Volunteering as a Teacher in Ghana
Written by: Jake Arthur
First arriving in Ghana was incredible; I have done some travelling before but never for so long. Stepping off the plane and the first thing to greet me was a great gust of heat. I was slightly nervous and apprehensive because I have never been to Africa and I didn’t know what to expect; but from the moment we met our Lattitude Global Volunteering Country Manager at the airport to the end of the placement I had the most amazing and unforgettable time of my life. Ghana really is ‘Africa for beginners’.
The first week in country we spent with our Country Manager in a large house north of the capital. This week I thought was essential and I am so glad Lattitude Global Volunteering implemented it into our programme. It gives you the opportunity to do everything from overcoming the first signs of culture shock to learning the local dance. After the first week we were escorted to our placements where we were able to meet our host families and integrate into our placements and the local community. Everyone in Ghana is so welcoming; at first it can be quite daunting with every other person shouting ‘Hey Obruni! Where are you going?’ (Obruni is ‘white man’ in the local language) but after a while you learn to love this and accept the people for their warmth and spirit.
The most satisfying thing about my placement was getting to know the children at my school and engaging with everyone involved. The children are so passionate about their studies and try their hardest on a daily basis. At first the teaching was difficult but after a week or two you become used to the way children in Ghana learn and understand concepts. The most helpful advice I could give to any potential teacher heading to Ghana is to talk slowly and clearly so the children can understand, more often than not you will ask whether they understand and they nod their head (with a big smile on their face) whilst you know it may have gone in one ear and out the other. Have patience, be confident and be compassionate; and the love they will give you in return you will never forget.
Whilst living in Ghana you may feel a twinge of homesickness every now and again, don’t let this put you off, there are many ways to keep in contact with your family and friends and as for the homesickness, just try to keep yourself busy and it will soon vanish. All in all I think my placement has given me confidence in all aspects of my life now, it opens your mind to new places, new cultures and a different way of life. I certainly cannot wait to set sail on another adventure and its all down to my placement.
Without a generous bursary from Lattitude Global Volunteering I would not have been able to go to Ghana. I am extremely grateful. Anyone who doesn’t think they can afford this or any trip that Lattitude Global Volunteering provides I would push them to applying for a Bursary. I assure you the process for applying is very simple and Lattitude Global Volunteering are extraordinarily helpful and will guide you every step of the way. They have a plethora of criteria that almost anyone can meet so make sure, no matter your circumstances, that you check it out.
If you’re up for the experience of a lifetime I would recommend this trip to anyone.