Sunday, January 26, 2014

Forging Bonds in Ghana

By: Morgan Zielinski

Thinking back to when this journey began, one of my concerns about the program was that I did not know any of the other students that were also going on the trip. I remember sitting at our orientation meetings and looking around the room only to see faces of strangers. To think that I would be traveling to Ghana for a month with people I had never met before was a little intimidating. As the trip was fast approaching, none of us had really taken the opportunity to get to know one another. That being said, the twenty of us set out on our trip barely knowing each other.

After being in Accra for a few days, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the group seemed to mesh together. As does any large group of people, we had a few minor personality clashes, but nothing serious. As the trip progressed, we had no choice but to become comfortable with one another. Many of us went through embarrassing experiences together and were put into situations where we were forced to depend on one another. I found myself relying on these newly made friends to care for me in ways that even my best friends at home would not want to be faced with. Almost every person on the trip became sick at some point and we all cared for one another as if we were family. When I became sick, two of the girls on the trip who I had only known for two short weeks stayed up with me through all hours of the night and took care of me. I expected to make a few friendships while in Ghana, but I would have never guessed that I would become as close as I did with some of these people.

Upon arriving back home in Athens, I realized one of the greatest gifts I received through studying abroad was the friendships I made while being there. Myself and the other students on the trip communicate almost every day via text message in a group chat, and many of us have gotten together on several occasions to hangout. I feel like I have known them for years when in reality it has only been a little over a month since we all met. I find myself genuinely missing the other students and seeing them around campus instantly makes my day. The twenty of us went through so many unique experiences with each other that no one else will ever understand; we now have a special bond. I only hope to continue to grow closer to these friends that only a month ago were strangers. I feel lucky to have formed these relationships.

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