England | The Halfway Mark

By Emma Skinner

Wow! As cliché as it sounds, time really flew by. The Pembroke-Kings Program has been extremely fast paced, but in a good way. Not a day goes by where I sit around with nothing to do! From an entire class in three weeks to endless event opportunities, I thought I’d share with you my top seven highlights from Cambridge so far;

  1. Formal Hall: As I prepare for my second formal hall this evening, I remember how exciting this event was for me. Our first formal was held on the first full day of classes and it was such a great way to get to meet everyone. Plus, a three-course meal in the fanciest dining hall ever could never go wrong. Now that I’ve gotten to know such amazing people, I can’t wait for tonight with those I now call my friends!
  1. Evenings by the River Cam: Having a river run through university is one of the best parts of Cambridge. There is plenty of space to sit alongside and enjoy the view and the people! I’ve had quite a few memorable moments spent along here, from photo shoots to picnics to incredible firework displays. The River is also a great place to meet new people as there are always friendly faces punting along that stop to say hello!
  1. Nature Walks at the Mill: One of the things I love most about Cambridge is the multitude of wildlife you can find within a short radius of the school. The Mill, a popular restaurant and pub in the area, sits right along the River Cam and is home to a very friendly group of cows. Just beyond the Mill are plenty of walking paths you can take and explore all the natural beauty England has to offer! Further, the cows roam wild and are more than happy to befriend you!
  1. Day Trips: Thanks to England’s amazing public transportation system, traveling anywhere within the country is quite easy! A few of us in the PKP program took a day trip to Norwich per recommendation from our taxi driver to the train station. We were quite surprised to find such a beautiful area. The Norwich Cathedral and our hike to a lookout point were definite highlights from this trip!
  1. Hot Numbers: This may seem somewhat confusing at first. What is a hot number you ask? The best coffee shop in Cambridge! It sits right across from the Engineering building where most of our classes are held. From beautiful matcha pancakes (pictured) to the best oat milk latte in town, this café has it all. Further, its prime location makes it the perfect social spot. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t run into someone I know here! The friendly staff also make for the perfect environment.
  1. Castle Mound: This hill originally held a castle in England but the stone from the building gradually began to be taken for other uses. Now, all that remains is the pile of Earth and an amazing view of the city. Sunsets at castle mound make for some great bonding time with friends and beautiful views!
  1. The people: Of course, my top highlight is the people I have met through studying abroad! From all around the world we came together to be a part of the PKP program. I am so thankful to have made relationships I know will last forever.

Cyprus | Week 1 and Paphos Weekend Trip!

By Arisa Dhiensiri
We just finished the first week of classes! It’s definitely going to take some time to get used to a full day of physics lectures but our professors are so sweet. The first day of class was a little jarring since we had to jump into so much material immediately, but it’s to be expected given the nature of the program. The nice thing is that every week class ends on Thursday so we get to enjoy a long weekend. This weekend we took our first weekend excursion as a class! The bus picked us up at 9:00 am on Friday and we headed for Paphos, a beach city about two hours away from the capital. Before heading to Paphos we made a stop at Petra Tou Romiou, the birthplace of Aphrodite. Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love and beauty and it’s rumored that she was born from the foam of the sea and washed upon the rocks along the beach. The coastline along Petra Tou Romiou is really gorgeous and so we stopped to take some pictures and admire the scenery.
According to legend, if you swim around the rock naked three times
under the full moon you’ll gain eternal beauty and find true love.
Unfortunately our tour guide didn’t let anyone try it out for themselves before we headed for Paphos.

After visiting Aphrodite’s Rock we arrived in Paphos and had some free time to walk along the pier and explore the main part of the city. One of the places we visited was the House of Dionysius Mosaics and the Paphos Archaeological Park. The area is the preserved ruins of a wealthy Roman villa, and is lined with mosaic paneling depicting scenes from Greek mythology. The main villa is the House of Dionysius, named after the multiple mosaics paying homage to Dionysius, the god of wine. Directly outside of the House of Dionysius are three other villas. In The House of Theseus the main structure of the villa is really well preserved and there are beautiful column ruins.

After getting lunch at the pier and visiting the mosaics we got dropped off at the Anemi Hotel and were given the rest of the weekend to explore and relax. For dinner my roommates and I walked to a restaurant called The Corner about five minutes away from the hotel. The Corner was directly across the beach and served a lot of seafood, so we all got fish and chips. My roommates and I took this weekend to relax on the beach and hangout near the pool, a much-needed break from the week of intensive physics we just had. In the end this weekend was exactly what we needed, a little bit of sun and rest to recharge.

Tokyo | Tokyo & Rakuten Open

By Deran Chan

Over the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to attend both the Rakuten and Tokyo Open tennis championships. I’m a huge tennis fan and I was super excited to attend a professional tennis tournament outside of the United States. The last few months of the year constitutes the “Asian Swing” of the tennis calendar and first stop: Tachikawa. The Tokyo Toray Pan Pacific Open is held by the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) and is the largest international women’s tennis tournament in Japan. Headlining the tournament was Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka. After her recent triumph at the U.S. Open over Serena Williams, Osaka became an overnight sensation and Japan’s first grand slam champion. The event was held about an hour from my university, and I successfully made the trek with my brief knowledge of Japanese transportation! The venue was held indoors, and a general admission ticket gave me access to all of the matches.

I went on the first Saturday of the tournament and watched former World #7 Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) play local favorite Moyuka Uchijima. I managed to sneak to the front row, and as you can see, had the best seat in the house. After her win, Genie was kind of enough to take a photo with me and I definitely didn’t freak out. On the way home from the tournament, one of the most exciting things happened. I was across the street from Tachikawa Station, and I thought I recognized a familiar face. Standing in front of a 711 was World #1 and Grand Slam Champion – Caroline Wozniacki. Starstruck, I asked for a picture and asked her how she liked Tokyo (while trying to keep it together of course) and wished her luck throughout the tournament. What an experience.

A couple weeks later I went to the Rakuten Open, the first Asian tournament of the year hosted by the ATP men’s tour. Walking up towards the main stadium, fans were greeted by tents showcasing traditional Japanese food, oversized tennis rackets, and popular sportswear. It was raining out but that didn’t stop waves of Japanese locals and tourists alike from watching their favorite players. A sold-out crowd packed the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza, but somehow my friends and  I managed to sit together. We witnessed Japanese player Kei Nishikori win on home soil with the help of an electrifying crowd – to reach his 3rd final at this tournament.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures with the players this time but the immaculate tennis stadium and modern architecture definitely made up for it. There is no doubt that fans are awaiting next year’s Rakuten Open which will return to Ariake Coliseum, a newly renovated stadium undergoing preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Ghana | Outside Accra: The Central Region and Cape Coast Excursions

By Ashley Young

After two weeks of living in Accra, learning about Ghanaian culture and society, and finally (finally!) adjusting our melanin cycles to the African sun, it was time to leave the Greater Accra Region and travel to the Central Region. The Central Region is situated on the coast, much like Accra, but due West of the University of Ghana by a few hours. The capital of the Central Region is Cape Coast, and near it is a town called Elmina. This is where we (the UCEAP students and staff) made our stay for the weekend.

Note: This trip was coordinated by our UC Study Center staff! I did not realize this when I chose to come to Ghana, but UCEAP includes many trips, meals, overnight stays, and excursions in the University of Ghana program! I’m not sure to what extent other programs or locations do this, but it is certainly worth looking into if you are considering studying abroad in Ghana or another country through UCEAP.

When we first arrived in Elmina, our staff took us to Elmina Slave Castle. The Elmina Slave Castle was built by the Portuguese in 1482 and was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea. Currently, it is the oldest standing European building south of the Sahara. While the castle was originally established as a trade settlement, it evolved into one of the largest stops in what is now referred to as the Triangular Trade, in which Europeans brought finished goods to Africa, traded for human slaves which they brought to the New World, and then produced raw goods in the New World which they exported to Europe. Elmina castle belonged to the Portuguese from 1482 to 1637, the Dutch from 1637 to 1872 (the slave trade ended during this time period, in 1814), the British from 1872 to 1957, and finally, Ghana, from 1957 to present.

While the pictures I have posted of the castle may seem beautiful, it is anything but. The horrors that occurred within its walls and as part of the larger Trans-Atlantic slave trade are truly awful. While visiting the castle was not a pleasant experience, it served as an important part of the UCEAP University of Ghana study abroad program and helped us to understand the past and current marginalization and exploitation of Africa by other nations.

Though our first day in the Central Region was somber, the next day was packed with fun and exciting activities! First, we took a beautiful drive to the Kakum Rainforest Reserve, which is part of Kakum National Park. There, we did a short hike and a canopy walk, where we moved through the trees on a series of long, tall, suspended bridges! Some of my classmates would describe the experience as daunting and risky; others would describe it as beautiful and totally awesome! Personally, I think that it was a good dose of both of these things, and I would certainly recommend the experience to others.

After our rainforest adventure, we headed back to Elmina and the Coconut Grove Beach Resort, where we were staying. There, we rode horses, had lunch and dinner at the resort restaurant, and swam in both the seaside pool and the ocean itself. The following morning, a few of us got up early to watch the sun rise over the waves. For me, this was truly the highlight of our trip. The way that the light fingered the clouds, the beautiful and serene pink and orange hues, the shimmering reflection of the sun on the waves, and the sound of birds awakening in the trees – it was a wonderful experience, and a peaceful way to reflect on our time in Ghana thus far.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post! The next post will be about another weekend trip coordinated by UCEAP to the Ashanti Region, so stay tuned!

Ekua

Complimentary Twi Lesson!: In every blog post from here on out, I will be sharing some words, phrases, or sentences that I have learned for conversational Twi! This post’s words are:

Maakye! (Good Morning!)

Maaha! (Good Afternoon!)

Maadwo! (Good Evening!)

Denmark | 5 Things to Know Before Studying Abroad in Copenhagen

By Chloe Zgorzelski

Denmark: a cycler and pastry-lover’s paradise. Often lovingly labeled the “Venice of the North”, Copenhagen is a city known for its charming canals and waterways, pastel Lego-like buildings, delicious (albeit sometimes hard to pronounce) pastries, and love of hygge [pronounced ‘hoo-gah’: simply put, the Danish art of cozy, comfortable, and content living]. These are just a few of the many reasons why I chose to study abroad in this captivating city. After living here for a little over a month, it is no surprise to me that the Danes are consistently ranked among the happiest people in the world. I have already experienced, been challenged, and grown in so many ways during my time here, so I figured I would share five things I have learned that will help future UCEAP students make the most of their study-abroad adventure in Copenhagen.

  1. The UCEAP – University of Copenhagen Program is Unique: When compared to other UCEAP programs, a semester abroad at the University of Copenhagen is special because all students are required to participate in a three-week intensive Danish language program during the month of August. As a student who has never spoken or heard an ounce of Danish before my arrival in Copenhagen, this class was challenging for me at times, especially since it is so fast paced. However, the class size is small (approx. 25 exchange students from all over the world in each section) which means the professors have the ability to give you the individualized attention you need to help you succeed. You are also able to take the class Pass/No Pass if you wish.
  2. You Don’t Have Know How To Speak Danish to Study Abroad in Denmark: Studying abroad in a foreign country can be difficult, especially when you chose a country where a language other than English (or your native language) is spoken. Prior to my arrival in Denmark, one of my fears was that I wouldn’t be able to communicate well with anyone due to my lack of Danish knowledge. However, most Danes speak English! UCPH’s Intensive Danish Language Program will help teach you many basic Danish phrases that you can use in day to day life, but if worse comes to worse, all you have to do is start speaking in English and the Danish people will flawlessly switch over to English to communicate with you.
  3. Eating Out in Denmark Can Be Expensive: Unfortunately, Copenhagen is not one of those cities where it is feasible to buy a coffee and a pastry from a cafe every day on a student budget (A coffee, on average, costs around $7 USD). Eating Out at Restaurants can also start to add up after a while. However, it is significantly cheaper to shop at grocery stores (Netto, Aldi, and Fatka are my personal favorites) and cook your meals at home. If you visit some grocery stores before closing, many will sell their leftover pastries to you at half price! My friends and I organize group dinners, where we go shopping and cook a meal together. This way we can split the cost and still spend time with one another. Many of the dorms in Copenhagen organize group dinners as well.
  4. You Don’t Have to Buy Furniture + Kitchen Supplies for your Dorm: If you book your accommodation through the UCPH Housing Foundation (as most UCEAP students do), then your cozy, new Danish Dorm is already outfitted with basic furnishings (desk, bed + mattress, closet, kitchen table etc.) and kitchen utensils (pots, pans, dishes, utensils etc). However, you will be responsible for buying your own pillows, towels, sheets. These items are easy to find and relatively inexpensive at stores like Fotex, Jysk, and Ikea.
  5. There is No Uber in Denmark: As of Spring 2017, Uber no longer legally operates in Denmark. But have no fear! Denmark and the Copenhagen area in particular has a very reliable and user-friendly public transportation system. There are only two metro lines and they run 24/7. Copenhagen is also notorious for being a very bike-friendly city. Most Danes (and many UCEAP students) choose to bike as it is a reliable and relatively inexpensive form of transport here in Denmark.

A Few Helpful Apps….

  • Rejseplanen: extremely helpful when trying to figure out how to navigate Denmark’s bus, metro, and S-train system. After downloading and enabling location services, the app will recognize your current location. All you have to do is type in your destination and the app will provide a you with a list of the fastest ways to reach it.
  • Google Translate: for when you want to read a sign, or need help reading the packaging in the grocery store
  • UCPH Map: provides you with an interactive map of all four University of Copenhagen campuses, which is extremely helpful especially during the first weeks of school
  • DOT Mobilbilletter: allows you to buy transport tickets for the bus, train, and metro from your phone, which is great when you are running late or in a pinch
  • TooGoodToGo: in an effort to reduce food waste, local restaurants/bakeries/grocery stores sell their leftover food at a discounted rate. All you have to do is pay through the app, and it will give you a time that you can head to the chosen location to pick up your meal!

Cyprus | Introduction, Information and Formalities !

By Arisa Dhiensiri

Hi and welcome to my study abroad blog! Through this platform I’m going to take you along with me during my summer in Cyprus. However I thought it would be nice to go through some introductions and information on the program beforehand. My name is Arisa and I’m about to start my third year at UCLA as a Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology major and a Global Health Minor. At UCLA I’ve been so lucky to find my home in organizations like Bruins Fighting Pediatric Cancer and Project Literacy, and I’m so excited to continue the Bruin experience outside of Westwood.

Me and my Baby Bruin from Project Literacy!

I just arrived in my hotel at Nicosia, Cyprus, and am really looking forward to settling in. I landed at the Larnaca International Airport, which is about an hour away from the hotel. Global Semesters, the program coordinators, arranged a group pick up from the airport at 6:00 pm, but since my flight came in after the pick up time they set me up with an individual taxi. En route to the hotel my taxi driver gave me a University of Nicosia Global Semesters bag filled with Cyprus brochures, a cell phone, and the daily schedule for the program.

UNIC Goody Bag

Through this program I’m going to be fulfilling my yearlong physics requirement, and finally completing all my lower division courses. This program was designed by UCEAP in coordination with the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, to fit an entire year of introductory physics into 8 weeks. We have Lectures every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and then Labs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. While cramming such a sheer amount of physics into a small window of time seems daunting and absolutely insane, I’m looking forward to never having to do physics again after this summer.

Cyprus is a small island in the Mediterranean with a steep cultural history. It’s said to be the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love. It’s rumored that she washed up on the shores after being born from the foams of the Mediterranean Sea. During my eight weeks I’ll mostly be located within the capital, Nicosia, which is inland. Nicosia is the largest city on the island and like the rest of Cyprus it’s divided into a Turkey Cypriot side and a Greek Cypriot side. The program has been set up so that on the weekends we’ll be taking trips to beach towns like Paphos and Ayia Napa, and other areas like Troodos Village, to truly get acquainted with the island.

For the first two weeks of the program I’ll be staying at the Altius Hotel in Nicosia. The university apartments are currently getting renovated so we’ll be moving into the apartments later on. Global Semesters, the program coordinators, have scheduled a bus to take us from the hotel to class every day until we relocate to the apartments.

Altus Hotel Lobby

Cyprus | Orientation, Exploring Nicosia and Touring UNIC

By Arisa Dhiensiri

Today we had a jam-packed day filled with museum tours, orientation, a nice welcome dinner and lots of walking. We started the day by eating breakfast at Altius Hotel before heading over to the Cyprus Archaeological Museum. The museum ended up only being a ten-minute walk from the hotel but in the heat it felt like miles. When we got to the museum we were separated into two groups and led on a tour guide. The museum houses the largest collection of Cypriot Antiquities in the world and it was really fascinating to learn about the history of Cyprus. Cyprus, being in the middle of the Mediterranean, is a cross section for so many different empires such as the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and Persian, as well as having really strong Greek roots and influences. The tour guide explained how Cypriot art from specific time periods reflected the empire Cyprus was a part of at the time.

All of us at the Cyprus Archaeological Museum

After the museum tour we walked to the Old City of Nicosia and we were able to see the divide between North Nicosia and South Nicosia. Nicosia is the only divided capital in the world, the North being Turkish occupied, and the South as part of the European Union. The Green Line is No Man’s Land, and is the distinction between North and South. Directly around the border is the old town, Nicosia’s historic center. Old City is enclosed by Venetian Walls and a little removed from New City, Nicosia’s more modern side. The streets in old town are cobblestone and filled with beautiful historic churches and buildings that are very reminiscent of Greece.

A church in Old Town

Exploring Old Town

For lunch we were able to walk around Ledras Street in the old city. Ledras Street is kind of like LA’s Abbot Kinney, super cute and chic, usually where people go to hangout, and filled with picturesque cafes and restaurants. The tour guide from the Museum came with us to old town to explain the buildings and give some restaurant recommendations that I’m excited to try later on.

Ledras Street

After getting to know Nicosia, we walked to the University to start our orientation and get a campus tour. The university was mostly empty because there aren’t that many students taking classes over the summer. Compared to UCLA, The University of Nicosia is pretty small, however it has a really modern feel. On the university tour we passed by our future apartments and got to check out the restaurants included in our meal plan. Since they are getting renovated we’re staying at the Altius Hotel for the time being, but they told us that future programs would be staying in the new dorms for the entire time. The program coordinators also provided us with meal vouchers that work as our meal plan. The meal vouchers are good for 3 different restaurants located 5 minutes away from the university, and a 24-hour bakery.

We concluded our day with a welcome dinner in Old Town at To Anamma Traditional Restaurant. Here they served us Mezze, which is a huge collection of small dishes. The dishes include a variety of meats, a Cypriot Salad, dips, pita, and halloumi, traditional Cyprus cheese. Through dinner we were introduced to traditional Cyprus food and the rest of the people on the program. The program is mostly comprised of UCLA life-science students, however there are 3 people from UC Davis. The mezze was really the perfect way to end such a long day.

Tomorrow we begin our first week of classes and honestly I’m a little scared for the physics! See you next week!

Japan | Fruits & Fast-Food

By Deran Chan

I’ve been in Tokyo now for about 2 weeks. I moved into my dorm at International Christian University (ICU), started my classes, and played tennis indoors for the first time. This is my study abroad experience. Once I got to Japan, I needed to stock up on snacks (priorities) so I started at the local markets. If you didn’t already know, fruits and vegetables in Japan are SO EXPENSIVE. This mango peach costs 600 yen at the supermarket (roughly equivalent to $6 in the U.S.) and this is because Japan gets a lot of their fresh produce imported from around the world.

After my Japanese produce haul, I ventured into the world of fast-food. Just a 10 minute bus ride away from campus, Musashi-Sakai Station offers a wide range of restaurants and shops. So where did I go?

McDonald’s. Yep, that’s right. I travelled to the other side of the world to eat the most “American” restaurant known to man. In my defense, the menu is completely different, but more importantly it’s way better. The McNuggets taste like actual chicken and the whole experience feels like anything but fast-food. I also tried their grape float since their ice cream machine was actually working <shocker> and I was pretty satisfied overall.

A few days later, I went to a chain called “MOS Burger.” The burger was really flavorful and I could tell that MOS Burger was the In-n-Out of Japan. Unlike the United States, a lot of Japanese restaurants will have a second story for additional seating. When you’re done eating, make sure you put your dishes and trash in the appropriate area. In Japan, you are required to sort your trash into different categories: combustibles, non-combustibles, bottles, plastics, etc.

Norway | Arrival

By Rose Forster

Arrival
I left for my UCEAP program from Sydney, Australia, because I like to shirk the status quo (and that’s also where I’m from). This was twenty-four combined hours of flying, including a layover in Dubai. Having just finished my sophomore year, I can safely say I’m used to doing fourteen hours on a plane given the similar distance between Sydney and LA. The extra ten hours of flying was the part that was difficult to enjoy. Regardless of the screaming children, the terrible food and the lack of sleep, (staples of any flight), I touched down in Oslo and tried to keep myself calm. I was terrified of the logistics of carving out a new life for myself in an unfamiliar city. I realize that I did exactly that at UCLA two years ago, but in LA I had family members and English. Oslo didn’t have the former, and I wasn’t sure of the extent to which it had the latter, so I was understandably nervous.

At the Airport

I was blessed with the fact that I could buy a SIM card with no difficulty at a kiosk at the airport. As it turns out, everyone I’ve met so far in Norway is a fluent English speaker. From there I bought a ticket on Flytoget, the express train from the airport, and went on my way. On the train, while trying to heave my enormous suitcase into the storage compartments there, I met a girl trying to do the exact same thing. We both discovered that we were from America (she’s from Colorado) and that we were both going to the University of Oslo. I didn’t realize how relieved I was that I now had a point of contact until I sat down on the train and allowed myself to breathe.

Housing

We had to pick up our keys for housing at the university campus, while the actual student villages we were living in were spread across the city. The only hassle I had with getting my house keys was rolling my suitcase over the cobbled street outside.

I’m living in a little studio apartment in Kringsjå.

It’s small and clean, and most importantly, properly heated for the winter months, although it’s been trapping the heat in summer anyway. Today I walked about ten minutes north of my village, and stumbled across the most beautiful lake. The Norwegians were making the most of the sunny summer day and were swimming in the water, laying out in the sun, and enjoying themselves. It’s no California heatwave, but it’s warm enough to merit bathing suits.

I only arrived yesterday, so my trip so far has been a whirlwind of logistics and jet lag. I’m trying to enjoy the 9:30pm sunset without the looming fear of the eternal darkness of the upcoming winter. My orientation program starts with a party tomorrow and then a week of activities, and I can’t wait to see what Norway has in store.

Ghana | First Impressions of Ghana

By Ashley Young

              Akwaaba! Welcome! It is the end of my first week in Ghana, and WOW it has been an adventure! Since arriving, I have been taking part in the UCEAP Ghana Orientation Class, a class that introduces students to the culture, history, economy, and politics of Ghana. Our UCEAP program staff, two Ghanaian student assistants, and a handful of professors from the University of Ghana, have been leading us through this practical and experiential course, which is a mixture of lectures, field trips, and personal interactions with the Ghanaian culture and people. Thus far, we have toured the University campus, acquainted ourselves with its surrounding neighborhoods, tasted many new foods, learned about Ghanaian culture, including the importance of dance and music, and explored the historical, social, and political contexts of the country we are living in.
              While I have only been here one week, it is clear that studying in Ghana will be an eye-opening experience. One thought that has captured my attention so far is the fact that Ghana, and Africa as a whole, does not lack resources. Before I came here, I was of the opinion that Africa was without: without the basic materials and items needed to sustain a flourishing continent. My first impression of Ghana confirmed this opinion – from the impoverished street hawkers, who walk between cars at intersections selling goods like plantain chips, laundry soap, water, and eggs, to open sewage systems on the sides of roads, to begging children who follow and hold on to you as you walk to your destination, to the inconsistent flow of running water in the University dorms – all of these sights seemed to confirm that Ghana lacks the important resources needed to serve its people.
              But this is not the case. AFRICA DOES NOT LACK RESOURCES. Ghana, in particular, is rich in fertile land for agriculture and cattle rearing, gold, diamonds, bauxite, timber, and even oil. Alack of resources is not the issue. The issue is access, and the efficient assemblage of resources to most benefit the country. One example of this issue was discussed in the orientation class: Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire (the country neighboring Ghana to the West) produce between them 60% of the cocoa in the world market. However, they only make 5.7% of the market profit share. This is an extreme inequity, and unfortunately, not an anomaly in Ghana or the greater African continent.While at times, it has been difficult to be a personal witness to so many political and economic development issues, the Ghanaian culture is rich and there is much beauty to be found!Below, I have attached some photos of the places we have gone:
              All of these excursions have been facilitated by our UCEAP Program staff – Auntie Rose, Auntie Sharon, and Auntie Dorcas – as well as two Ghanaian students – Araba and JoJo. We call our staff our Aunties because in Ghanaian culture, the family extends far beyond the nuclear family that we generally acknowledge in the United States, and individuals call those older than themselves either “Auntie” or “Uncle” to show respect and/or signify a relationship. Additionally, the student assistants, Araba and JoJo, have received their names based on the day of the week they were born on. This is a traditional Ghanaian practice – Ghanaians believe that each day has a spirit associated with it, and that this plays into the character of the individual.
              In fact, the integration of traditional Ghanaian culture into the more modern Ghanaian society is quite interesting! There are many practices and customs alive in Accra that I have never heard of before, many revolving around important milestones in life such as birth, puberty, marriage, and death. Already, we have been invited to both a traditional Ghanaian wedding and a naming ceremony for a new baby; I am sure I will get to experience many new traditional customs at these events!
There are many practices and customs alive iI am excited to learn more about Ghana, and excited to share it with you as I go along. Enjoy reading!
Best,
Ekua (MyGhanaian name!)