While a semester may be long enough for some programs Ghana is not one of those programs. For the person looking for the most complete experience a full year program is best. The academics may not be up to the usual CMU standards, but there are plenty of opportunities for independent research that is best done if the student is there for the full year. A semester is great in its own respects because at least you are getting a great experience. The lifestyle that I adopted in Ghana is to find more positive aspects within any situation. Also, since there are many things that do not always work in Ghana the best thing to learn is creativity in problem solving. These lessons are more valuable than any wood carving or other material items.
Being away from my family for the entire semester was very hard; however, there are plenty of ways to communicate with everyone at home. Though contacting home is necessary the other international students in my group became a makeshift family for me and I for them. We were all in a place that was very different than what we were used to; therefore, we relied on each other for the support that we needed to get through the tough days. The friends I made in Ghana were fantastic and I hope to have them for the rest of my life. The necessity of friendship was yet another thing that Ghana showed to me. While it may seem obvious to most that since we are social beings we must have friends, it seems that too much in American society we remain largely isolated from each other. This disunity and independence is a major cultural difference between Ghana and America and was an issue that I had to deal with at times.