I am “offering” a B.A. in Third World Studies because I studied abroad in West Africa. My reason for the Third World Studies major is that I will be entering a global health policy career. My reason for using the term “offering” is because that’s how my student peers spoke at the University of Ghana during Fall 2008!
In Ghana, my goals were to learn from African professors and to bear witness of international healthcare. I took six courses and my Rural Resource Development class was a specific highlight. As I sat in that packed, colonial-style classroom with rows of traditional wooden desks, I learned about the Green Revolution and the struggles to implement it in Africa.
Outside of the classroom, I was keen to see malaria out in the field. (Back here at UCSD, I have been volunteering at a parasitic disease lab.) I witnessed malaria cases in the children’s ward of University Hospital through an independent study project. My research included interviews with Ghanaian parents. Ghanaian mothers fear the onset of sweating and chills in their children, because it not only imperils, but could exact a hospital bill of two months income from petty-trading. I also interned with the World Health Organization and participated in the door-to-door polio immunization campaign.
There was much to keep me intrigued in Africa, from meeting Ghana’s president to hiking in Togo’s mountains. The flexibility and emphasis of the Third World Studies major encouraged me to go overseas for the first time. Ghana, in turn, taught me lessons that will support my future international career.