Ghana Gives Junior Vibrant Experience
Student Profile: Tamika Ferguson
March 8 2010 – Tamika Ferguson (SFS’11) wanted to know why a continent rich in culture and resources is afflicted with dire poverty. That’s why the international politics major chose to study at the University of Ghana during her junior year.
The Georgetown student is focusing on socioeconomic development in West Africa.
Ferguson is doing an internship at a Ghanaian orphanage run by Save Them Young Mission – a nongovernmental organization that reaches out to underprivileged children in the republic.
“I am allowing myself to be stretched to my fullest potential in the hopes that I have the power to help end the suffering of these beautiful children,” says Ferguson. “My internship allows me to contribute to the development of the Ghanaian community.”
Live and Learn
She produces lesson plans and teaches 20 preschoolers at the orphanage. She also helps raise money for the facility, buys school supplies and writes grant proposals.
Though the orphanage provides a place for the children to live and learn, it lacks adequate resources for the students, Ferguson says. Children often come to class ill, hungry and without shoes.
“The children face living conditions that no child should ever have to endure,” she says.
Her work has prompted hopes of one day being able to help create places across West Africa that would give children a place to live, learn and receive care.
Over this academic year, Ferguson has taken courses examining the past, present and future of Africa, including Political and Economic Reform, Democracy in Africa, U.S. Policy Towards Africa and Africa’s International Relations.
“I love the feeling I get when I’m being taught about Africa by Africans in a class filled with African students,” she says.
Georgetown’s Office of International Programs (OIP) offers overseas programs in five other African countries, but Ghana became the most recent addition this past fall after Ferguson’s proposal of study there.
“I chose Ghana mostly [because it] allowed me the opportunity to be involved in community development through courses and an internship,” she says.
Other Georgetown students may begin applying for the Ghana program this semester.
Though adapting to life with limited running water, Internet access and other comforts of home, there are just as many things she has come to love about Ghana.
“I think the most important thing I will carry away with me when I return back to the States in May is the spirit of the people,” the New Yorker says. “Ghanaians are fun, vibrant, and have extreme national pride.”