Everyone has a happy place, somewhere in their mind that they hope to have the privilege to go someday. For me, that place was somewhere in Africa, where I would have the opportunity to educate youth on issues that are important to their livelihood. After a lot of hard work and preparation, I was able to do just that.
Being awarded the “Go the Extra Mile” scholarship allowed me to travel to Ghana and take part in a 3 month project with Youth Challenge International where I was able to take the lead in developing, facilitating, and monitoring educational workshops, which aimed to equip youth with the knowledge and skills pertaining to core issues facing youths today. As well, my fellow volunteer Leigh Matassa and I worked with partner organizations to build a foundation for the collaboration of youth groups in the area, and assessed the needs of current projects. I also had the wonderful opportunity of organizing an International Women’s Day celebration to acknowledge the rights and successes of women in Ghana and worldwide. Collectively, these experiences have enriched my worldview, and have helped me develop skills that will take me further in my academic and professional goals.
Personally my placement with YCI in Ghana has meant more to me than just working and living overseas. I strongly believe that everyone should take the opportunity to learn about another culture and see how others live. It empowers you to work harder to positively contribute to the lives of others. Not to mention, I’ve had the chance to take in some amazing sights, sounds and tastes in Ghana. However, the most rewarding aspect of my placement was interacting one-on-one with some very inquisitive youth and the most unforgettable aspect has to be the friendly nature and hospitality of Ghanaians. There is no doubt that my memories in Ghana will continue to nurture my personal and professional choices as this opportunity has taught me a great deal about myself and has helped me acquire skills in the International Development field.
Without the generous donations of Aeroplan Miles, I may not have been given this chance. “Go the Extra Mile” Scholarship helped kick-start the first leg of my journey and I can’t wait to see how many more miles I will travel as this journey continues.