Elementary Education Major
Vernon Hills, Ill.
I've always wanted to go off the beaten road. Part of what brought me to Drake was the many opportunities to study abroad, particularly in Africa. I'm only a sophomore, but I’ve been to the continent twice—visiting and teaching in Uganda and Ghana— since I've been at Drake, and these experiences changed my life.
My most recent trip was to Ghana in 2013 for J-Term. We were given the opportunity to teach classes at four schools in the rural village of Asikuma. We instructed in classrooms with dirt floors and, if we were lucky, a chalkboard. One of my "classrooms" was under a tree.
These children were so eager to learn—it was incredible. They were excited to do activities, sing songs, and soak in everything we had to offer. Yes, I was teaching them—but they taught me much more. Like how to do without. Education was so important to these students; some of them used the only money they had for food to pay for their education. And I'll never forget the beaming smiles of the children when they discovered they could keep the crayons we had brought from home.
Because of my time in Ghana and Uganda, I've found my calling—to teach abroad. And I'll have plenty of preparation to get me to that dream; in fact, I'm returning to Ghana in January 2014. I learned how to adapt and be ready for the unexpected and I've gained the confidence to take on these challenges. If I can teach in Africa, I feel ready to go into any situation! Drake has opened my eyes to a bigger world.