Mia Feist, a third year civil engineering major and humanitarian engineering minor, studied abroad in Ghana through the Engineering Service-Learning in Ghana program during winter break 2018.
When I first started college, my only goal was to travel as much as I could. I started by spending a week in Guatemala for another study abroad program, followed by an internship through the same organization this past summer. This helped ingnite my passion for humanitarian work. I spent hours looking through study abroad options, and Africa always stuck out the most to me. This program allowed me to travel along to a rural area of Ghana, known as Kpando, to see first hand the effects of malnourishment and unfiltered water has on the surrounding communities. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
Over the course of the autumn semester, my class and I studied water and food in developing countries. We looked into the culture and the school system. We knew about the music and dancing. But none of our research could compare to what it was actually like to be in country. We were able to experience some of what these communities experience everyday. There were issues that had not even occurred to me, like the condiditions of the roads or the taste of the water.
I encourage students to study abroad because you never know what you’ll discover. You can research for months, see a thousand pictures online, but you will never be able to understand any of it until you experience it firsthand.