What is your name/major/class year/school? Why did you want to study away in Accra?
Hey everyone, eti sen!? Greetings from Accra, Ghana! My name is Delaine Powerful and I am a junior in Steinhardt studying Public Health and Nutrition. I chose to study abroad in Ghana because of my desire to work in developing countries where maternal and child mortality rates are high and women’s reproductive health is often taboo, and work to reduce such stigmas and negative health outcomes. Coming to Ghana was the perfect opportunity for me to grow as a student in the public health field. I also wanted to experience a culture unlike my own, one whose traditions and customs remain despite Western influences, and greaten my understandings of diversity.
What classes are you taking?
I am taking a course load relevant to my area of study: Health and Society, Global Nutrition, Community Psychology, and a Internship Fieldwork and Seminar course. I am interning with an organization under the umbrella name Child and Associates where I have been working with their “Beyond the Net’s” campaign and developing and implementing my own clinical study about a Guardian/Parent’s role in their child’s health outcome. Because Ghanaians teach all the classes, the majority being professors from the University of Ghana, many classes incorporate a cultural theme where we integrate our understandings of the literature and lectures into community experiences. It has been a great experience and through these classes and various field trips, I have really gotten a great sense and understanding of the true Ghanaian culture.
What has been the most interesting thing about Accra so far?
The most interesting aspect about Accra would the easy-going nature that seems to be an innate characteristics of all Ghanaians. People are a lot friendlier here. Even though Accra is just as hectic, if not more so, than NYC, people here never seem to be in a rush to go anywhere. When you are walking down the street it is not uncommon to exchange greetings with a passing stranger. No one is ever too busy to stop and have a conversation and is more than willing to assist with directions and things to that nature. It is truly refreshing to actually be able to slow down and fully appreciate things for what they are.
Describe a fun outing or experience thus far?
For my Health and Society class we took a class trip to a traditional healing clinic in a neighboring community. The trip was great and educational and all, but the best part of the day came at the end of the day when we traveled to our professor’s house and ate dinner in his wife’s restaurant. We were entertained with numerous dance numbers, performed by the professor and his 5-year-old granddaughter, and sang (or mumbled) along to the Ghanaian Azonto music. The meal was absolutely delicious and was actually the best food I had consumed during my whole trip.
How are you preparing for potential internship or professional opportunities?
I have definitely grown professionally here in Accra thanks to my leadership and internship position. I have come into contact with numerous professionals and have learned the appropriate mannerisms of a professional setting. Also, even though as a Peer Career Educator I am informing other students on the ways to best present themselves to potential employers, I have learned a great deal myself. With my developing interviewing skills and Wasserman styled resume and cover letter, I was able to secure a summer internship directly in line with my professional goals.
How are you exploring your career while away? How will Accra impact your career endeavors?
Because my main area of interest is maternal and child health in developing countries, the clinical study I am doing at my internship is relevant to my desires for my future profession. I am learning how to develop proposals for studies, how to format surveys so that they are compatible with the understandings of the community, and other necessary skills I will need as a Public Health official looking to implement programs that promote lasting change. In Ghana, as well as anywhere else in the world, public health is everywhere. And I have been given the opportunity to study various NGOs and actually track their progress in this developing country, first-hand, which is great!