The moment I walked out of the airport, I was overwhelmed by all the unknown impressions. Everywhere were people looking at us and calling for us. When Luc and I finally found our guide, he simply welcomed us with the text: “Do you already have your money?”
Despite the long flight and the time (it was midnight), I couldn’t sleep during the four hour bus ride to our “home”. I was really wondering why I signed up for this experience and how I was going to enjoy my time in Ghana. After my first hours of sleep in a proper bed in Ghana, my worries became less. Our house owner was kindly welcoming me at his home and was really trying to make me feel comfortable. A few hours later, he showed us around, taught us tricks and some Ghanaian words and took us to his mother’s place for lunch.
After this experience, I started to enjoy this adventure more and more. Especially, discovering a new country and culture so different from mine. I got to know that Ghanaian people are really one of kindest and most honest people I have ever met. This showed, through a lot of invitations for spontaneous dinners and some strangers standing up for us when somebody tried to swindle us. The Ghanaian culture really differs from my own. Sometimes, this made me feel homesick and made I wanted to go back to the Netherlands. Due to all my experiences, I started to understand the culture and the way of living. I became very grateful that I was born in the Netherlands with all my chances. However, I am also amazed by how the Ghanaians handle their problems and how they always try to stay positive.
It also gave me some insights into a whole different culture and its problems and benefits, and my own culture became definitely more clear to me. Besides these lessons, I also enjoyed my time in Ghana and the numerous things I loved about the country. From the crowded life on the streets, their markets with beautiful fabrics. All while the Ghanaian music plays in the streets. The empty beaches with coconuts, fresh mango’s and pineapple’s, elephants and the salesman on the streets are just a fraction of what I miss.
When I’m looking back at my experience, I am so glad that I took this opportunity. I learned a lot about myself, but even more about different cultures. I’m very happy now to be back in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, there are a lot things that make me want to go back to Ghana and my friends there.
This post was written by Lotte. Lotte went on an exchange with AIESEC. We offer international voluntary projects and professional internships with the aim of developing leadership in youth.