America: The Possibility, Thanks to Drake
The impact America’s imports really began to take shape in 2006 when Accra got its first mall. Growing up in Ghana in the 90’s and early 2000’s it was very traditional dress. When the mall came and other foreign investment, there was a huge switch from traditional to more “westernized” values, which became a different adjustment for families within Accra. With my school being an International school, with British standard, the objective was always to go to University in England or Canada, mostly because my school results would transfer more adequately. It was often that me and my parents would hear friend’s kids going to Kings College in England, or to Waterloo College in Canada, but with things like the mall and other Americanized imports I saw this shift on pushing kids to the U.S. Starting really with my brother’s class, and became a domino effect after that. My counselor went out of his way to get me and my brother, along with other students interested in universities within America, and the influences really were also being developed within my own country. When applying for schools it was really competitive, with over 10+ schools being on my radar by my senior year. Most of the schools were on the Eastern coast of America, which somewhat went against International schooling. They were places like; Boston, New York, Massachusetts, Florida. Of course I chose Iowa, which I did catch some flak from my classmates for. When I first visited America I flew into Washington D.C. and then drove to Virginia. My first big memory was the one-stop shop we went to initially. It was a Target. Red is my favorite color, and this store just blew me away. When I was deciding where to go to school I did not think about the snow, cold, open fields, and a small city. That is exactly what I got when I moved to Des Moines, Iowa. Some people would look at that situation and be like, “why Iowa?” Some may think they would regret it, but I never did, and never will.
The people in Iowa are what drew me to coming to the States for school. Carrie Lewis is the international director at Drake, and she really made me feel like I was going to be a name, not a number at school. When I first came to Drake University it was 2011. Initially, it was night and day from the system of schooling I was used to. We practiced mathematics, sciences, and now we could pretty much pick whatever we wanted to learn about. My appreciation for America started with that; picking what you loved. That is mostly how I wanted to live, doing what I loved. I was never forced into anything involved in schooling back home, but America allowed me to pick and choose. I was encouraged to taking history, public relations, and woman’s studies, which opened my horizons as a student and person.