworth made new friends in Ghana and is still in contact with some of them.
“It was truly a life changing experience. I loved everything about it and feel it enriched my college experience immensely,” Unsworth says. “The food we ate, the people we met and interacted with, we learned dance, drumming, how different processes of art are made, we did so much! It has also completely given me the travel bug as I started looking into my next education-abroad opportunity almost as soon as I got back. I would encourage any student to do this trip. It's something that I can't fully explain except to say just go!”
Early childhood education major Jennifer Rife also describes the trip as rewarding for her. Rife met with other teachers in Ghana and was able to talk about their views on education techniques and learn from their lesson plans and their conversations.
“I met people whose kindness and unique perspectives on life have stuck with me and will continue to do so for years to come,” Rife says. “I believe that to truly understand a country’s culture, one needs to eat with them, talk with them and jump right into their customs to develop an understanding and respect for them. I have fallen in love with Ghana and I cannot wait to return. The people are amazing, the landscape is beautiful, the food is delicious and the culture is freeing.”
The students were required to keep a reflective daily journal during their two-week stay in Ghana, from class readings, assignments, discussions and personal observations acquired during tours, field trips and other interactions.
On future trips, Dorsey hopes to involve students more in service projects as well.
For more information about the Ghana education-abroad trip, contact Dorsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.