By: Razma Hazarat, Simon Fraser University, winner of the spring 2019 BC Study Abroad: Stories from Abroad Scholarship
Study Abroad Destination: Accra, Ghana
After a long 5 months, of course I was incredibly happy to come back home. Aside from all of the amazing friends I’ve made, there is a list of other things I'll greatly miss. Here are the top 5 that come to mind. (1) Constantly snacking on fresh fruits and veggies: there was a cute little market just steps behind my dorming building. You don't bargain here, but make sure you come by with a Ghanain friend for your first few times to get the best pricing on your following visits. (2) Huge mangos the size of my face for less than a dollar: they are fresh, juicy, and will never taste the same. Trust me, Im Afghan and I sure know a good mango when I taste one. (3) Bargaining down the price of (almost) anything: remember, the rule of thirds! Hit them with a lowball, and then gradually meet them in the middle. (4) The vibrant culture, bold patterns, and bright colours: bright colours are everywhere, all the time. Literally, even at funerals. The bold african fabrics are so addicting that you end up embracing more colour and pattern into your decorating style and everyday attire. (5) My dancing skills have improved dramatically: music is a part of life in Ghana. You’ll learn that there’s really never an inappropriate time for dancing. The Fine Arts Dance department also has free dance classes every friday evening, so you can practice before you hit up the nightlife for the weekend.
Ghana has given me memories that will last a lifetime, but there is one thing that will stick with me forever and that's environmental awareness. Unfortunately, the major cities are littered with trash and the general population is unaware of the consequences of global warming/pollution. Styrofoam containers and plastic bags are seen almost everywhere and most people end up burning their rubbish because there isn't a fully organized system of waste management. I felt compelled to change my habits and brought a reusable bag, straw, and container every time I went shopping and/or ordered takeout. Reducing and refusing single use plastic is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while abroad, and will continue this practice back in Canada.