October 28, 2016
At the beginning of this summer, I was packing my bags to travel 7,506 miles away from home to experience life in an unfamiliar territory, Accra, Ghana. One of my Alpha Lambda-Oregon sisters had been there a year before, and it was with her encouragement that I decided to apply for the program.
I spent six weeks in Ghana working as a design intern at Citi 97.3 FM, one of Ghana’s premier English radio stations. I lived with 15 other students from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications who were placed in other media internships throughout the city. Traveling across the world and being immersed in a culture completely opposite of what I’m used to was by far the most challenging, yet rewarding, experience I’ve ever had.
The values I learned in Kappa Delta mimic what I found in Ghana: good friendship, fellowship and sisterly love. Ghanaian culture is rich and full of life. People are curious, affectionate, loving, friendly and passionate servants of others. I saw this especially at my workplace through coworkers who welcomed me into their circle within the first few days. They called each other brothers and sisters as a form of endearment, and they called me their sister, although they had only known me for a short time. I learned a lot about them through our conversations covering a variety of topics like politics (their favorite topic), sports (my least favorite topic), family and relationships. They don’t hold back, are engaged in conversation and, above all, they’re confident in themselves.
Kappa Delta gave me the tools and support system I needed to thrive and grow while I was there. Our creed says, “May we each day through love of those within our circle, learn to know and understand better those without our circle.” While I’ve recited this countless times and believed it in my heart, I think it took me living in another country for it to really ring true. I left Ghana with a more open mind and a greater understanding of the world.
I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to meet individuals from such a welcoming and compassionate culture. I learned that it is really important to treat others as if they were your own family and that while we may have differences, it’s our shared values that brings us together. As the Panhellenic delegate for my chapter, I hope that I can bring back the positive energy and benevolent nature I learned from Ghana to my fraternity and sorority community.