Home

 

Getting Experience

- # of # Filtered -

Contributing To Change In Ghana

Q&A with Justin: Interned in Ghana
Share this
Print this
Justin
Interned in Ghana
McGill University
His thoughts on Motivation
I wanted to do this internship because it aligned perfectly with my interests in law and international politics.
His thoughts on The International Workplace
I made an effort to work closely with the local employees. It was as simple as making sure I didn't sit with the other interns at lunch, sharing it instead with my Ghanaian colleagues.
His thoughts on The International Workplace
In Ghana, it's not acceptable to simply go into someone's office and ask for a file. I had to be patient and spend a significant amount of time simply making friendly conversation.
His thoughts on Boosting Your Career
The internship has certainly helped my career. It opened my eyes to enthralling work that can be done with public policy in developing countries.

Where did you intern abroad?

I interned at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in Accra, Ghana from May through September.

What made you want to intern abroad?

I was starting my third year at McGill University, majoring in political science. My interest in Africa "“ from both an academic and a personal perspective "“ had been sparked by the seven years I spent growing up in South Africa and Zimbabwe. I wanted to do this internship because it aligned perfectly with my interests in law and international politics. In Zimbabwe, I'd witnessed oppression and human rights abuses first-hand, and working for the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice was an ideal opportunity to deepen my understanding. Furthermore, I was able to take what I learned in Zimbabwe, combined with all the knowledge I gained in my time at McGill, and apply it to working with an institution tackling corruption and human rights abuses in Ghana.

How did you conduct your search?

I was able to find and apply for the internship through the Arts Internship Office here on the McGill University campus. The office was also able to help me find ways to get funding for my internship and stay in Ghana.

What made your experience abroad a success?

My experience working in Ghana was a success because I kept an open mind, and made an effort to collaborate and work closely with the local employees. It was as simple as making sure I didn't sit with the other interns at lunch, sharing it instead with my Ghanaian colleagues. One highlight was when I took initiative and found a project that I could carry out independently, and that would directly benefit the organization I was working for. The satisfaction of presenting my research and having everyone listen intently "“ and for the Deputy Commissioner to use the report as the guideline for improvements being made at the commission was phenomenal!

What was the most important thing you learned about communicating in a foreign culture?

The communication between colleagues was very similar to an office in North America. However, one major cultural difference that I had to get accustomed to was the way that Ghanaians interact when they're asking for work to be done. Part of my independent project entailed going to various government organizations and requesting files and documents. Rather than expecting it done on the spot as I might at home, I had to be patient and spend a significant amount of time simply making friendly conversation and talking about more personal subjects. In Ghana, it's not acceptable to simply go into someone's office and ask for a file.

Did you participate in any extra-curricular activities while abroad?

Apart from work, I made sure to spend the weekends traveling the country. One trip I'd recommend to anyone working in Ghana is Takoradi. The eco-resorts along the beaches make for a breathtaking weekend escape. I also made an effort to take part in extra-curricular activities going on across Accra. The Ghanaian people certainly adored their soccer teams and despite not being an avid soccer fan, I embraced the sport and watched each game with a group of my colleagues.

Do you have anything else to add?

Well, my academic background helped me on my internship. Because of my studies I was able understand the changes that were occurring in my organization, and also enabled me to debate with my colleagues about certain policies and whether or not they'd be advantageous. Ghana is one of the African nations that have benefited heavily from IMF and World Bank funding and being able to discuss its effects on social safety nets and education was extremely valuable.

The internship has also certainly helped my career, as it sparked my interest in working with the public sector and opened my eyes to enthralling work that can be done with public policy in developing countries. I was also lucky enough to be part of one of the most renowned governmental and anti-corruption agencies in Africa.

Advice from MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey, Publisher

Justin's account of his time abroad and the passion that motivated him to go is very well articulated. His story is an excellent example of how it is possible to translate a personal interest in a specific region of the world into concrete career moves. He also writes about how he went above and beyond the requirements of his job in order to contribute to the organization and expand his experience. Justin could continue building international experience by pursuing a master's in a foreign country, complementing his studies with volunteer, work or internship placements in Africa. After such an experience, he could even consider working with an IGO. If he is dedicated to working to improve conditions and modes of government in West Africa, he could also consider spending a year or more living there in order to develop complete fluency in local languages and integrate further with social and professional networks there.

Justin's Next Steps
Advice from MyWorldAbroad
by the founder of MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey
Want to Have the Same Experience?
Want to Have the Same Experience?
10 Core Global Competencies
Take control of your career with this ESSENTIAL model!
Virtual Internships in 2021!
Remote work is the way of the future! Start planning YOUR virtual international internship now.
The Global You
What skills, knowledge and experiences can change your life? Find out with this NEW model!
Quizzes & Scorecard
Take these simple quizzes to assess your international skills, experiences & job search readiness!
The Culture Tree
EXPLORE the three levels of culture!
9770
- # of # Filtered -
  • 93
93
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
1
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
2
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
3
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
4
15333
A Literary Education in the UK
5
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
6
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
7
14483
Finding Home, By Teaching Abroad
8
14088
An Eye-opening Experience Teaching in South Korea
9
14594
Growing Abroad: Hong Kong & South Korea
10
9767
Beyond The Call Of Duty In Africa
11
15347
12 Months, 12 Countries!
12
15383
Hustle and Bustle in Vietnam
13
15401
From Korea to Oman: Teaching English Around the World!
14
15405
From Daydream to Reality: Teaching Abroad
15
15327
An Open Mind & Open Arms in Spain
16
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
17
15631
An International Career in the Making: Asia, Africa and Beyond
18
15387
Bliss on a Budget in Brazil
19
15644
Discovering the World on Campus: International Skills at Home
20
16017
A Globally-minded Visit to Qatar
21
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
22
9737
Passionate About Panama
23
9752
Giving In Guatemala
24
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
25
9758
Learning The Local Ways Of Addis Ababa
26
9769
Getting Sporty In Switzerland!
27
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
28
9753
A Season in Sweden
29
9765
Simpatico in Florence
30
9764
Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern in Rome
31
9787
A Spring Semester in London
32
9807
Fast Friendship in Korea
33
9784
Skill-building in Bonn
34
9741
Adapting to Work In Peru
35
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
36
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
37
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
38
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
39
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
40
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
41
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
42
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
43
9773
Independent In India
44
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
45
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
46
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
47
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
48
9771
Learning To Love London
49
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
50
9762
American Freshman In London
51
9803
Ten Years Teaching In Seoul
52
9791
Making Contacts Count In The UK
53
10851
Tips From Tasmania
54
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
55
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
56
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
57
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
58
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
59
9748
Adventure In The Alps
60
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
61
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
62
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
63
9754
Building Memories In India
64
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
65
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
66
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
67
10157
Changing Course In China
68
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
69
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
70
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
71
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
72
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
73
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
74
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
75
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
76
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
77
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
78
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
79
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
80
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
81
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
82
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
83
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
84
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
85
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
86
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
87
10192
Out And About In Paris
88
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
89
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
90
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
91
9756
Springtime In Spain
92
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
93
9770
All Job Boards
462
All NGOs
1427
Au Pair Resources
39
Awards And Grants Resources
54
Business Directories
18
Canadian Federal, Provincial And Territorial Government Profiles
60
Canadian Government Resources
28
Children And Families Abroad
16
Consulting, Economic And Finance Job Boards
63
Country Guides
70
Cross-cultural Skills
80
Engineering Job Boards
59
Engineering Resources
81
Expatriate Networking Sites
32
Foreign Students Working in the US
9
Freelancing Abroad
27
General Job Search Books
15
Global Education And Social Action
45
Health And Medicine Job Boards
49
Health Career Resources
67
International Associations With Clubs on Campus
43
International Development Career Resources
75
International Internship Organizations
304
International Internships And Student Programs With Canadian Governments
31
International Internships With The US Government
37
International Job Hunting Resources
14
International Law Careers Resources
113
International Law Job Boards
26
International Student Exchanges [under construction until 2020/08/30]
2
International Studies In The US And Canada
11
International Trade Resources
25
International Volunteer Organizations
489
Internship Directories And Advice
37
Internships With The UN And Other IGOs
157
Language Careers
30
Learn A Language
106
Licensed Teacher Abroad Job Boards
29
Licensed Teacher Abroad Resources
31
Loans for Studying Abroad
18
Low-cost Travel
63
NGO Directories
33
NGO Job Boards
47
Re-entry
12
Regional Job Boards
102
Relocating Abroad
27
Resources For International Students Studying In Canada
17
Resources For International Students Studying In The US
46
Stories From Abroad
93
Study Abroad Resources
187
Teach English Abroad Job Boards
98
Teach English Abroad Resources
64
Tools for Travelers
73
Top International Blogs & Podcasts
84
Travel Health And Safety
39
UN and Other IGOs
269
UN And Other IGOs Job Boards
26
UN And Other IGOs Resources
73
US Government Profiles
76
US Government Resources
36
Virtual International Internship Organizations
77
Visas and Passports
26
Volunteer Directories And Advice
50
Women Living And Working Overseas
18
Working Holiday Resources
73