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Journey to Ghana

Journey to GhanaTufts junior Faith Davis was among a group of students who spent last semester studying abroad in Ghana, Africa.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [04.02.07] When it came time to select a location to study abroad, Tufts junior Faith Davis decided that she wanted to spend a semester someplace out-of-the-ordinary. “I wanted to be in a nontraditional abroad destination,” the West Virginia-native told her hometown newspaper, the Charleston Gazette. The Tufts-in-Ghana program gave Davis an opportunity to do just that—spend a semester taking classes at an African university and soaking up Ghanaian culture.

Davis, a comparative religion major and an Africa in the New World minor at Tufts, described her experience in Ghana as a “cultural exchange.” She told the newspaper that living in an international hostel alongside Nigerian, Ghanaian and American students broadened her horizons.

“Cultural immersion is very important. It’s important that, as Americans, we go out and learn other people’s cultures,” she told the Gazette. “You learn about the other culture and get a greater understanding of your own.”

At the University of Ghana, located just outside of Ghana’s capital city of Accra, Davis took one business course and five others focused on religion, the newspaper reported. “They have a strong religion department,” she told the Gazette.

Davis also took a class in Twi—a language spoken by millions in Ghana. “Greetings are really important. So I learned greetings first off,” Davis told the newspaper. “You need to be able to get around and communicate with people.”

Learning Twi enabled Davis to communicate with her Ghanaian roommate—who also spoke English—in her native language. It also helped the Tufts student sharpen what she called “the skills of daily living.”

“I [could] go to market and buy food, cloth, whatever I was buying that day,” she told the Gazette. “I [could] barter; I [could] take taxis.”

For Davis, a special part of her study abroad experience was being able to enjoy part of it with her mother, who visited for three weeks.

“She shared the experience with me,” she told the newspaper, adding that she would have had a difficult time coming home and trying to describe the impact of her four-and-a-half-month stay in Ghana to someone who hadn’t lived it along with her.

“It’s not an easy experience to communicate because people have so many stereotypes about West Africa and Africa in general,” she explained to the Gazette.

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