It’s funny how I thought I would get homesick while in Ghana. In reality, there was not a single day this entire semester when I felt like going home or I missed USA at all. Now, I am slightly worried about how I will adjust to being back in NY and back at Cornell. I have to get used to being on my own again and being surrounded by constant competition and stress. However, there are particular aspects of my feelings and experiences that I do have control over. I think I learned a lot from being in Ghana. I learned to be more laid back, to live comfortably but not extravagantly, to be satisfied with life, and I learned what it is like to enjoy each day. I have learned ways of eliminating stress and I learned that I can chose to have a positive outlook and state of mind regardless of the situation I may find myself in. I learned not to worry about people, things, or situations that I cannot do anything about. Rather then being constantly bombarded by my friends’ issues and choices, I have learned to take a step back and not allow their issues to become my problems.
I feel a lot more focused and level-headed now that I have lived in Ghana for 4 months. After speaking to some American friends, it is clear that we have really grown as individuals and have taken out the time to discover ourselves during our stay in Ghana. We have really developed clear career and social-life goals that we plan to stick to. It is inspiring for me to realize that I have the potential to do whatever I want in life. I needed to take a step outside of my usual, hectic life in NY in order for me to really see the larger picture.
You only live once. Life is all about happiness, fulfillment, making a difference for others, and love. Every time I speak to my African friends or to my friends who decided to relocate permanently to Ghana, it is clear that the deep human connectedness (that I often write about) is in its actuality, the true meaning of life. Also, there are so many opportunities here in Ghana to open your own non-profit, youth center, business, health clinic, or make a significant impact in any field of interest. In NY we are competing so much because we are so overcrowded with specialists and our individual impact on society is often overlooked or diminished since there are so many educated professionals concentrated in a small area. We need to spread our knowledge and potential to other areas where people are under-served. We should embark on missions to empower the people from the grassroots level, encouraging them to reach their full potentials and make a difference in their communities. There is so much that can be done outside of New York City and outside of USA. The world is open to possibilities.
It is clear to me now that the reason why I will not experience reverse-homesickness when I return to NY is because I know I am coming back to Ghana. I understand it may take 10-12 years for me to complete my educational goals first, but I will eventually return and get a job and a house here in Ghana. I am grateful to have met so many amazing people through the CIEE program, on campus, and also from around Ghana. I plan to keep in touch with all of my friends and I will visit again during my vacations.
Peace and Love. Take a deep breath and experience the joy of life <3 <3 <3