(Matriculated to Clark Atlanta University, 2020)
“This opportunity allowed me to overcome so many boundaries and fears, being able to travel across the country and experience a different way of life was truly amazing! … Coming from an urban community it was difficult for me to think outside of the box. Having such a closed boxed in mindset, I never envisioned myself exploring the world, and what it has to offer. I faced many obstacles before going on the trip, I had family, friends and peers all trying to talk me out of it, in attempts to convince me that the trip would have a negative impact on me and change who I am as a person. Well they were right, I did come back a changed man in a very good way, meaning I was able to learn a lot about the history of my people, and where I come from.
All together I probably spent about $5,500 on this trip (which killed my pockets). Many thoughts raced my mind like, “what if this trip is a waste of my money?”. In actuality it turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. This was truly an opportunity of a lifetime, this trip had such a positive impact on my life, thought process and overall my outlook on life.”
Taylor Lyons, Summer 2019 student, Dance 7 – Study Abroad; Laney staff member“I have always wanted to travel to Africa. I wanted to experience the culture and people and get a better look into where I’m from. Jacqueline Burgess came down to make copies of the flyer for the Ghana study abroad program about two years ago. I asked her questions about the program and she told me all about it and how it was a life changing experience. I also talked to Michael who works in the Library, and he told me how much he enjoyed his trip and I knew I had to go. I think a lot of students aren’t even aware of the study abroad programs offered. I think there should be a larger effort to get the information out to students in the fall.
I appreciated how history was a large part of Ghanaian culture. I was so moved when we visited the village with the 300-year-old tree where slaves were traded and the slave dungeon where slaves were held. I thought I had a good understanding of slavery but to actually be on the same land where slaves were held and captured was a truly emotional experience. I appreciated the freshness of all the food we ate. It was amazing. I loved how art is such a big part of Ghanaian culture. The university we visited in Kumasi where the students created statues had art similar to graffiti on the sides of the building and an incredible art exhibit. I have never seen anything like that before. It inspired me and I’m not even an artist. I also loved the entrepreneurial spirit in Ghana. At 6 in the morning in Ghana everybody was already up working. That truly motivated me and made me realize that I could definitely improve my work ethic.
Dance and music are such a big part of Ghanaian culture. When we traveled to the Northern Region, as soon as we exited the airport we were met by drums and the local school girls invited us to dance. The same thing happened when we visited the village in Kumasi, as soon as our bus pulled up we were greeted and invited to dance. Even though I have two left feet, I danced a little because the environment was so welcoming. It felt like seeing your favorite cousins at the family reunion. All of these different things really helped me step out of my shell and truly be open to experience everything Ghana had to offer.
My study abroad experience in Ghana changed my perspective on life and my purpose. The people I met and the experiences I had gave me direction that I have been searching for. I am truly grateful.”