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Study Abroad Profile: Alexandra Baker

Alex Baker abroad in Ghana

Program: The Akumanyi Foundation 
Location: Achaise, Ghana 
Rank: Junior
Major: Public Health; Sociology Specialization

“After working in Peru on a few missions trips, I chose The Akumanyi Foundation because I wanted to travel to a different part of the world. I was heavily involved in the children’s ministry in Peru, so I wanted to find a program that would allow me to work with kids. I reached out to Hannah Bonacci, one of the founders of The Akumanyi Foundation. She said we would live in the orphanage and would assist the children in their daily chores while also having the opportunity to teach in the school. I knew immediately that this was the program for me. I was excited to live in the orphanage with the children, help them in school and become immersed in their daily lifestyle.

Travelling to Ghana really opened my eyes to a new culture and lifestyle. Even after travelling through Peru, I was shocked at the difference in the standard of living between these two countries and the United States. There are many things that we take for granted and let go to waste. The Ghanaian children taught me more than I probably could have ever taught them. One of the most common examples is water. The kids made me wary of wasting, like letting water run at the water tap, so while there we took bucket showers to help conserve water. Despite their lack of material goods, the children were always happy and laughter constantly filled the orphanage. The kids don’t have their parents to rely on, so they rely on each other. They work together, learn together and play together. They have created a bond between them that’s stronger than most people will ever experience. My study abroad experience benefited my college experience because I was able to come to know the children at the orphanage. They also helped me to realize that I want to one day work as a nurse in an impoverished country.

Alex Baker and fellow Akumanyi Foundation participants in GhanaMy favorite memory would be one of the nights when I was alone at the school tutoring the kids. All the children at the orphanage were required to put in about two hours of study time a night, depending on their class level. Just imagine sitting in a dimly light classroom helping the students with their homework, while hearing the distant drums from various churches playing in the background. The kids were bent over their desks working hard, and they were so excited when you would stop by to quiz them. It was one of the moments when you just stop and realized how lucky you are to be spending these moments with them, and how they are truly making a difference in your life. A difference that you will never forget.”