Reflecting on our experience

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“After experiencing the Ghanaian culture and values, I believe that it is essential to share my experiences with others and therefore advocate for the importance of human rights, economic growth, poverty alleviation, and several other factors that hinder development. This experience has helped me become a more critical global citizen and will only continue to fuel my passion for the developing world around us.”- Courtney Bachman

“One of the most enriching aspects of this experience in Ghana for me was the chance to fully immerse myself in a new culture and environment. I feel especially privileged to have been able to interact with people at a more personal, individual level through our work in health care settings. Through my experiences both working as a student nurse and living within the country, I have been able to experience Ghana on multiple levels. As exciting as it has been, integrating myself within an environment that is far different from what I know has also been challenging. There were many instances on this trip where I learned, and not always the easiest way, that things I believed to be true, specifically about nursing and health care, were in fact the opposite. However, it was these experiences that I feel helped me develop most as a nurse and as a global citizen.”-Alysha Schmidt

“Before coming to Ghana, I was naive and ignorant to the first hand struggles of this country and other parts of the world. Even though, I had done my fair share of researching, I was blinded until seeing it and being a part of it. This experience has brought me into a state of humility. In one aspect, I feel enlightened to have been proved wrong to my before thoughts of me being an informed critical global citizen. I am now not only more aware of the political, social and ethical struggles but can also see some of the structures in place to build a better tomorrow. I am able to criticize and ask myself “why is this like this?” -Danielle Perreault

“When I first arrived in Ghana, all of nine weeks ago, I considered myself a soft global citizen. Prior to traveling to Ghana, I viewed the problems in the developing world as a result of poverty and helplessness. My experience in this country has changed me into a critical global citizen because I now understand that the true issues are inequality and injustice. I realize now that the poverty in the developing world, that I had read about prior, is often caused by circumstances outside of the control of those who suffer most. Before Ghana, I believed that only some individuals were part of the problem, however, I am now convinced that, “we are all part of the problem and part of the solution” (University of Southampton, 2007).” -Katelyn Gorman

“After reflecting on situations in clinical practice I have concluded that even though numerous challenges in health care exist, the primary principals of nursing and its ethics must be upheld. Regardless of the obstacles present in a country’s health care system, patients should be treated with respect. As nurses our job is to care for others. Maintaining these basic principals should be a foundation to which our care is derived from no matter what obstacles are being faced.” Jessica Tomganis

“All the words in the world could not do justice for my journey in Ghana. I immersed myself in a pool of unfamiliarity and slowly morphed into an altered version of my former self—stronger, versified, critical, understanding, global, and culturally competent. My critical thinking skills as a nurse blossomed to a level that I’m positive couldn’t have been reached otherwise.”- Corrie Moon

“Reading my letter of interest written over a year ago when applying for this program shows the truthful reasons I had for travelling to Ghana, but also shows my naivety at the time. I had no idea the personal and professional growth that would happen while learning from the Ghanaian people and being submerged into a new culture for only a short ten weeks. When asked “What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions the word Africa?,” I replied with poverty. I would now reply with inequality. It is undeniable how different our lives are. The opportunities and privileges I have been given in my life being a child born and raised in Canada are completely unjust in comparison with the lives people are living here.” -Kendra Lamb

“In general, this experience has made me aware of some of the major limiting factors that individuals face on a daily basis in regards to accessing health care. Such issues have contributed to my development as a global citizen by enhancing my general understanding and awareness of the world. A realization of the harsh truth has occurred. There are times when individuals are just not given the care they deserve. I’ve learned that stigma is still perceived as a major limiting factor to primary and secondary treatment and care in many illnesses that affect millions of people around the world.” -Leah Kennedy

“I applied for this experience to gain cultural competence as it is an extremely important asset for nurses in our increasingly diverse society. Nursing in Ghana addressed a personal goal of immersing myself in another culture where I don’t speak the language. I desired this because I believe the vulnerability of being out of one’s comfort zone provides great opportunity for growth and learning from another culture, which I can now attest to. Ghana has changed the way I view health and has opened my eyes to the resiliency of humankind and the incredible resourcefulness people develop in face of disparity. The determinants of health have never been so apparent in their multifaceted impact on the health of populations and taught me that no issue has a simple solution. This clinical experience has been a truly profound journey that will impact me for the rest of my life.” -Sarah Mackie

“While in a taxi the other day, I passed a sign which said “if you can think enough, what you have is enough.” The resiliency of children, especially those who are able to maintain happiness despite the most dire conditions continues to amaze me. Coming from a western society, I think we need to have a greater appreciation and understanding for the simple luxuries often taken for granted, like clean drinkable water, proper sanitation systems and financial security. I’ve learned that as a global citizen, my daily decisions not only affect myself but humanity as an entirety. Whether it’s the food I eat, the clothes I wear, or the products I purchase. I’ve learned to be more mindful of water consumption, as this is a replenishable but depletable resource, essential for the continuation of human existence.” -Megan Dong

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