Something I believe I will be saying for the rest of my life is: I am an experiential learner. Being an experiential learner means that a course or experience is most useful to me when I am within the environment where I can reference and pull from the lessons of the classroom. In this instance, I decided to study abroad in Ghana during my senior year of college. Most wouldn’t, sometimes I wonder if I should have. Be that as it may, I am here. When thinking about how best I could make use of my four months in this very calm and historically relevant West African country, I knew that I also wanted to be a member of the workforce. The best way to do that given the options that were presented to me was to apply and secure an internship. I believe that working for a Ghanaian based institution will show me something that my classes cannot: how people collaborate here, how morning traffic works, how human beings operate outside of the university setting, etc.
An internship is also one of the buzzwords for success. Where I come from many people chastised, criticized, and gawked at my decision to come to Ghana asking whether I thought Spain, London, or South Africa were better options. An internship gave me the freedom to say that my coming to Ghana was legit: I was not going to spend four months depreciating in value. No, no. I had an internship. One that would provide me with insights beyond lectures and move me closer to an understanding of what line of work I would do in the future, what industry, what location, which people.
I wanted to do an internship because work experience can provide a gauge for one’s professional interests even more than the classroom. Not only that, it can serve as the compass to future endeavors. As you can see, why I choose to do an internship is closely tied to what I hope to gain from this work experience. At the rudimentary level, I hope to leave with professional connections, a better understanding of myself, deeper insights to how I can help the bright and shining, ever changing Mother Africa. As a Political Science and African Studies double-major, who minors in a few other artistic mediums, my placement at the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition made quite a lot of sense. The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) is “a unique cross-sectoral grouping of public, private, and civil society organizations (CSOs) with a focus on promoting good governance and fighting corruption in Ghana.” GACC currently has eight institutional members some of which are the Center for Democratic Development, Economic and Organized Crime Office, Ghana Journalist Association, and Institute of Economic Affairs.
I hope that at the end of this experience I will know a little bit more about myself and what my role can be in resolving corruption, Africa’s most curable, yet self-inflicted epidemic. Truthfully, I also hope that it will be fun! After visiting GACC the first time I am a bit weary because of how long the commute was and the fact that I was unable to meet the internship coordinator to discuss the work I will be doing; despite this, I am optimistic. I hope that my energy and perspective can help move this or whatever organization I work for forward.