Introducing George, EIU OSA Graduate Assistant

Hi

I am George Anaman by my Christian name but you can call me Papachie because that is actually my Ghanaian name! I will be working as a Graduate Assistant at the Study Abroad Office for 2016/2017 academic year. I am a new international student enrolled in the Masters of Art program in Economics at Eastern Illinois University. I will be graduating August 2018 so I guess I have a long way to go but I know it will be worth it staying at EIU with it wonderful students, faculty and staffs.

I was born in the Western region of Ghana, Sekondi –Takoradi, the only twin city in Ghana where most Ghanaians are envois with our Fanti (Local dialect). Western region can boast of producing most of Ghana’s natural resources which includes Gold, Bauxite, Manganese, timber, cash crop and oh I forgot, we are the region that produces oil for Ghana. We are the engine that drives of our economy. Aside natural resources, we have beautiful beaches spanning along the coast, tourist attraction areas like Nzulezu  ( Village on Silts ), Monkey hill, Ankasa Forest, Fort San Sebastian,  among others.

Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a sovereign unitary presidential constitutional democracy, located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the sub region of West Africa. Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. My country has 10 administrative regions of which the capital is Accra. Ghana is popularly known for its hospitality. We are very helpful to foreigners in any way possible to make their stay a worth reminiscing one.

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My American friends in Ghana will also be like, Ghanaians are super friendly but hey, that is our nature. We just can’t help but be friendly and helpful. So I hope as you are reading, you will one day make it a point to visit my country to have a taste of her rich culture and I will forever to happy to help you with your plans when you come over to my office at Blair Hall 1207 during my office hours.

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Now back to myself! I had my primary education in Services Basic school which is a Ghana Armed Forces School and went through the educational ladder to have my tertiary education at the University of Competitive Choice I mean University of Cape Coast. The University of Cape Coast is one of the rare sea front universities in the world. I read Economics and Mathematics for my Undergraduate studies and completed my bachelor’s degree in 2015.

As a child growing up, I was always passionate about travelling around the world and decided to be a pilot. Come to think of it, pilots get to fly around the world and they really get to see how beautiful nature is when in the skies, right? So as a smart kid, I was like why don’t I be a pilot and utilize that opportunity to travel around the world haha.. I know it sounds funny. But I held on to my dreams of traveling abroad through to my University education when the Centre for International Education Office at my University offered me the opportunity to go on an exchange program to Grand Valley State University, USA for a semester in 2014. It was just a dream come true for me because America had always been my number one top destination. To explain why, I see the country to be a converging point for people of all walks of live. If I am in America, the chances of meeting someone from Pakistan, India, Brazil, Sweden, Kenya, Japan, China etc is decently high. At least, if I am not able to go to all those countries listed, getting to meet them and interact with to know their country and their way of life is even a plus to me.

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Going on an exchange program to Grand Valley State really had a positive influence in my life, I must be sincere. I met a lot of great people during my Stay in the United States including Students (both Locals and Internationals), faculty, staff and local residents. I thought Ghanaians were nice, but I must pour it out, Americans are super nice, welcoming, giving, full of energy and fun to be with and that actually influenced my decision to return to the US for my Masters and I am loving the experiences so far.

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Mmh , come to think of some funny experiences I encountered during my stay. I clearly remember my first night in the US when I got to my apartment. I went upstairs to unpack my luggage and had a quick chat with my Swedish roommate. I ran downstairs and came across a thermostat and as curious as I was, I got close to it only to read 75 degrees. I was like “No way! This is close to boiling point” and lowered it to 31 degrees. My roommate after noticing a sharp change in the room temperature shouted my name and was like “GEORGE, what did you to the thermostat!!” I was just confused about what was going on around me haha.  So ignorant of me, I was reading the temperature in Celsius not in Fahrenheit. I was confused a couple of times with some metric systems like Miles, Gallons, but with time I got used to it. Ah I forgot! My first snow!! It was so beautiful and so white!! On that very day, I remember it was early morning and excited as I was, I run up to my roommate in our apartment to come outside because it was snowing. He lazily starred at me from his bed and was like “George, for goodness sake, I am from Sweden!!” it was funny though.

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It is really an honor to be working at the Study Abroad Office at EIU. This will really give me the opportunity to share my experiences with prospective students who are deciding to study abroad . Also, I will also have a great in depth of most of EIU and non-EIU program relating to studying abroad. I am looking forward to working with a great team and having a fruitful year at the Office…

Studying abroad is a necessity, not a luxury” by Rick Steves

I bleed blue because I am a true Panther!!!!!! Medaase

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One Graduate Student: 3 Continents

Amber Rigsby is about to depart on her third study abroad program.

You heard right: her THIRD.

She is a graduate student at EIU, hailing from Family & Consumer Sciences. In 2010 she wandered through China on a Biology program. In 2012 she spent her Spring Break in Florence, Italy. As of last week, Amber landed abroad once again, this time in South Africa for her longest program yet: a whole semester.

When you look at these three programs, you wonder how she got started. She told us she originally decided to study abroad in China because a friend had just returned and said it was amazing. Rather than take her friend’s word for it – she signed up for Plant Life in China with Dr. Gordon Tucker, and went to see for herself.

China

First time abroad: China

While wandering in China she admitted, “I wish I knew some of their language before I left because most locals wanted to communicate but the language barrier prevented us.” For a first time study abroad program, a month in Asia was ambitious, to say the least. The group visited 5 cities, and saw everything from a university to the Great Wall to a kiwi factory and two national parks.

Italy? A different story. The program is called “Food, Wine & Fashion” and is led by faculty in Family & Consumer Sciences to an EIU partner school: Apicius Culinary Institute in Florence, Italy. Amber and her classmates spent a very busy week visiting museums, taking cooking classes, visiting fashion boutiques and taking in the scenery in Tuscany.

Ponte Vecchio Florence Italy

Next Up: Florence, Italy

South Africa will be different. As she notes in her blog, this is the longest time she’ll be away from her family.

The FCS Semester in South Africa focuses on Human Services and Early Childhood Education, and the students will visit schools, interact with locals and learn about the communities they live in. The group of students will work with Dr. Frances Murphy and briefly with Dr. Dagni Bredesen, taking upper level coursework for a whopping total of 15 credits. Of these, Amber will be taking advantage of a Graduate Internship course while she’s abroad.

Cape Town airport

Cape Town airport, Photo courtesy of classmate Demetris

Amber is one of our many scholarship students, and she worked hard to research various fundraising opportunities to supplement her journey. She is a true testament to not letting anything stand in your way. Her advice to other students is: “Go! It’s a great opportunity that will lead to an amazing adventure and you never know when you will get that chance again.”

If you want to read along on Amber’s adventure in South Africa, check out her blog at: http://ambersspiritualjourney.wordpress.com/

Amber in South Africa

Amber in South Africa