Rachel Hughes

Bio Summary
Cohort Year: 
Home Institution: 
Duquesne University
Heinz Programming Area: 
Economic Opportunity
Study Abroad Country: 
Ghana, Africa
International Experience

Rachel Hughes had a wonderfully enlightening experience in Ghana this past May. Her experience included two classes that exposed her to traditional African religions, as well as music from all over the continent. Class time was intermixed with real life experiences including trips to museums, where she was able to meet with Ghanaians and hear about the country’s history from its own citizens’ perspectives. She also got to attend many concerts featuring different types of music in different types of venues. While in Ghana, Rachel got to see both rural and more urban climates. She traveled with her group, starting in southern Ghana, all the way to the northern end and back, stopping in towns and cities along the way. The cities were bustling with young students, older folks, goats, and taxis. The houses were mostly constructed with cement and metal, and the roads were paved and divided the tall palm trees. The rural areas featured clustered mud huts with straw roofs, and fields filled with cocoa farms and animals. The first few days of her experience, Rachel experienced some mild culture shock and shyness after being thrust into a completely new and diverse environment, but after time and encouragement from her peers, began to reach out to new people and experiences and found the value and beauty in the new culture. Rachel returned from her experience with new friends, new favorite foods, and a new respect for people across the world with different cultures than her.

Community Engagement Experience
CEE Title: 
"Lets TACO Bout Consumption"

Our CEE was titled "Let's TACO Bout Consumption. The event took place on a Tuesday night in Duquesne University's "Nitespot". Those who attended were greeted and encouraged to enjoy the food that we provided, which included a taco bar and beverages. After the guests arrived and ate, they proceeded to take their seats and we began the event with a Powerpoint presentation. We introduced ourselves and gave a short background on ourselves and our different international experiences. Julia, Maria, and I shared our academic and personal backgrounds, and then talked about the countries that all of us journeyed to. We then broke the presentation up into three categories. The categories that we discussed were overconsumption's effect on the environment, the economy, and the local community. After we presented on each category, we broke up into small groups and held round table discussions. The presenters, various guest speakers, and the audience members participated in answering questions and sharing opinions on the topic. We shared different perspectives of the topics that were provided on note cards and then we came back together as a large group and summarized up what we talked about in the smaller groups. After all three categories had been presented and discussed, we had the audience members write down at least three takeaways that they had after our event. We encouraged them to take the paper home with them and hang it somewhere that they would see it daily as a reminder to continually make changes in their daily lives. We then thanked everyone for attending and engaging in our event and reminded everyone that any small change they make in their daily lives could have a huge impact on their community. 

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