Ɛte sɛn [“what’s up”]! by Marnay Avant ’18

Marnay Avant ’18
Majors: Sociology & African-American Studies
CIEE Arts and Sciences, Legon, Ghana, Africa
Spring 2017

Ɛte sɛn [“what’s up”]! Unlike the majority of Colby students, I chose to study abroad in Legon, Ghana during my junior year. I attended the University of Ghana (UG), an institution with over 40,000 students, through CIEE’s Arts and Sciences program. As a Sociology and AfricanAmerican studies double major, I am grateful for UG’s course diversity that enabled me to creatively fulfill my majors’ requirements. One my favorite courses was a beginner’s twi language course. Twi is the second most common language, so this course helped me immerse myself into Ghanaian culture. By mid-semester, I found myself bargaining for goods and taxi fares in twi! Additionally, studying abroad challenged me to learn and practice healthy cross cultural communication. I enjoyed many socio-cultural conversations about religion, social class, gender, food, politics, youth culture, and more. These conversations not only helped me learn about the diversity and richness of Ghanaian culture but also about myself. For example, I thought about and still think about how social class translates while abroad. I found it interesting how my “American-ness” overshadowed my working class background due to perceptions of the U.S. and wealth. Most importantly, I made long-lasting relationships with my CIEE peers and local Ghanaians. Without them, my study abroad experience would not have been the same. Some highlights of my abroad journey include: paragliding off the Kwahu mountains, touring the slave castles in Cape Coast, visiting Manhyia Palace in Kumasi, feeding monkeys bananas at a monkey sanctuary in the Volta region, and visiting Lomé, Togo (Ghana’s neighboring country). Studying abroad in Ghana was a transformative experience.