Kelly McDonell, the Assistant Director of the CLAS Academic Advising Center, went on a delegation trip with other members of the GVSU community to Ghana this semester. She has written a guest blog post about her experience for us. Enjoy!
2015 Delegation Trip to University of Cape Coast, Ghana – By Kelly McDonell
Over spring break, I had the privilege to be part of a delegation of 7 GVSU faculty and staff from around the University as we set off to visit Ghana and our partner institution, University of Cape Coast (UCC). After getting settled in the capital of Accra, we started out our visit with a meeting with the US Embassy to discuss the importance of having students and scholars from Ghana to visit Grand Valley followed by a meeting with Education USA, a company that helps students from Ghana find out about study abroad opportunities. We were able to visit some historical sites in Accra, including the W.E.B. DuBois Center, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, and Independence Square, before taking off to Cape Coast to visit our partner institution. While visiting UCC, we heard lectures on Ghanaian Education and Culture, and I was able to meet with faculty from English, Communications, African and International Studies, Classics and Philosophy, and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts. We visited with a current GVSU student who is studying abroad at UCC this semester—she is having a fabulous experience! While in Cape Coast we also toured Elmina Castle. Our last leg of the trip brought us up to Kumasi, the second-largest city of Ghana and center of the Asante region. While in Kumasi we visited a village where the weaving of Kente cloth originated, the Kumasi Culture Center, and Manhyai Palace and Museum to learn more about the culture and history of that region. It was a whirlwind trip but a great first experience in Ghana. The staff from University of Cape Coast were friendly and accommodating, the weather was warm and sunny, and the food was delicious. I am hopeful that I will have the opportunity to visit again, and would encourage you to direct students interested in study abroad to our partner institution, University of Cape Coast.
Figure 1 Books in WEB DuBois personal library
Figure 2 Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum
Figure 3 A view of Cape Coast from Elmino Castle
Figure 4 Hand-woven Kente cloth
Figure 5 Trying my hand at weaving Kente cloth