This post was written by Jennifer Sarkodie, an AFS student from Ghana on exchange in Turkey. Jennifer is one of the young deserving students who received the 2016 Investing in Africa’s Future Leaders scholarship to participate in a year-long school exchange program with AFS.
Going on an exchange program is one of the best things that had ever happened to me.
I thought it was all about the fun and travelling around but coming on an actual exchange program has showed me that there is more to what I thought. I am the first and only African exchange student in Turkey which really made proud. During my exchange year I’ve learned a lot.
The most important lesson I learnt was that I’m stronger that I thought I was. When I left Ghana for Turkey, I was very lonely and desperate. I have never lived with people of different race, culture and language in my life. I was on the other side of the world, very far away from my family and friends. I felt like a six-year-old, I remember crying during my first month and always calling my parents. I had it in my head that there was no way I was going to finish my exchange year successfully. I used to pray for time to fly by very fast.
But then during my third month, I was shocked. I was actually getting along pretty well, I had started learning the language and I could say some phrases right. As time went by I was getting stronger. I called my parents once every two or three weeks which really surprised them. I was very happy and proud of myself.
Being strong has helped me solve my own problems even though sometimes they are very challenging. Usually in Ghana I went to my parents for help whenever I was in trouble or had a problem but being on this exchange program has helped me gain a lot of experiences which will help me solve my problems on my own. And I’m no more a cry baby.
Now, I have fourteen more days before I go back to Ghana and if I compare the Jennifer before coming on an exchange program and the Jennifer now, I feel really proud. Thank you AFS for for this wonderful experience.