Ohio University Photos

Studying abroad in Ghana

Story and Photographs by Alyssa Nedrow

Our ancestor’s said, “One must come out of one’s house to begin learning” (African Proverb).

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 2.12.32 PMOver winter break I did just that; I left the comfort of my home and my family, need I mention over the holiday’s, and traveled across the Atlantic ocean to live and study in the West African country, Ghana. Never before did I think this dream of mine would come true; to be honest while I was there many times it did not feel real. But, it was an experience that I have gained so much from. It just hit me the other day that I am only 20 years old and already I have traveled to Scotland and Ghana, to think that these are opportunities many people never experience in their lifetime and I have already accomplished them.

First thing’s first, I want you to close your eyes and picture Africa. Those images you see of safaris, wild animals, mass corruption and tribes. Well, my friends please erase that image because not all of that is true, at least not in Ghana where I was located. Instead I am going to paint a new picture. Picture the African continent, it is huge, it is the second largest continent made up of 54 countries and over 2500 ethnic groups and languages. So, the Africa you imagined may have been one full of stereotypes. Like anywhere there are various climates and vegetation zones. So, let’s narrow in on where I lived for over three weeks, Ghana. Ghana is located in West Africa on the coast, it is a tropical region; so, no lions, tigers, but wait there are goats!

Street Sisters Creche. © Alyssa Nedrow
Street Sisters Creche. © Alyssa Nedrow

So, the whole reason I was able to spend three and a half weeks in Ghana was because I was accepted along with 18 other students to Ohio University’s study abroad program Ghana: Media, Society and Governance associated with the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Institute for International Journalism. While there we took classes at African University College of Communications, centered in the capital city Accra, as well as had an internship placed with either a local media organization or Non-governmental organization (NGO). I was place with a local NGO known as Street Sister’s Crèche. This opportunity is probably the one that left the biggest imprint on my heart. While at Street Sister myself and three of my colleagues played with the kids, ages 3-10, helped serve and clean up lunch and sat in one day on their classroom. All I can say is the kids were magical, they were so happy to play with us and almost never left our sides. I always had at least two kids holding onto my hands at one time. They taught us games songs, and jumped at the chance to play with our hair. But more than teaching us games and songs they taught me happiness. They almost always had a smile on their face, never complained and even though some of them probably had next to nothing they were just so happy to be living life. The biggest thing I took away from them is to that I could ever think my life could be so complicated I need to step back and think again. Sure we all have our own trials as we go through life but that does not mean that we stop enjoying life.

There were many things that I experienced during my time in Ghana; the pollution is unreal, they burn their trash, there is definitely extreme poverty but, they are on the rise. The people are some of the friendliest people you could ever meet and like the kids they truly have a joy for living. I highly suggest that while in college take advantage of study abroad programs, they truly enrich your life and teach you more than you could ever learn living in the comfort of your own home. As the African proverb says, “One must leave one’s house to begin learning.” So, take every opportunity to travel, go out there and experience something new and learn what the world has to offer. Adventure is out there and it will change your life, for the better.

  • Christ Faith Foster Home and School. Christ Faith Foster Home and School.
  • Fishing village and beach of Cape Coast near Cape Coast Castle. Fishing village and beach of Cape Coast near Cape Coast Castle.
  • Popular Ghanian dish, Banku, a corn based dough in a fish sauce. Popular Ghanian dish, Banku, a corn based dough in a fish sauce.
  • Ohio University students sit in on a Africanism class at African University College of Communication. Ohio University students sit in on a Africanism class at African University College of Communication.
  • Street Sisters Creche. Street Sisters Creche.
  • Street Sisters Creche. Street Sisters Creche.
  • Kofi holds a palm nut from a palm tree, the oil obtained from this can be used in foods or to make soap. Kofi holds a palm nut from a palm tree, the oil obtained from this can be used in foods or to make soap.
  • Ohio University students walk along the Kakum Forest Park canopy walkway, a 40m high walkway suspended between trees. Ohio University students walk along the Kakum Forest Park canopy walkway, a 40m high walkway suspended between trees.
  • Girls at Street Sisters play with Ohio University junior, Aly Fossets hair. The girls were so intrigued that our hair was our real hair since many of the women there have weaves and hair wraps. Girls at Street Sisters play with Ohio University junior, Aly Fossets hair. The girls were so intrigued that our hair was our real hair since many of the women there have weaves and hair wraps.
  • The Ohio University group of students studying abroad in Accra, Ghana. The Ohio University group of students studying abroad in Accra, Ghana.
  • Point of No Return, Elmina Castle. This is the door the captivated slaves would go through when it came their time to board the boat to be sold into the slave trade. Point of No Return, Elmina Castle. This is the door the captivated slaves would go through when it came their time to board the boat to be sold into the slave trade.
  • Smoke spreads through the Aburi Botanical Gardens from burning trash. Smoke spreads through the Aburi Botanical Gardens from burning trash.
  • Street Sisters Creche. Street Sisters Creche.
  • Local community gathering Elmina, Ghana. Local community gathering Elmina, Ghana.
  • Girls at Street Sisters play with Ohio University junior, Morgan Zielinski's hair. Girls at Street Sisters play with Ohio University junior, Morgan Zielinski's hair.
  • Inside the Strangler Ficus Tree. Inside the Strangler Ficus Tree.
  • Christ Faith Foster Home and School. Christ Faith Foster Home and School.
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Alyssa, originally from Chardon, OH, is currently a photojournalism major at Ohio University. Alyssa has always been interested in different cultures’ and people’s stories. Through photography, she hopes to share the stories of people she meets throughout life’s journey…

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