Exploring Local Culture to Inform my Career

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Full Name: Julia Antwi-Boasiako

Study Away Site: Accra, Ghana

Home Campus: New York City

Major: Global Public Health/Sociology Minor: Bioethics

Class Year: 2024

What courses have you taken that helped you shape your career goals?

Black Atlantic and City as Text were some of the most impactful courses I took at NYU Accra. City as Text was especially wide opening because we used Accra as a textbook to learn about the different challenges that people experience via in person interactions. We had a trip where we toured two different areas within Accra, an affluent neighborhood and an impoverished one. Just witnessing the stagnant disparities of the environment between the rich and underprivileged was influential. Black Atlantic was also interesting because I learned more about the history of Ghana. Modern societies and its systems are usually influenced or stem from practices of the past. These two classes were a great interconnection of learning evolutionary Ghana and how it had transformed itself today.

I have always dreamed of instilling health resources back in Ghana. City as Text gave me an understanding of the needs of the population and resources that can help improve their circumstances. I hope to further my education in the health and medical field in order to accomplish this objective and these courses have given me a boost in my motivation.

How did you connect with the culture in Accra?

Ironically, I was a little culture shocked when I was in Accra. I thought it would be a smooth sail since I’m Ghanaian, but I found it to be difficult at times. The residency of NYU Accra is in a wealthier neighborhood, so a lot of the nearby occupancies were housed by non-black foreigners, which was difficult and sometimes saddening to process. I was not prepared for the number of foreigners that live and have businesses in Ghana.

In terms of Ghanaian locals, I also had difficulty connecting with them sometimes. Although I was raised in Ghana from childbirth, I left at the age of ten. Thus, most of my ideas are highly influenced from my life in the U.S. So sometimes I found myself in contradictory view of a local, and none of us could understand each other’s perspective. Despite all this, the culture in Accra was amazing. The locals are very amiable, funny, and always eager to strike a conversation and get to know you. I made many friends from my local shops and even security personnel’s.

Tell us about your global internship!

While at NYU Accra, I interned for the African Social Research Lab and worked in their department of Eban Center for Human Trafficking. I wanted to be involved with a human service organization and thought of giving this position a try. The internship was more research intensive which I enjoyed, but it made me aware of wanting to be in a field that was more hands on and interactive. This awareness was further amplified after taking City As text and doing formal interviews for my final paper. Being able to listen to the stories of others and try to understand their background and perspective was something I really enjoyed doing. I realized that I learn more from hand on activities, but also enjoy doing research. Both the course and the internship have helped me identify my desires and my ideal work environment for my future career.