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Family reflects on international trip

Tjessa Arradondo

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Goddard+Family+poses+in+the+forests+of+Gahna.+Photo+used+with+permission+from+the+Goddard+family.+
Goddard Family poses in the forests of Gahna. Photo used with permission from the Goddard family.

Goddard Family poses in the forests of Gahna. Photo used with permission from the Goddard family.

Goddard Family poses in the forests of Gahna. Photo used with permission from the Goddard family.

Travelers experience Ghanaian education system, culture

According to freshman Eleanor Goddard, her and her family spent last summer in Ghana, West Africa, attending and teaching at a school of about 750 students.

According to Goddard, the school she attended used the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

“We went to a school called Lincoln Community School, and it was a very good school. It was well known all over Ghana,” Eleanor Goddard said. “It was all IB, so grades were IB. We studied the IB system and all of the teachers were from different countries, so it was all international.”

Advanced Placement (AP) psychology and IB psychology teacher Greg Goddard said the school was made up of 45 different nationalities, making it a diverse community.

According to Greg Goddard, Eleanor Goddard embraced her adjustment in a new community.

“When (my kids) started school this year (at Park, Eleanor) said ‘dad I kind of wish I was (in Ghana) starting school today,” Greg Goddard said.

Eleanor Goddard said the school put an emphasis on using technology in the classroom.

“There was a lot more researching on the computers instead of reading textbooks, so for projects it would usually be a research project,” Eleanor Goddard said.

Greg Goddard said the environment in the city of Ghana felt a lot different than their home environment.

There’s real adjustment. Even when you got (to Ghana), it’s different taste, different smells, different temperature and then different infrastructure and way of doing things,” Greg Goddard said.

According to Eleanor Goddard, living in another country impacted the way she views other cultures.

“(The trip taught me how to) be open minded to other people’s cultures and ask them more about their cultures,” Eleanor Goddard said. “Now that I’m back (in Minnesota) and I see someone and I know they’re not fully American , I like asking them ‘where are you from? How did you get here? What is your family like? What is your home life like?’ because I really like knowing different international backgrounds.”

Greg Goddard said the experience in Ghana was culturally eye-opening.

“As caucasians living in a country that is 99% black, that’s another very noticeable thing,” Greg Goddard said. “(The trip allowed for an) openness to knowing this isn’t the only way things are done, and you don’t necessarily need to go to West Africa to get that.”

Greg Goddard said with their large population and poverty, Ghanaian citizens find alternative ways to live.

“The sheer number of people you see on a daily basis is so different (in Ghana) “. Greg Goddard said. “Here we are so much more isolated, in our homes in our cars. There people live in their environment (Ghana), and they are around their environment all the time.”

Eleanor Goddard said the idea of going to another school didn’t bother her.

“I like change and I don’t really like being in the same school for a really long time, I think that’s really boring,” Eleanor Goddard said. “Once I heard (my parents) talking about (going to Ghana), I got excited. I never was mad about it or anything.”

Greg Goddard said he reflects on being immersed in a new community of people.

“(A big take away on this is) knowing that there’s a lot of people who are very kind and loving and warm and want to do well in this world that are not just the people I grew up with or the people I’ve known for many many years,” Greg Goddard said.

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Family reflects on international trip